Note to women smokers: Quit smoking.


If only you knew Betty, if only you knew…
This is a stark reminder: women smokers lose 14.5 years off their life span.
I’m going to disclose a little, shameful secret: I’m a smoker. Well, not your average pack-of-cigarettes-a-day smoker, but depending on my stress level, I can be a pack-of-cigarettes-a-week smoker. And I hate it. I’ve been smoking casually, socially, whatever you want to call it, for over 10 years.
But that “I’m a social smoker” excuse is a complete cop-out. I’m in the process of trying to quit, and if you’re a smoker, this is a great time to kick the gross-ass habit too. Reasons? Gee, let’s see…

  • Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in women.
  • Since 1950, lung cancer deaths among women have increased more than 600 percent, according to ACOG.
  • Smoking significantly increases the risk of many other cancers in women, including breast, oral, pharynx, larynx, esophageal, pancreatic, kidney, bladder, uterine, and cervical cancers.
  • Women who smoke are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease and 10 times more likely to die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than nonsmokers.
  • Are there any former smokers out there who can share their quitting stories? I know I can use all the help I can get.

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    179 Comments

    1. Magular
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      I have crohn’s disease so smoking for me is especially bad but I can’t shake it.
      I think the hardest thing to do is to WANT to quit. If I woke up tomorrow free of the physical addiction, a huge part of me would want a cigarette. Not even a psychological addiction. I like to smoke when I have a slurpee or when I’m drinking. I like the smell, the feel and the taste.
      I think it’s getting past those routine things and no longer wanting a smoke that’s the problem.
      I’ve tried to quit three times. Over Christmas break from work I’m doing round four. Hopefully it works.

    2. MzBitca
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      It really is more due to the routine than anything. The physical addiction/withdrawal is over relatively quickly. The problem is that it becomes so natural. I used to smoke pretty regularly for about three/four years. I will still have a few if i’m out having a few drinks or every great once an awhile if I’m out to dinner with a friend who smokes. Once I got out of the habit of doing things like, driving and lighting up a cigarette, smoking while having a cup of coffee etc it was a lot easier. Still though, if I see someone smoking on TV it makes me crave one.
      Advice:
      Be aware of all the times you smoke, in the car, while out to dinner etc. and remind yourself that you may want one but and maybe bring along gum or something else to hold in your fingers instead.
      I dont like using the patch and stuff unless necessary, such as a real stressful situation, where you know the cravings will be bad.
      If there are certain places that are tied to smoking, example: certain coffee shops…try to avoid them at least at first.
      Take an advice for AA/NA, one day at a time etc. Just focus on not smoking at the moment, don’t worry about what might happen later in the week that will make you want to smoke or far away it seems. Be aware of your triggers and how to prevent them but keep yourself in the moment so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

    3. JPlum
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      I quit smoking two years ago this coming January, after having smoked for over 15. I’d suggest you don’t think of quitting smoking as a process, but as an event. You either smoke, or you don’t: there’s no halfway ‘I’m in the process of quitting.’ Look at your pack of cigarettes, say to yourself ‘This is my last pack of cigarettes; once it’s done, I’m no longer smoking.’ And then…do it. No bumming cigarettes from friends, no having just a puff on someone else’s friends, don’t even go stand outside with the smokers, for at least a few weeks.
      It helped me to look around at other smokers, especially those a bit older than me, and ask myself ‘Is that who I want to be? Do I want the world to see me the way it sees them?’
      It may also help you if Jessica got herself knocked up. My last cigarette was 6 days after the birth of my first nephew. I didn’t want to be the aunt who smoked.
      At one point I considered getting myself a pet bird, since you can’t smoke around them.

    4. herglasslegs
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      As soon as the family doesnt drive me crazy, I am done with college, and patriarchy and ignorance are no longer around… then I will stop smoking
      Until then, I will continue in order to keep my sanity.

    5. herglasslegs
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      As soon as the family doesnt drive me crazy, I am done with college, and patriarchy and ignorance are no longer around… then I will stop smoking
      Until then, I will continue in order to keep my sanity.

