Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A smoke whine

I often wonder about tobacco and it's amazingly addictive properties. I also wish that I had never "trained" myself to be a smoker, because it took some serious-minded effort to develop a taste for cigarettes. I ask, "Why was there this terribly addictive drug marketed to me throughout my youthful, formative years?" If only it hadn't existed, perhaps I could have avoided what has resulted in the biggest challenge of my adult life - quitting. Now, if we just outlawed smoking, yes, a fourth (or fifth or tenth depending on your location) of the population would have a pretty rough year. But eventually, out of sight-out of mind would win out, and people would live longer, healthier and decidedly less stinky lives. It could be a gift from our generation to the next. And wouldn't it be so much easier to be forced to quit en masse? There would be plenty of company to commiserate with.

But no.

As is the case with the oil companies, there is just too much profit to be made from the poisoning of lungs. This profit pulls strings, and the people are rendered powerless. (to clarify, expecting every person to have the strength to quit smoking is tantamount to expecting everyone to just boycott buying gasoline. It's not a reasonable expectation.) Don't expect tobacco to become a controlled substance any time soon.

And so I struggle. Deep down, I only have myself to blame, and only I can break the addiction. Still, allow me to take this time to lash out at the oligarchy we live in..

27 comments:

toobusyliving said...

Yeah, it took a lot of dedication to really become a smoker - but did it ever pay off - I'm hopelessly (?) addicted

Lemuel said...

First of all, you know that I am so encouraged by your attitude and I am plugging for you that you will succeed. My "ex" just had a tumor removed from his lung and he is still smoking! I bark at him every time I talk with him on the phone. I will give my Dad that: when he found out he had lung cancer he quit. period.

But I digress. You are right. I am "not convinced" by tobacco companies that put up ads "warning" of the dangers and websites to "help". Bullsh*t! They're salivating over the money.

When my sons we teenagers they received offers in the mail for free tobacco products from these companies. Yep, Philip Morris, get 'em while they're young. You'll have 'em for life.h

Petie said...

Outlawed the smoke wouldn't work...

Remember what happen when they outlaw liquors?

Even as they outlawed the hard drugs now, the youngs still manage their hands on it.

Snooze said...

I tend to agree with petie - prohibition never works. I am sorry you're facing the hell of trying to stop again, and am in absolute agreement that all companies care about is profit.

smacr said...

Petie and Snooze are right... prohibiting a substance does not make it go away. It only gives it the allure of doing something "naughty".
The tobacco companies could make their product both less harmful and less addictive, but chose the other direction.
Big profits from addicting your customers seems have become the credo of the capitilists.
Consumer societies beware!

St. Dickeybird said...

You had to work for your addiction? I took to it like a fish to water! The first drag was deliciously comforting.

If prohibition would work, I'd support it, but it won't. We've got to retrain ourselves somehow...

Art said...

I'm a true believer that you will quit only when you are truly ready to quit. I quit a long time ago, but I was ready. My wife quit a year and a half ago... after a heart attack. She was 44 at the time. But she also thinks it was easy to quit because she was ready. Her brother has had 2 heart attacks and still smokes. Wanting to quit and finally being ready are two entirely different things. I hope you will be ready soon.

Timmy said...

I am faced with the same situation.....what can we do?

((lights ciggy and sips coffee))

hmmmm?

Wayne said...

I'd have to agree with Art.
When you're really ready to quit, although it will still be hard, that's when you'll do it.
I don't know how many times I "quit", before I finally did.
And 20 years later, they still smell good.

Patricia said...

ok so i'll creep out on this limb here and wonder about something.

what people don't often talk about is the non-physical addiction. i've read that the body is done being addicted within a few days. but like so many things - food for me, for example - it's the lifestyle addiction that must be addressed. the mental and emotional addiction is hard to break. the habit of reaching for something that is comforting, albeit dangerous. that's the toughy, and the one that takes a while to really commit to. (she said, while reaching for the other half of the bagel.)

Anonymous said...

Tornwordo, please discuss the anti-depressant called Wellbutrin with your physician. It helped me quit easily and relatively quickly. Of course, I was very happy during that time, also . . . . :)

Anonymous said...

As an ex-smoker, I totally understand. I quit about ten or twelve years ago, and it has been one of the best things I have done. I was also so addicted to cigarettes, that for a long time I didn't care what harm it did to me. At some point I was smoking so much I didn't even enjoy it, but the addiction was very strong. I finally decided to commit to quitting, and put everything I had into it. I went to hypnosis, talked my boy-partner into quitting as well, and after a year of misery I was finally free! It took me a whole year to really feel free from that stuff. I let everything else go to hell, but said no to cigarettes. I did smoke a few times during the year I was quitting and enjoyed it very much, but somehow the hypnosis seemed to take me back to being a non-smoker. To this day, I sometimes still have nightmares that I picked it up again! But I haven't, and I don't need to. The worse part of quitting was that while at work I would just sit at my desk and do next to nothing but think of smoking a cigarette most of the time. This happened for about three months. I was lucky that, that at the time, I had done enough work that I could afford to take it easy for a while without anyone noticing that I was slacking off.

