I’ve been noticing a few new things since I last quit smoking (this is, in fact, the 2nd time I’ve successfully quit for more than 2 hours or so…going on 2 weeks now, but who’s counting?).
Ask anyone who smokes (or knows someone who does) and they can spout off at least 5 really good reasons not to smoke. They are all perfectly legitimate, and probably the top reasons any given smoker chooses to quit. So for the sake of completeness, here are
The Five Biggies *:
- It’ll hurt and kill ya (yeah, pretty much)
- It’ll hurt or kill yer family and friends (well, tougher argument, but not exactly unproven either)
- It’ll make ya taste/smell bad (no argument there)
- It’ll make ya go broke (eventually…probably sooner, given trends in tax legislation)
- It significantly increases the chance of death-by-fire-or-smoke-inhalation caused by falling asleep in bed with a lit cigarette (kind of number 1, still, but i thought it needed repeating)
Feel free to read the above using the voice of Santa Claus from A Christmas Story (e.g. “You’ll putchyer eye out!”).
Anyway, if the above 5 reasons aren’t enough for you – they do get a little tiresome after you’ve heard them enough and have trained your highly practiced rationalizing brain against them for several years – here are a few new ones. These may just be particular to me. I am (was) somewhat of a non-social, conscientious smoker. It was a concentration-aid for me, first and foremost, and never really had much to do with being or looking cool (although, I predict it’s going to make a come-back if we slip into another global depression). Anyway, on the off-chance any of these are applicable to you, hopefully you’ll find that one more extra reason to quit that you hadn’t thought of, before. You just might be able to quit this time, and stay quit, for good. Here ya go:
Eight More Reasons to Quit:
- You get to complain about being sick again. When you smoke, you aren’t allowed to cough in public, or blow your nose, or sneeze, without someone telling you “that’s your body telling you to quit!”. You usually grin and bear it. People mean well. But boy, if you don’t get sick that often, sometimes you just want to “be sick” and not “be someone whose body is telling him/her to quit something or other”. Well, guess what? Quit smoking and now you can bitch and moan all you want, just like normal people, at the slightest hic, the teensiest twitter, itch, pain or migraine. The world of hypochondria is at your feet, and you are a ragweed pollen on its winds. Enjoy!
- You’ll probably get more contextually relevant healthcare (related to item 1). I haven’t thoroughly tested this one yet, but I’m due for a checkup. At any rate, I once went to the college infirmary because I twisted my ankle hiking. After checking me in, weighing me, measuring my height and blood pressure, the Dr. came in to find out what was wrong. First he asked me what happened. Next he asked me if I could still walk on the ankle. Third question was, “Do you smoke?”. I’m not kidding. Before recommending a (rather ineffective) solution for my ankle (wrap it up and don’t walk on it for 24 hours, if you’re curious), he gave me a ten minute lecture on how bad smoking was for me. Now I don’t know about you, but this isn’t the fifties, where doctors made housecalls and you got a good hour and a half to chit-chat with the PHD about your quality of life. You get – literally – FIFTEEN minutes, max, with a doctor these days. So when you get up the gumption to actually go see the kind doctor, you would rather spend that time diagnosing, treating, and hopefully curing, the condition for which you scheduled your appointment. Spending 2/3rds of my time telling me something I already know, and am not prepared to handle at that time, serves no one but your good deed for the day.
- You can tackle all those other hygiene problems. This one’s kind of tricky and specific to your own condition. Me, I don’t know how to judge whether I smell better or worse than I did before. I’m told I smell better, so I believe people who tell me that. No one really goes around telling people they smell bad, even if they smoke (well, smokers are actually told quite frequently that they smell bad). So let’s just say for the sake of argument that when you quit, you DO smell better, and your halitosis improves, and you require less cologne and/or deodorant. On the other hand…once you quit smoking you can no longer blame it for any such problems you had before. For instance, my teeth were colored yellow by fluoride treatments that strengthened my teeth when I was 8 or 9 years old. However, for most of my life folks have assumed my teeth are yellow from cigarettes. Not sure what I’m going to tell them when they don’t turn white all-of-a-sudden, but I’ll figure out a way to correct that now – at least it’ll be worth it.
- You don’t have to pick up other people’s garbage. Again, might just be me, but I don’t (unless I’m actually on fire) throw my cigarette butts on the ground. I used to. I think every few months I might, if I felt I was standing in a land fill. But the past 5-8 years or so, I collected them either in my pockets or (more recently) in plastic bottles in the car, and threw them away when I got the chance, in a more proper receptacle. I got to feel better that I wasn’t poisoning the earth with my own bad habit (well, at least not in a human-accessible place – don’t get me started on pollution). So that was my own trash, but what about others? Now, when I’m outside where fellow smokers tend to congregate, especially if it’s somewhere nice and I’d like to continue smoking there, I tend to pick up other people’s cigarette butts and throw them away. The logic here is that if there are no butts on the ground, the management is less likely to outright ban smoking in that particular place, and hence, I can continue smoking there. Make sense? You’re right, doesn’t make much sense to me, either. At any rate, I don’t have to do that anymore, although just because I don’t mind touching them so much, I’ll probably pick a few up every once in awhile, and throw them away. Who else is gonna do it?
- You can let other people set things on fire. Being the only smoker amongst friends puts you in the awkward position of having to light everything from candles, to bonfires. I say awkward, because what usually follows one of these events is someone else’s child asking you or their parents why you are the only one who carries a lighter in his pocket. That’s usually followed by a very brief, quiet, polite “because he smokes” comment.
- You can solve problems requiring more than 50 minutes of concentration. I smoked roughly 1 to 1.5 packs a day. That usually meant a cigarette every fifty minutes or so. Because I typically smoked when I needed to break from one task and move to another, I learned to break all of my tasks down into fifty minutes or less. That’s actually not a bad way to get really big problems solved. On the other hand, it helps to spend a good 70 minutes on a problem, sometimes.
- You have an extra pocket. Just like that. Now I finally have a place to keep my phone!
- You don’t have to make your friends follow you outside. Hangin out with your friends or co-workers having a few beers or trying to solve a problem – you have to go outside once an hour to smoke. Inevitably your good friends tend to go with you, to keep the conversation going. Now, you can all save on that extra exercise and stay inside.
As for me, let’s hope I’m still smoke-free next week. I think I’ll probably be out of the woods – and KNOW that I’ve quit – sometime around 2065 or so.
* I left off: Everything Will Taste/Smell better, and You’ll Breathe Better, because a) The first is not true for me, and b) I got a whopping flu a week after I quit and I haven’t breathed worse in 9 years. Also, during my last 1.5 year non-smoking binge, I found absolutely no difference in my breathing quality.