Smoking Addictions

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:

  • Television.
  • Female approval.
  • Consumerism.
  • Medications.

There are a few non-tobacco-related addictions for which I have little to no criticism:

  • Adrenaline/thrill-seeking.
  • 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.

16 thoughts on “Smoking Addictions

      • Thankee! 🙂 My “Brains” has 32 reviews on Amazon, almost all of them 5 star, but one of my favorites is one of the one-star ones. The author certainly didn’t mean to pay me a compliment, but how else could I possibly take a review titled, “A very dangerous book…”

        MJM, and if you read through the one-star reviews you’ll find that with one exception, none of the reviewers actually read the book. The exception is a real puzzler as the guy rarely does any reviews, DOES seem to be a cigar smoker, wrote a far less literate review than his general standard, and wrote a review that makes very little sense in light of the book’s overall content; but he was indeed a “Verified Purchaser.” Strange, but hey, those things happen!

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  2. I am smoking since 1965. No ailments. No medications. I am getting old(er), and normal things associated with aging. Nobody gets out of life, alive.

    When I die, I want four words on my headstone. The same words the late Malcolm Forbes, has on his headstone: “While Alive – He Lived”.

    I had a brother, health and fitness finatic. Never smoked a day in his life. He always ranted that I was going to die prematurely, as I was in a war, I was a street cop working rotating shifts plus overtime, I smoke, I drink. He always watched his calories at meals. Avoided red meat. A big drink to him was a wine spritzer. At a wedding, he had two, and it lit him up. I, on the other hand, used to regularly shut down barrooms. He died, two weeks after his 41st birthday. I miss him. He was a good guy.

    As my platoon used to say, “When your number’s up, nothing will save you. Your number’s up. That’s it”. Fatalistic? Hardly. The fatalistic ones, sit in doctors’ waiting rooms, hoping the physician finds something wrong to cure or write some pill prescription.


  3. I’ve often wondered why, knowing there are people who smoke for decades and die at ripe old ages… scientists are not curious to discover why.

    It’s much like the one-size-fits-all warning about staying out of the sun. Some people get skin cancer and die – and some ripen into those little brown leathery 80 year olds walking beaches in Florida.

    Seems like someone would be interested in finding out what makes one person die from something that is apparently harmless to another instead of issuing a blanket warning that simply isn’t true.

    • Most melanomas occur on places on the body where the sun doesn’t hit. Most SSC’s have a viral component. I’m one of those unrepentant skeptics who think that the sun and sun tanning is healthy, tobacco has health benefits, and that there’s no political or financial interest in keeping the majority of the population healthy. However, there’s plenty of incentive in making the state into some sort of “moral” healthism leader. What ever happened to skepticism? Mass media is like “absolute power” in the hands of our dystopic leaders. Health and nutrition knowledge however has been around since forever. My rule is that if a “scientific discovery” has a soundbite, it’s probably more political/economic than sound. Does compliance with earthly authorities result in a reward? Not that I can see.

      • “Most melanomas occur on places on the body where the sun doesn’t hit.”

        That may be true… but be careful: statistics aren’t always what they appear to be (as we know all too well from watching the Antismokers over the years…)

        Dunno what studies are actually out there on this, but three additional factors are important in evaluating the “Most melanomas…” statement:

        1) Sunshine isn’t the *only* claimed cause of melanoma: remember the first recognized cases… those in the chimney sweeps of London! It’s possible that there are a fair number of melanomas caused in areas like crotches or on feet where dirt/chemicals/sweat-chemicals build up. Perspiration is one of the four ways our bodies get rid of poisons — along with defecation, urination, and respiration.

        2) Percent of skin involved: if studies consider hands and faces to be the only “primarily sun-exposed areas” of the body, then yeah, it’d be quite reasonable that random mutations/degradations into melanoma state would occur “more often” in the 95% of the skin surface that’s “not primarily sun-exposed.”


        3) I believe that there are two types of melanoma that need to be thought about, with malignant melanoma really being the only threatening one in modern society with medical access. I don’t know the breakdowns on the stats, but if 95% of malignant melanomas occurred only on the sun-exposed areas, while most of the rest just appeared randomly elsewhere, then yes, pointing to the sun as a danger would be a good move.


        The focus on sunshine gives us an interesting sidelight on smoking: The whole “No Safe Level” claim. Using Antismokers logic, parents should have their children taken from them if they ask their little Tommy Tumkins to grab the morning paper from the front porch. What kind of parent after all would put their child at risk of an early, painful, and horribly disfiguring death simply so they could titillate themselves over morning coffee with the latest scorching sexcapades of President Clinton (past or future)?

        And don’t forget… even if you stick your nose out the door only at Midnight on All Hallow’s Eve, there are BILLIONS (trillions?) of Killer Death Furnaces up in the sky pouring fatal solar radiating down, aimed right at you, from light years away!

        Isaac Asimov knew what he was talking about in his “Caves Of Steel” and “The Naked Sun” novels!

        – MJM, who probably averages less sun exposure than the average Eskimo….

      • I’m not going to anonymously argue melanoma statistics but this area is also not free of agendas, like antismoking. Given that vitamin D is known to be anticancer, and vitamin D is manufactured on the surface of the skin which normally has a healthy layer of cholesterol, such that exposure to ultraviolet rays causes the synthesis of vitamin D.

        While meanwhile, with the increase in polyunsaturated oils in the average diet, which are related to a host of cancers, including lung cancer, along with the artificial (and dietary) lowering of cholesterol, it is entirely possible that our modern diet contributes more to skin cancer than sunshine. In any case, the mood elevating effects of tanning and sunshine, to include immune system enhancement, well outweigh the risk in my view, to perhaps not include extensive unprotected exposure, which would be too much of a good thing. So, I’ll stick with the sun, while meanwhile my sun-avoiding-all-their-lives female relatives have not only had scores of “anomalies” removed from the surface of their skins, but also cataracts, and breast cancer. Three fatalities so far. I’ll take the sun, thanks.

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