A Conversation for Cigarettes
Myjo - Keeper of Decisions That Should Never be Made on Two Hours of Sleep Started conversation Jul 8, 2002
I am a smoker. I typically smoke one to three cigarettes a day, every day. I'm not addicted. In fact, I will occasionally stop smoking for a day, a week, or even a month when the mood strikes. I smoke because I enjoy it. There is something about taking the time to just sit outside and watch the world go by while having a cigarette that makes me feel content and happy. I like the smell, I like the flavor, and I like the feeling of pulling warm smoke into my lungs. I suppose my taste for cigarettes is similar to others' taste for beer. Those who don't drink it can't understand how people can. A lot of people don't like beer, and many others drink it to excess. Some, though, just like to have a cold one after a hard day's work, kick back, and relax. This is how I view my habit.
Unless I increase my intake or develop an allergy, my health is not at risk. Every doctor I've been to since I began smoking five years ago refuses to even note it on my chart, although I'm very up front about it. According to the health sites I've consulted, a person is not even technically considered a smoker unless they smoke five or more cigarettes a day. Believe it or not, I have a great many friends who fall into this "smoking non-smoker" category. I understand that I, and those like me, make up about 10% of all smokers, so yes, I agree that nicotine addiction is a definite problem. Please don't misunderstand me. I have a number of other friends who are not in control of their nicotine consumption, and I highly encourage them to quit and support them when they do by not smoking around them. But I do want to give a different viewpoint on the subject. It is possible to be a responsible, non-addicted smoker.
I try to be ultra-considerate of non-smokers. I don't smoke indoors, even in my own home. I try to stand away from others, or if that fails, downwind of them. I rarely throw my butts in the street, I am hyperconscious of passersby, and will often ask my non-smoking friends if they mind my smoking around them, even out of doors. I realize that not all people are this way, but there are rude people in every walk of life. It's just that sometimes that rude person happens to have a cigarette in their hand. This does not mean that every person who lights up is necessarily evil, and yet so often smokers are instantly judged, vilified, and unfairly harassed. I can understand how that would make otherwise reasonable people feel a bit testy and hostile. On the other hand, even before I took up smoking, I made more friends just by standing outside with that lone smoker and showing them that I didn't give a rip what they put in their bodies as long as they were good people.
Just like a man holding a martini is not necessarily recklessly alcoholic, or a woman with a hamburger is not automatically a glutton, so cigarette smokers are not always the rude, weak-willed dupes of the tobacco companies that they are made out to be. Excessive smoking is bad. Addiction is bad. Antisocial and inconsiderate behavior are bad. But smoking, in my book, is not.
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