One argument in favor of not starting smoking to begin with – and the main one I’ve emphasized to my kids when the subject has come up – is that bottom line, look around at all the adults in their mid-20s and older who are smoking. All these people wish they weren’t smokers. So for someone who at this point in his/her life is contemplating starting out, the key thing you have to ask yourself is: is that the position I want to be in 10 years from now and beyond?
This is based on my own second and third hand experience. IME, people who smoke are almost universally people who began in their mid to late teens because they thought it was cool. Then the addiction kicked in, and by the time the coolness factor faded and they would have preferred to stop, they still did it for the craving. And virtually all these people face a future of either living for years and years with a habit that – for a whole variety of reasons – they would much prefer to stop, or going through considerable struggles and suffering self denial and unrequited urges before managing to quit, or both. It’s enough to make you not want to start to begin with. :)
But that’s just my experience. Perhaps there are exceptions. So the question for mature smokers is: suppose you were offered a (one-time, non-deferrable) chance to remove any urge to smoke with no effort on your part, are there any who would prefer to remain smokers?
I’m the other side of the coin - a non-smoker who wishes he could go back to it. I had to quit cigarettes for medical reasons (mostly BP and heart related). Remove that and I would go back to smoking in a second; societal norms be damned. I would accept an unknown future risk or shorter life; it was just the known factor with me that got me to stop. I still kind of cheat by doing the odd cigar and cigar bar experience when I can. The people I met through a carefree youth of smokey dives and cheap drafts were among the more interesting people I’ve met and how I made many of my lifelong friends. I may be the exception but I know few people who stopped because they wanted to - because that was their preference. Either they still smoke or they were like me and faced a choice of stopping or facing tangible results.
People talk about “what would you do if the doctor gave you six months to live?” My first one is easy – buy several cartons of Camels. Straights if they still make them.
On the PS side – I had no problem stopping at all. Once the doc demonstrated what cigarettes did to my BP I quit cold turkey with no real issues physically or psychologically. Its like my hair which has mostly fallen out; I miss it but I don’t get bothered being around others who still got it.
I’m currently 37. I smoked. Started in high school. I quit about 5 years ago, purely because I knew on an intellectual level that I would be healthier without it, but I honestly wish I could still do it. It’s not just the habit and the addiction; I miss it. I enjoyed it. Life is full of idle moments that are perfectly filled spending 5-10 minutes to go burn one.
My 82 year old MIL has been on supplemental O2 for COPD for years, has a mass on her lung but is too frail for further testing or treatment, has had a heart attack and several small strokes, and has a brain aneurysm - again, untreated. She has been threatened with eviction from her assisted living for smoking in her room.
I THINK she likes her new granddaughter better than her smokes, but I’m not sure.
I quit smoking about a year and a half ago. Your description didn’t apply to me at all when I was a smoker. I really enjoyed many things about smoking, and I really didn’t want to quit. Eventually I started to notice some negative health repercussions from my smoking, specifically some noticeably reduced lung capacity when exercising. Once I decided that I actually wanted to give up the habit quitting was shockingly easy. I found the physical effects of nicotine withdrawal to be pretty mild. The physical withdrawal from quitting caffeine was much worse for me. When quitting cigarettes I was a bit irritable and fidgety for about three days. When quitting caffeine I got headaches and muscle cramps for about ten days. But keep in mind that different drugs affect different people in different ways.
Lots of people are fond of bullshitting others and themselves. Lots of people like to blame outside factors for their own negative behaviors. It’s easier to blame intoxication or addiction than it is to take responsibilities for one’s own actions.
If anyone out there is considering quitting smoking I can tell you that I’m quite glad I did and I feel a bit foolish that I was so hostile to the idea for so long. I noticed a remarkable improvement in my breathing mere weeks after I quit.
I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Gotta admit there are still (VERY rare) instances where I will momentarily think I’d like a smoke.
As a nonsmoker, the main thing I regularly think about smoking is how filthy it is. Smokers’ bodies, their clothes, and their cars and homes reek. I don’t think most smokers realize how much they smell of cigs. They inflict unpleasant smoke on other people, and (too many of them) toss their butts anywhere from city streets to beautiful wilderness.
