THE CONUNDRUM THAT IS THE HABIT OF SMOKING

This article is all about the habit of smoking. I know it is a somewhat sensitive subject, and some might get offended. But whilst it burns a whole in my stomach, I must discuss it. To start I would like to clarify that I am a reformed smoker. I was a smoker between the ages of around 16 and 28 years old. I smoked a packet of Rothmans Blue per day. Sometimes us reformed lot are the worst right? But let’s be honest now, we have the ability to see both sides of the story.

So the big question that still lingers in my mind is, knowing what we know today about smoking why would one still choose to do it? The reason I am bringing this up now is because with the knowledge we have today regarding the effects of smoking, as well as the far greater restrictions on marketing for the product, I would have expected to see a serious decline in the amount of people taking up and continuing the habit. Sadly though, I think this is very far from being the case.

To be honest from my own experiences in the public domain I think the bad habit of smoking is as wide spread as it has ever been. And that amazes the living s*** out of me. So what could possibly be the reason for it? I can only think of two things to be completely honest. I think most people start smoking because of the “cool” factor. Since the beginning of marketing, the act of smoking has always been perceived as something cool people do. Even when you are growing up in school, its always the “cool kids” who sneak away for a smoke. There is also a certain social element to it. The gathering of people for a quick smoke and a chat has turned into a “thing”. Whether its at work, at a restaurant or anywhere else. The urge to converge as a group is very strong.

Then of course once you are hooked, the chemical dependency element comes into effect. Research tells us that nicotine, is the third most addictive substance known to humanity. Only heroin and cocaine are said to be more addictive. So once you have nicotine in your system, your body will automatically crave it until it is completely flushed out. That is not your fault. So if you are a smoker who has had trouble quitting, don’t beat yourself up. It is extremely difficult, believe me I know.

When I had quit the habit back in 1999, it was not easy at all. But I took the decision because I woke up one morning and coughed up a fairly decent amount of black phloem. It was at that moment I said to myself, no f***ing more. I threw away my packet and never smoked a single cigarette again. Thankfully I am pretty stubborn when I put my mind to something, but it was not easy at all. So I know how difficult it is to get this highly addictive substance out of your body. To clarify again, if you are trying to quit and failing I completely understand.

What I fail to understand though is people who do not even bother to try or say something completely ridiculous like they “enjoy” smoking. This makes absolutely no sense. And this is perhaps for me the biggest source of bewilderment. Realistically you get absolutely nothing out of smoking tobacco. If you drink alcohol, smoke weed or even take a heavier brand of drug, I get that. They chemically alter the minds perceptions. They can make you feel relaxed, high, energetic or put you into a varying  degree of other emotional states. But smoking a cigarette gives you nothing more than a horrible smell and a huge whole in your pocket. So why? Can someone who chooses to smoke please answer me that question? Because I have been trying to understand but am failing miserably.

Another element to this whole argument that has always left me confused is the point regarding legislation. I cannot for the life of me understand why cigarettes are still even legal any more. I mean, that might be perceived as a harsh statement, but does it not make a valid point? It’s chemically addictive for one. And the stats tell us that tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Incredible. Just to put it somewhat into perspective, in the US alone 500,000 die per year directly from tobacco. Whilst only 10,000 die per year die from the use of cocaine. Yet one is legal and the other not. You be the judge.

Finally, I wanted to discuss this subject today not because I wanted to go on some kind of holy war against smokers. Far from it. Even though I do hate the smell of smoke. It is more because I take a somewhat personal interest in humanity. I care. And writing is my only way to show that. When I see someone smoking I promise you I feel genuine empathy and sympathy. I wish for you to all be in a better situation and to get past your addiction and truly see what you are doing to yourself and your family.

If you are a smoker but truly wish you could quit the habit, don’t give up the fight. Continuing to try is all one can do in life and if you find the right motivation and timing, you never know, you just might finally manage. And if you are someone who really enjoys smoking and have never even thought of quitting, pull your head out of your ass. Stop saying you do it because you f***king enjoy it. Admit that you have a f***ing addiction and then either tackle it or stick two fingers up at the world. Either way at least you will have come back down to reality.

 

 

 

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Discussion

  1. Darren Cassar

    I think i pretty much agree on all points – I am a quitter as you are, going on 5 years now and I hate the smell of smoke and yet still weirdly enough I get a craving for one every once in a while…..

  2. Mark Tierney

    Agreed, and go see an addiction specialist they have them in Malta too can change your mind set if you can’t quit.

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