    6. Thomas
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      My mother started smoking at 19. She was fit and vigorous into her fifties, smoking a pack a day, until her dignosis for hypertension. Then she had her first heart attack; then her second. So finally she screwed up the courage to do what she didn’t think she could: to quit.
      Seven months later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, found only in stage 4, with mets all over her brain. This week is the ninth anniversary of the diagnosis.
      She lost the use of her right arm. Massive steriods cured that. Then the steriods caused delusional episodes. She spiraled down. She was bedridden for months. Catheterized. On morphine, asleep much of the time and in pain the rest. She developed thrush. My father sobbed uncontrollably every day. Then she died. She was 58.
      My mother had three full siblings, all regular smokers. Three of the four died of lung, heart of circulatory ailments before reaching 65.
      Don’t quit later. Later is never. Quit now.

    7. Gopher
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Wow!I’ll keep that in mind. I’m not an addict, but lately picked up a pack of cigarrettes because I have an anxiety disorder and it makes me need to either a.) drink, b.) smoke, c.) or try out other drugs. I do this only occasionally (one a month), but as a new smoker I should probably think about your last post. I dont do the marlboros, but the clove kreteks and occassionally a shisha pipe (of which I’m not quitting).

    8. lyndorr
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      I have recently found out that smokeless tobacco, particularly wet snuff is 50 to 100 times less harmful than smoking cigarettes. The Swedes makes a form of wet snuff called snus which is supposed to be even less harmful. It may be sold in America soon. It has some risks but will not give you lung cancer. It is not chewed but in a small pack which is placed between your upper lip and gums. I wonder what options America has at the moment for smokeless tobacco. Swedish men use the same amount of tobacco as the rest of the EU but smoke way fewer cigarettes and thus have way fewer incidences of lung cancer and other cancers. Very interesting.

    9. lyndorr
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs out there so I would recommend trying other drugs. Just a thought. :)

    10. sweedie
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I quit (for the last time) smoking almost three years ago. I had been smoking for 10 years, since I was 15 and tried quitting many times. What worked this time I think is that I was just fed up with being a slave to nicotine.
      I quit cold turkey, no decreasing for weeks and weeks. I just stopped. The first week I chewed the gum but I quickly discovered I didn’t need them. And they taste nasty.
      What really helped me was that whenever I had a craving for a cigarette I would say to myself “If I still feel like smoking in 30 minutes I will have a cigarette then”. That’s how I would think everytime I had a craving and before I knew it days/weeks/months had gone by. I think this really was the key to my success.
      I have smoked after quitting, but I can count the times on my 10 fingers. And it has always tasted gross and made me realize how happy I am that I quit. Once you quit, don’t ever buy a pack, cause you will end up smoking it. That’s how I always fell back into smoking while trying to quit previously.
      And lyndorr, I am Swedish and very familiar with snus, a lot of my family members use it. It is not as dangerous for you but it is just as addictive and almost harder to quit from what I have heard. Plus it’s gross. The best way is to stay completely nicotine free :-)
      Good luck with quitting Vanessa and everyone else!

    11. aideenjohnston
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Yeah you can get less harmful cigarettes in some health-food shops.
      Vanessa – no matter how many times you quit and then fail, don’t give up trying! The only way you can fail is to quit trying! Even if it only happens after the 80,000th time!

    12. rogo88
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure everyone knows all the health hazards of smoking, but there are some other repercussions. Smoking makes it harder to get insurance. And it makes you a poor surgery candidate if you ever need one.
      http://www.grahamazon.com/over/2005/07/the-other-danger-of-smoking/

    13. Suzy Q
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      The physical addiction only lasts a few week. I quit a dozen times before I finally quit and each time I went through that month or so only to cave to the psychological.
      The real shit of it is that the physical is the hard part.
      I got a big boost though because Ca radically increase the per pack tax and I started putting the money away every day for something I really wanted (a computer). I quit in 94 and was on line with the money I saved about a year later when computers still cost close to 2K.

