Sometimes nonsmokers to include former smokers ask me what it would take to inspire me to “give up cigars”. I assume that the ideas of such persons are poisoned by the myth that tobacco is addictive, such that the habit itself is of less “addictive” force than the nicotine, or that the pleasure of tobacco is irrelevant.
Anyone who has sat through a patch representative’s tobacco cessation spiel might be forgiven for adopting such notions. Wearing a patch is supposed to help the poor nicotine addict give up the habit, and habits that our masters don’t like are of course, “bad habits”. If tobacco isn’t a life-extending practice relevant to all phenotypes, to include premature infants fresh out of the incubator, then it must be evil, right?
Other persons are willing to allow me space to “indulge my habit” provided I do so while standing outdoors in less than comfortable surroundings, as a measure of their “tolerance” for it and me. A tobacco addict ought to be prepared for discomfort and otherwise so grateful for “the fix” that the Feng Shui of it all ought to be irrelevant. In my view, all of these notions prove than I’m not addicted, but that rather smoking is my choice.
If I were to choose to give it up, however, I would need a very good reason. Not one that I’ve already heard. My failure to choose to give up smoking is not because I haven’t heard all the propaganda. I just don’t believe any of it.
I’ve only been seriously smoking cigars for about five years now and could give them up tomorrow if I had something to replace them assuming that there is a something to my liking. Whether I would want to give them up is another matter altogether. Smoking has become symbolic for me of the power of social approval and peer pressure—two things which I’m immune from—as well as something enjoyable and inspirational for my thought processes. Smokers would appear, as a class, similarly immune, although once in a while I come upon a self-hating smoker—as if the perils of smoking can be counteracted by guilt and self-loathing.
It is this immunity from shaming that attracts me to smokers although I haven’t eliminated nonsmokers as friendship/romance possibilities altogether. If I’m writing a personal ad, however, I eliminate nonsmokers outright as a timesaver, even if it would appear that many nonsmoking men are immune from all shaming by smokers such as to approach me anyway (if they like my photo or perhaps even whatever else I have to say in my ad). As fewer and fewer smokers remain as cigar clubs shutter and possibilities of pleasurable surroundings in which to indulge one’s habit dwindle then I may just have to consider quitting, unless I decide that being a hermit is preferable to joining the former smokers club and being welcomed into the fold by the antismokers.
Even if I do decide to quit, I won’t be shaming any smokers, for it would appear that, for the most part, they are all that remain of individualism and immunity from groupthink.
As for nonsmokers disdainful of my habit, I invite them to allow me scrutiny of their habits to include, perhaps, the following addictions:
- Female approval.
There are a few non-tobacco-related addictions for which I have little to no criticism:
- Athletic excellence.
- Exotic sexual practices.
Despite considerable propaganda to the contrary, I conclude that tobacco use alone does not interfere with the above practices within all populations. Age, however, does tend to do so, and ageing is not a crime.