The Joy of Smoking

Physical healing of the body and mind

The Joy of Smoking

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Sep 2000, 12:42 #1

The Joy of Smoking
Out on the town, you watch as your good friend Bill lights-up and **** down a deliciously deep puff, and then lays the pack on the table between you. Cindy, your talkative co-worker, blows smoke your way while gloriously waving her cigarette like a conductor's baton. Arthur and Denise, two smoking strangers, gravitate toward one and other and engage in lite-hearted conversation while guarding a store's entrance. While stopped at a light, a deep relaxing puff is inhaled by Ellen in the car beside you. "Oh but to again share in the joys of smoking," you think to yourself, "to puff, to taste, to blow, then relax." The joys of smoking???? Joy? Joy?

Yesterday, Bill stepped in a pile of dog dung but failed to notice until he turned around and was puzzled by the strange brown tracks across his sky blue carpet that seemed to lead to his right shoe. Bill's sniffer has been almost useless for over 20 years. A pack and a half a day smoker, he has experienced two cases of pneumonia over the past 3 winters, with the last one putting him in bed for 6 days. Struggling for each breath, Bill still managed to smoke a couple each day. His doctor has pleaded with him to quit but after a half dozen failed attempts, discouragement fills his mind.

Cindy's two teenage sons are onto her almost daily about her smoking. They can't walk anywhere as a family without her cigarette smoke finding the boys. When it does, they make her want to crawl into a hole as they both start coughing and gaging as if dying. When smoking, they never walk together, it's either ahead or behind for lonely mom. She dreads the seven hour drive to her parent's house next week, but she can no longer make excuses for visiting only once in 3 years. Cindy knows that they'll pass three rest areas along the interstate but it will be difficult to fib about having to go to the bathroom at all three. Two will have to do.

She skips making breakfast to ensure that the boys will demand that they stop to eat along the way. Cindy shakes her head after coming back in from loading up the car. Not only does she have a cigarette in her hand, the ashtray on the table is smoking one too. Before leaving town she stops to fill up with gas while managing three quick puffs, as she feels far more secure after stuffing two new packs into her purse.

Arthur, a 54 year old 3 pack a day smoker, has large cell lung cancer in the right lobe. The slow growing tumor is now almost 6 months old and a little bigger than an orange. Arthur doesn't yet know. Although he has twice coughed up a small bit of bloody mucus, he quickly dismissed it both times. Frankly, he just doesn't want to know. There is a bit of chest pain but that's nothing new, as chest tightness has occurred on and off for the past couple of years. Additional thick bloody mucus will soon scare Arthur into a doctor visit and a chest x-ray. The delay will cost him a lung. Over the next 3 years he will battle hard to save his life. In the end, he will lose.

A workaholic, Ellen has done very well financially. Her life seems to have everything except for companionship. A three pack a day smoker, she constantly smells like a walking tobacco factory and often turns heads and noses when she walks into a room. A serious chain-smoker, she tells those around her that she enjoys her cigarettes. Deep down, she believes that she just can't quit. Her car windows, house blinds and forehead continually share a common guest - a thin oily film of tar and other chemicals. Ellen has a date next Friday, a two pack a day smoker named Ed.

Denise started smoking at age 13 while her lungs were still developing. Constantly clearing her throat, her breathing capacity continues to slowly deteriorate. Smoking wrinkles above and below her lips make her look far older than her 32 years. Fifteen pounds over weight to begin with, Denise successfully quit for almost 3 weeks, before throwing in the towel when she notice that she'd outgrown her entire wardrobe. Two months later, still depressed over her defeat, the new weight remains with her. Already on high-blood pressure medication, she is about to become a regular user of anti-depressants. Fortunately for Denise, a friend will tell her about an on-line support group called Freedom, where she will soon taste victory over her addiction while receiving lots of wonderful advice about controlling her weight : )

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Sep 2000, 18:22 #2

Nice job Zep. I see you've been putting some thought into the sad scenarios of existence in many smokers' lives. If you show a piece like this a current smoker, he or she almost inevitably looks at these stories as the exceptional cases. Sure they happen sometimes, you have to be totally blind, deaf and out of touch with reality to dismiss that smoking can cause these kinds of situations with the many messages being sent via the media, encounters with physicians, dentists, other health professionals, and by witnessing family and friends who have been effected by cigarette's devastating consequences. But the smoker won't see it as the norm, and he or she especially won't see him or herself in it. Denial is an integral mechanism that addictions exert on an individual to keep that person using a substance even if it flies in the face of any common sense.

But a person who has quit, or even a smoker who is now thinking about quitting, is now often ready to face reality. The reality of smoking is that the kinds of stories you related are the norm, not the exception. Cigarettes affect almost every smoker in many negative ways. It starts out as little things, such as just plain smelling bad, or being a little winded upon exertion. No smoker avoids the smell but some may fail to acknowledge the little changes first experienced in breathing ability. The hassles of smoking continue to progress in an almost unperceivable fashion by the way it happens gradually over time. Soon more and more minor hassles are experienced, some of which you describe here in your piece. The sad part is even though the smoker is having all these problems, he or she can't, or more accurately won't acknowledge the problem, suffering the stings but pretending to not notice the effects.