    14. Caton
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      I had my last cigarette two years ago. But it took me the two years prior to that to quit. I was on and off the patch for that long. It was torture, and sometimes I would just throw up my hands and decide that if I couldn’t smoke I didn’t want to live anyway. But I didn’t really mean that, and I’d go back on the patch within a couple of weeks. On and off and on and off, and two years of people saying “I thought you quit?” in that “ha ha” tone of voice.
      Conclusion: Don’t ever stop quitting, don’t ever give up. You’re going to get there, as long as you never stop trying. Today, if I smell a cigarette I literally feel naseous. Finally, I can know that I will never, ever, go back. Zero desire. And nobody enjoyed smoking more than I did. Maybe as much, but you couldn’t enjoy it more. Cigarettes were like a lover to me, I enjoyed everything about them.

    15. thordora.livejournal.com
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Get pregnant. :) I was finally able to quit while pregnant because everyone REEKED and generally pissed me off.
      What I found worked was keeping my one “security” smoke. I carried it for about a month, and then finally turfed it. Just knowing it was there worked for me. After then surviving waiting in the rain for an hour with my then 1.5 year while hormonal without having the security smoke…I knew I was good.
      That was four years ago, and even while sitting in smoky bars, I haven’t wavered. I know if I have one, that’s it. I’m done.
      Good luck! It’s worth it, until you’re around smokers and you realize how smelly they are. :)

    16. meganaut524
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I smoked from age 13-24, and quitting was shitty. However, these little nuggets of information that I came across really did something to strengthen my efforts:
      20 Minutes after your last cigarette:
      Blood pressure decreases
      Temperature of hands and feet increases to normal (because of improved blood circulation)
      8 Hours after quitting:
      The carbon monoxide level (that’s car exhaust and it’s in cigarette smoke!) in your blood drops to normal
      24 Hours after quitting:
      Chance of a heart attack decreases
      2 Weeks to 3 Months after quitting:
      Blood circulation improves
      Lung function (how well the lungs are working) increases up to 30%
      1 to 9 Months after quitting:
      Coughing, congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decrease
      The cilia (small hairs that line the airways) go back to working normally, meaning that your lungs get cleaner and function better overall
      1 Year after quitting:
      Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s
      5 Years after quitting:
      Risk of stroke is reduced to the risk of a nonsmoker (between 5 and 15 years after quitting)
      10 Years after quitting:
      The lung cancer death rate is about half the rate of a smoker who has not quit
      The risk of oral and throat cancer, bladder, kidney, and pancreatic cancer decreases
      15 Years after quitting:
      The risk of coronary heart disease is equal to a nonsmoker’s risk.

    17. A...
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      JPlum: congratulations on quitting smoking for your nephew. I think that’s a great approach – quit smoking not for your own sake, but for the sake of someone you really care about. I quit smoking when my goddaugher was ten years old: she really looked up to me in every possible way, and I knew it would be just a couple of years before she was offered her first cigarette. I didn’t want her to think smoking was cool because I did it, and I didn’t think I could manage to hide my habit forever (she has a nose, you know), so I decided to be honest about it and quit for good. When I had really bad cravings, I visualized myself having to tell her that I was dying of a smoking-related illness. So I kind of guilted myself into quitting, but it worked great and I’m happy I did.

    18. catnmus
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      I remember this list from when I quit. I found it very helpful to keep me on track. I would remind myself of all the good I achieved and what I would be undoing, if I had a cigarette.
      I used the patch, and it gave me a huge, patch-shaped welt on my skin that itched. I almost stopped using the patch. But I told myself that the patch was just for six weeks or so, and I realized I could put up with it if it would help me quit. In fact, soon it became that every time I wanted a cigarette, I would think of that welt, and the welt would give me strength to resist. After all, I was willing to endure that welt in order to quit!
      Finally, how to stay “quit”. Every time you have the urge for a cigarette, remind yourself of how DAMN HARD it is to quit. You don’t want to have to go through all that again, do you?
      Best of luck to you. It took me three tries, but I finally did it, eight years ago. I’ll be rooting for you!