My sister used an anti-depressant drug (with medical supervision) for a few months and she was able to quit. Apparently this drug has the great side effect of removing the cravings, and I understand that it is not an addictive drug. I assume it is the same anti-depressant Anonymous mentioned above. I think it's worth it!

Rey

Rebekah said...

What I find so interesting is how for some, the tobacco ads and all really push you to try and smoke, and then for others, like myself, nothing.

I smoked 1/2 of one ciggie once behind paula prince's shed. That was it for me. Stinky, gross, I was going to have none of it.

My parents both smoke, my sister picked it up, my brother and I didn't.

What's up with who gets addicted and who doesn't?

Grow up said...

Oh, come off it. Smoke or don't smoke, but at least exercise some discursive rigor and emotional maturity by deleting your waa-waas about Big Bad Daddy before making your post public.

Millions of people have become non-smokers (including me). BFD.

Normlr said...

My sentiments exactly. I have no one to blame but myself. Quitting is very self-defeating.

Em said...

I just *love* it when the assholes come out and leave anonymous diatribes. So very courageous. And community oriented.

Jenn from WA said...

They "outlawed" smoking in public places here in Seattle. Bars, restaurants, etc all, NON Smoking. While the intent, I think, was good, what it did do, which no one really considered, is put a lot of businesses (bars in particular) out of business. Patrons who smoke, won't go out if they can't smoke in their bar apparently. Lot of hoolala over it here in the NW. While I like going to bars with no smoke added, I can see what the issue is.

The other thing the did here is now you can't smoke outside a building closer than like 25 feet. So you see these poor smokers, freezing, standing way away from their buildings. Hilarious to me.

Chunks said...

As someone who has successfully been smoke free for seven years, I can seriously say it was the hardest thing I've ever done. (Again, I've had two children by vaginal birth and no anesthetic, so I ain't just whistling Dixie!)

You would have plenty to comiserate with if you quit. You could pretend it was a worldwide ban. Use whatever magical thinking you can to make yourself be able to stop. It's really the best thing you can do for your self. Stick it to the man, Torn and be a quitter! Don't let those fuckers take one more penny from you!
-Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. :)

David said...

Dodged that bullet from the simple inability to inhale properly. Same reason pot never did anything for me.

bardelf said...

Living in North Carolina, where the most tobacco is raised, it's been amazing to watch how, in the past 20 years, smoking has become so taboo and even outlawed in many public places in my state.

My grandfather grew tobacco and from the time I was a toddler until my teenage years, my summers were spent working in the crop. Did you know that you can become physically sick with nicotine poisoning from physically touching the green leaves? Yep. It happened to me over and over, until I stopped working in it.

I tried smoking in my twenties and did not enjoy it at all (kept wanting to brush my teeth and gargle). The biggest challenge that my partner and I have is his cigarette smoking. He's been smoking for 2/3 of his life.

I have no idea what the best path is for tobacco. I wonder if Native Americans were addicted to it. Are the 'natural' cigarettes less addicting?

Best of luck to you, torn, as you seek to stop smoking.

teh l4m3 said...

Yeah, I don't like the idea of outlawing smoking, either. Turning millions of people into criminals overnight? Give rise to yet another substance around which organized crime can flourish, a la alcohol during the Prohibition and marijuana today? I have my misgivings...

dawn said...

Yeah, well, you could outlaw a lot of things that we probably shouldn't be doing. But I imagine that could lead to a pretty boring life.

Have you seen "Thank You For Smoking"? Funny movie.

dbv said...

have you read 7 steps to a smoke free life by the american cancer society? i read that and then went to the caribbean for 10 days, worked like a charm, but there's 2 islands i'm afraid to go back to...

David O said...

I'm a firm believer in that you have to want to quit. Like any addiction, it takes the person to say "this is the last cigarette."

I lost my father to lung cancer -he was only 33 and I was 5 1/2 (and he'll be gone 39 years in July).

My brother-in-law passed last April after a 4 year struggle with lung cancer. And like a fool, he continued to smoke after he was told he had lung cancer.

See, he choose not to stop. His cancer could've been stopped, but smoking was more important to him.

So, Torn, stop. I plead for all who smoke to stop.

Please.

Grow up said...

Em, I very well may be an asshole (who among us isn't?), but you, "Em," are no less anonymous than I. My full legal name is Antonia Irene Michalopoulos. What's yours?

As for "community," surely it's the "Great Beast" about which Plato (and many others, such as Simone Weil) have written. Take an unsentimental look around you. "Community" is the source of pathology, not the anodyne -- as you epiphanically discussed on your blog recently.

Quitting smoking is no more difficult than losing weight. All it requires is unequivocal disgust with your own participation in your own obvious over-indulgence, self-destruction, sensory greed, infantile oral dependency, etc.

If you allow the mesmeric influence of "community" chitchat to alienate you from your own common sense, and if you use community falsehoods to reinforce your psychological need to believe in the commercially powerful concept of "addiction," you and the tobacco industry are simply co-conspirators in your voluntary enslavement. There are no victims in this scenario.

It's not necessary to "want" to quit smoking in order to successfully kick the habit, but it does require a sincere desire to abandon once and for all the emotionally reassuring but personally devastating role of "tool."

about a boy said...

very nice post. great pic!

Rebekah said...

sounds like "grow up" knows everything.

Must be nice.