This denial allows the smoker to keep on using, to keep deluding him or herself that smoking is still a minimal risk pleasurable activity for him or herself. This is what buys the time for cigarettes to accomplish their final insult, to rob the smoker of his or her health and probably life. Sometimes, even in the last stages of these cases, the smoker may look back and continue to deny that his or her smoking has led to such suffering and to such a tragic end. Sometimes the last breath is one still longing for the next puff, wanting one final comforting moment from an old friend, their cigarette. Some will die in ignorant bliss never accepting that cigarettes did them in. That smoker will have the advantage of no regrets, feeling like he or she lived life to the fullest and lost nothing in the process. He or she may be at peace upon death about his or her smoking.

Sadly though, his or her spouse, children, parents, other family and friends who survive them have to bear witness and recognize the legacy brought on by tobacco. They are all the losers now, and sadly, they never got any joy from all those cigarettes smoked by the deceased. Those who never smoked or have themselves quit often recognize the senselessness of it all. Sadly though, those who are still smokers may still be thinking to themselves that this loss was the exceptional case, maybe even still deluding themselves that cigarettes were not responsible for the premature loss. Yes denial can carry on even in the face of death.

Everyone should recognize these stories for what they are, accurate descriptions of the reality of smoking. The joy of smoking was a fantasy. It was the agony of withdrawal that kept you smoking at the end, not the joy of a cigarette. The real joy is when you recognize what smoking was and when you can look back over the day and say you beat it again, not a puff in 24 hours. This is a joy that can be repeated day after day after day for the rest of your life. To keep celebrating the real joy of Freedom, for everyday for the rest of your life, simply remember to never take another puff!


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

29 Sep 2000, 20:24 #3

To think I had so much in common with a lot of these people, and wasn't big enough to do anything about it for so long...
These articles and the realities of being a smoker really bring it home to me, WHY I have quit and how important it is to me to stay smoke free.
Linda x?
It is an honour /and I am very proud to be able to say, I have now been smoke free for...
Two weeks, three days, 17 hours, 25 minutes and 27 seconds. 531 cigarettes not smoked, saving £79.77. Life saved: 1 day, 20 hours, 15 minutes.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:31

29 Sep 2000, 20:28 #4

That was a powerful article and I will carry this with me. From high blood pressure, pneumonia, and other medical problems, this keeps my quit in perspective and seeing it in print is a help. Evening trying to plan the next smoke! Now, it seems so rediculous to think I actually did that!! I know this has not been an easy time, but it sure beats the alternative! Thanks.


starla (GOLD)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

30 Sep 2000, 02:13 #5

a warm and tearful thanks to you. that article has helped me so much. whenever i feel sad about not smoking anymore i will pull that out(im printing it out).

i was the mother who always walked behind her kids when we went anywhere because i was smoking. i also wouldnt go and visit my grandparents because the 12 hour trip in the car was far too long to go without being able to constantly smoke. i would hold my husband and kids up where ever we went because i had to get that last drag before getting back in the car with them.

when i think of that, i am truly ashamed and saddened by my selfish addiction. one that i actually thought i ENJOYED. thank god i signed on and found this site. i only feel sorry for all those people lost in the dark, in a cloud of addictive deceptions. i pray, they too, will see just how disdainful, deadly, and alienating smoking is.



Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

30 Sep 2000, 02:27 #6

Thank you for this article! It has helped me to remember not glamorize the smokers at work today. But I am going to look at them and see the reality of it all. I WILL NOT SMOKE !!!!!!


Nora (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

30 Sep 2000, 04:05 #7

Thanks Zep,

This is really a good article. It does keep things in perspective.


nomadfaerie gold
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

01 Oct 2000, 06:35 #8

Zep & Joel -

One of the things I'm already fighting is the delusion that I miss it. I know that that is the addiction pulling me. Intellectually I know that, and I talk myself through it, but somehow seeing it articulated (even repeatedly), helps even more. I will come back to this when I start feeling that I miss smoking, I'm certain it will happen again. What will also happen is that I will not smoke again. Thanks for this.



Geo (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

31 Oct 2000, 12:11 #9

Zep, I'll be thinking about this next time my mind tries to convince me I miss smoking! Thanks, Geo

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:14

06 Jan 2001, 10:55 #10

Thanks guys..mind blowing thoughts..right to my gut as I was just thinking about this depressing weekend w/out cigs..HA! Feel much better I won't outside just to grab a drag...have dirty teeth..will be home breathing good air and healing my body and mind from the nicodevil[or whatever you call them]..Thank you guys always seem to have perfect timing with your articles!! It helps more then you knowImageLeslie