    19. AG
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      After trying to quit a few times and failing each time, I took a step back and looked at the REASON I smoked. In my case, I started because I thought that’s what the cool badasses older than I did, and I wanted to be like them. I quit when I realized I was actually a healthy, self-confident, and mature adult. Smoking simply failed to align with who I was/am. Every time I want one now, I remember that and the craving goes away.
      I also started paying attention to WHEN I wanted to smoke. Again in my case, it was when I felt social situations were getting too intimate and I wanted to hang back. I realized I could handle intimacy in more productive ways than smoking.
      Other than these psychologically-based methods, other things that worked included:
      1. eating things that didn’t go well with smoking (orange juice, bubble gum)
      2. chewing on Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Australian Chewing Sticks (I still love them)
      3. avoiding my favorite bar for 3 months
      4. stopping beer for 3 months (drank wine and fancy liquor drinks instead)
      5. stopping coffee (5 years later I was able to resume with no fear of smoking again)
      6. hanging with healthier friends who didn’t smoke (good in so many other ways too)
      7. getting rid of triggers around my apartment – ashtrays, lighters, matches, candles.
      Best of luck and strength to you – you can do it!

    20. Chezlie
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      I started smoking when I was 17 and quit 2 months before my 20th birthday. Quiting for me was easy. I was really suprised. (But, I have really good self control… I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14, so maybe that helped.)
      My mom is an oncologist and she gave me crap for smoking and threw statistics at me every day, but that never worked. Then she offered to pay half the cost of the new car I had my eye on for my birthday, but only if I quit smoking that day. Of course I agreed to it!
      I quite cold turkey. All my cravings went away after about 5 days.
      Here are my tips:
      1. Chew lots of gum.
      2. Substitute Nicotine with dark chocolate.
      3. Avoid all of your smoking friends for a couple weeks.
      4. Bribe yourself.
      It’s been a year since I quite and me and my cute little orange Chevy Aveo are very happy. :)

    21. Hilary
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      I have quit twice. Once for about 7 years, and I started again mostly due to having to take the MCAT again. I quit again.
      It really takes mental determination. It is sort of like going through labor. I can drink and stand right next to a smoker in a social situation and not want a cigarette, at all, because I told myself that I don’t want to go back. I know that if I smoke once I can convince myself more times that it’s OK. So, you really have to have a zero tolerance policy for bumming cigarettes. That is the key part. I heard somewhere if you have one cigarette, you have an 80% chance of returning to smoking.
      My husband used the ear magnets and said they worked well for him. I didn’t use any quitting aids.

    22. Lou
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      I quit smoking for good three years ago after smoking for 10 years. I tried many times, so don’t give up. One thing I learned was that the “scare tactics” did not work for me. Everyone knows the risks. Ultimately, a guy a friend of mine dated recommended the book “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” It worked for me, and I will always be grateful to that guy for changing my life. My advice is to read the book and keep an open mind.
      http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Way-Stop-Smoking-Non-Smokers/dp/1402718616

    23. leah
      Posted November 28, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Smokeless tobacco and chew, though, that go between the lip and gum have an increased incidence of oral and throat cancers.

    24. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:53 am | Permalink

      WTF.
      Yes, nicotine is addictive and yes, cigarettes are bad for you and make eventual health problems a lot more likely, but honestly, if you’re picking up a pack of cigarettes instead of picking up “other drugs,” I say keep it right the fuck up. I can’t believe anyone would advise you to give up a habit that, in the immediate, is relatively harmless, and is being used to mitigate a tough situation… I’m not saying it’s a good thing to start (or keep) smoking, but sometimes if you’re up against a wall, you have to prioritize.