Number 2, I can’t get over how expensive smokes are these days. Here in IL, a 2-pack a day habit will run you over $8 grand a year! :eek:
Compared to those two factors, health concerns might place a distant third in my general day-to-day consciousness.
I find smoking addiction interesting-it is like developing a taste for searing hot food. Smoking is unpleasant, expensive, and it smells bad. Your lung’s first reaction to inhaled smoke is coughing and choking-it takes years to get used to the bad effects. Is the pleasure from it actually the nicotine rush? Or is it the pleasure from stopping inhaling the smoke?
Quite a few people start in their teens, but when I went to university (not long ago, 2003-2007) I knew an alarming number of university students who started smoking in their early 20s, not to look cool, but to deal with the stress of university.
I’m not saying it was a good or an intelligent thing to do, I’m just saying it happened.
I am in a position right now where I really need to quit. I have been noticing numbness in my feet for the past year. I can easily draw a clear correlation between the amount I smoke and how far my numbness extends each day. Below 1/2 pack for 2 days I have almost 0 numbness. Above 1 1/2 packs for 2 days and the numbness will extend almost to my knees.
When I awake each morning the numbness is almost gone, by the time I go to bed at night it is at it's maximum progression.
I have been a 1 1/2 pack a day smoker for many years. Lately I have gotten it down to about 1 pack which has greatly reduced the numbness but I know I am headed for trouble soon if I don't just quit.
I have to give it you heavy smokers, you are tough cookies. If I smoke more than half a pack a day, I feel like I’m about to drop dead. Smoking a pack and a half a day seems crazy to me. I literally wouldn’t be able to do it, not even during the times when I was a regular smoker for several years at a stretch.
I started when I was about 18/19. It wasn’t because I thought it was cool (has anyone in the last thirty years actually thought that?), but because a) everyone I used to hang around with smoked and I felt a bit left out sometimes, and b) I actually used to enjoy the smell of cigarettes (stale ashtrays, not so much).
Twenty years later, I still enjoy it. Yeah, there are times when I’m standing outside in the rain, smoking purely to satisfy a craving, and I think ‘yeah, this sucks’. But on the whole, I do still enjoy a good smoke.
People like to tell me that ‘it’s just the addiction talking, you wouldn’t miss it if you quit’. But that’s not the case. Firstly, I did switch to e-cigs for a while - I was still getting my nicotine hit, but it wasn’t the same. I can’t get along with e-cigs at all, and I ended up switching back again. Secondly, I did quit once (for almost a year - more than long enough to get over the addiction), and I damn well did miss it, thank you very much. I started again not to satisfy a craving, but because I enjoyed it.
Having said all that, I’m in the process of quitting again. I’m not twenty any more, and I don’t like what smoking is doing to my body. So it’s time to quit.
If I could cut right back to two or three a day, I’d do that - that’s not enough to really cause much problem, and I’d still get some enjoyment. But I know from experience I can’t do that. Two or three a day would soon become five or six, and then before I knew it I’d be back to where I was. It’s all or nothing for me.
I’m a smoker, and I’ll probably get around to quitting some day for health and financial reasons. But I do enjoy smoking and I’ll certainly miss it.
So the answer to the question in the OP is yes, I would take the opportunity offered since it sounds like it would be a relatively painless way to quit and quitting would certainly be the wise thing to do. But I don’t want to quit.
When I smoke I really enjoy it. I’ve cut down the situations in which I’ll smoke, greatly due to laws and obnoxious non-smokers (not saying all non smokers are obnoxious; but the ones that are make up for the whole category) but also due to the realization that I don’t want a stinky car or house; I don’t want to go around reeking at work, and basically, I’m pretty damn vain and am starting to freak out about what it’s doing to my face. I keep thinking about Seinfeld saying to Kramer “You’re face looks like an old catcher’s mitt!”
Sometimes I wish I wanted to quit completely for all the obvious reasons, but I’m afraid it will have to come down to some kind of health scare for me to pull the trigger. An added bonus to quitting smoking due to a total lack of desire would be that I’d probably quit drinking too, as I have no desire to have a drink without a smoke. I do it occasionally at a restaurant or whatever, but I could easily skip it.