    25. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      People are not going to like this comment, but… what does this have to do with feminism/feministing? I mean, it’s nice to talk and all, but I’d be really interested to see what the motivation was behind posting this particular content in this particular space. It’s not that I don’t think there might be a very very good reason, it’s just that I honestly don’t see it clearly and would like someone to lay it right out for me if they can.
      Full disclosure: I am a smoker of about 6 years, at my worst a pack-a-day smoker but currently maybe a pack-a-week smoker. (I am also a vegetarian of 10 years and by all accounts very healthy, for what that’s worth). Here’s another unpopular thing to say: I smoke because I like it. I realize there are health risks and will probably quit in not too terribly long because of them, but really I think all that is probably none of any of your business. To be completely honest, I am really sick of seeing ZOMG HEALTH DANGER DANGER stuff everywhere about smoking, as if I am someone’s child who simply needs to be taught the right way to do things, or as if I’m doing this out of pure ignorance. I’m not, I assure you. I am also very skeptical of stop-smoking campaigns aimed specifically at women, because in my experience at least, they’re often a stone’s throw away from this kind of stuff (previously discussed). That is obviously, obviously not what is going on here, but I think it’s important to be careful when doling out health “instructions” to women (e.g. “Note to women smokers: Quit smoking”) to be aware of that context and distance yourself from it if you can…

    26. laurel gardner
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      I think we should absolutely support each other in trying to quit, but at what point do we say hey, it’s your life, your decision, and everyone has a vice? I have to say I object to the title of this post.

    27. Gopher
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:45 am | Permalink

      This does apply to women and feminism. I’m a public relations major and what I learned in PR 101 was some history about the formations of the field and how this has influenced modern ideas. Smoking became popular for women in 1928 when Edward Bernays (who was Freuds nephew), was doing promotion for Lucky Strike cigarettes. He was assigned the task to get women to smoke. During those days women werent supposed to smoke as it was considered unladylike. Because this was the later 20′s you still had women invigorated from passing the 19th amendment and they were still a collective movement trying to push for more progressive change for women. A psychoanalyst that Bernays sought out for ideas on how to manipulate the female mind, told Bernays that women considered anything men did to be liberating. Bernays took advantage of this and hired some models to ride on the Easter Parade float along with all of the suffragettes while smoking some Lucky Strike cigs. The models wore banners that described the cigs as “torches of liberty.” The media snapped it up and these images spread around the country and promoted the idea that smoking for women was avant garde and freeing.

    28. Gopher
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      My last post was supposed to be aimed at idiolects inquiry. Bernays was also responsible for extolling the idea that the proper breakfast was bacon with eggs after he was assigned the task of selling bacon.

    29. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      Just as a total, OT aside — did this Bernays guy seek out some other psychoanalyst than his uncle Freud??? Hahaha…

    30. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      More on topic: I think this story is really interesting, but so far basically what it tells me is that there was marketing that worked at the time?

    31. Gopher
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:53 am | Permalink

      All I know is I’ve NEVER wanted to be knocked up by my father, OR had penis envy!

    32. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      Psst — the comments ought to nest if you click the little “reply” link right under my comment. This comment looks kind of awkward out here without context, haha

    33. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:13 am | Permalink

      LOL You are totally defensive. I used to be like this too.
      Someday you’ll quit and then you’ll laugh at people like yourself too, don’t worry.

    34. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:18 am | Permalink

      Jeez, not so cool — come back when you have more content and less condescension, please?

    35. Terabithia
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      The big difference between smoking and most other vices is that smoking hurts people around you, too. If you want to put harmful things in your body I think that’s your right, but you don’t have the right to put them in my body too. So if you want to, like, chew tobacco, well, I’ll think its gross and bad for you but I won’t try to force you to stop. But I will try to force you to stop smoking. The only way to do it without hurting other people is to smoke in some private space where no one else goes, and then take a shower and put on clean clothes before you go near anyone else.

    36. crazyface8d
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Saving Money!!
      I started smoking when I was in college because all of my friends did. It started off as a social thing and then developed into behavior like leaving class for a few minutes to smoke because I was going stir crazy!
      Anyways, after seeing how much money I was burning through I quit cold turkey. I have a stubborn personality so I can’t say I had much trouble quitting. Now I only smoke when I am out ahving a few drinks, which is rare enough these days with grad school. A pack will usually still be around half full after over a month.

    37. meeneecat
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I think the lyndorr was just trying to point out that there are much much less harmful drugs out there than nicotine, drugs that don’t have nearly such as high mortality rates (alcohol and nicotine have the highest mortality rates from use)…and that perhaps some less harmful drug could have the same effect as relieving stress. I don’t think she was trying to imply that people are “wrong” or “bad” for trying to self medicate.

    38. meeneecat
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I agree idiolect. I think it’s okay to educate people and offer help to those who want it. But I think there’s a fine line between offering help to those who want it, and coming off as lecturing or pushing on to someone what you think they should and should not be putting into their own bodies. Thus, I personally think that a lot of the new anti-smoking laws, (for example not being able to smoke in any public places like a park, sidewalk, etc.) are unfair and cross over into this idea of government making decisions for us in our private lives (aka nanny state). Although I have to admit, I was happy about the restaurant bans, only because I have severe asthma and I was unable to go into many establishments because of the smoke…if I did go in, it could pretty much be expected that I would be leaving in an ambulance.
      Still, I’m very anti-prohibition (anti drugwar) because I think people should have a right to choose to do drugs, self medicate, recreational use, basically whatever the reasons, people should have a right to put into their bodies whatever substances they choose. [disclosure, I don't smoke and I never was a a smoker, but I have used other substances in the past]

    39. drpepr108
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I used to chain smoke, for about 2 years. I quit unsuccessfully once before I truly quit. First, you have to want it. One of my professors was diagnosed with lung cancer while I smoked, and watching his deterioration was enough for me to get my mind straight. After that, chew lots of gum. Also, I used to sit outside and smoke. If you feel the impulse to go outside and have a cig, just go outside and take a walk, or talk on the phone. I also started exercising every single day (and 4 years later, I still do!). Exercise is fun, and but it is less fun with smoker’s cough. So in my mind, I told myself I couldn’t exercise AND smoke, so I learned to love exercise more than smoking. I am so much healthier for it. I replaced my smoking addiction with an exercise addiction, and I lost 40 pounds and I’ve never felt better.
      Remember, the first week is the hardest! You’ll lose a taste for it faster than you think. If you can get past the first week or two, then it is all downhill.
      Happy Quitting!

    40. Snark
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      So we’re only supposed to care how smoking affects women, instead of everyone?
      I find this post sort of odd. Rather than “Attn: Smokers: Please quit”, it’s JUST women?
      Interesting.
      Anyway, no, I won’t quit.
      The leading cause of death is being alive.
      This might seem a news flash, but: You are going to die. It might be soon, it might not be, but you’re going to die, one way or another, and you can’t escape it.
      Eating vegan food, watching everything you do, never imbibing alcohol, or smoking cigarettes, driving extra carefully, exercising, and doing everything “right”…won’t stop you from dying.
      Though, constantly restricting yourself in such a way just might make you miserable.
      So, given that my options are: “Force myself into miserable lifestyle that I don’t enjoy, and die anyway”, or “Do things I enjoy, enjoy my life, and die a little sooner, potentially beating out dementia, etc”…
      Yeah, I’m going to go with “Enjoy my life”.
      I’ll quit smoking when I quit breathing, and not one damn thing anyone says or does will ever change that. Never, ever.

    41. Snark
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Unproven. In fact, the dosing of nicotine you get from secondhand smoke is vastly below the carcinogenic threshhold.
      There has been no truly conclusive proof of cancer caused by secondhand smoke.
      None. It’s scare-tactics.

    42. Dodes
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I’m really uncomfortable with the post. While I appreciate statistics and how the health concerns effect me, in my mind it comes down to my body, my choice. I fully acknowledge the hazards in smoking a cigarette; I’m not doing this out of ignorance, and this list does not surprise me.
      Whether or not it was intended, even the title comes off as discomforting. “Note to women smokers: Quit smoking.” But what if I don’t want to quit? What if I like smoking? I always ask fellows around me if they mind, because while I may enjoy the habit, I fully acknowledge that other people do not. I’d prefer to be offered the facts than told what to do with my habits.

    43. JJHuggnstuff
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Even reading lists like this one didn’t do much for me when I was in the thick of smoking. I started at 17, snowballed into a pack-a-day habit at 18, which continued until I was 22. I attempted to quit several times, usually prompted by PSA scare tactics (That voice box cowboy singing in Times Square commercial? Anyone?), but eventually come running back to the pack. What finally did the trick? A visit to my doctor saying I had severe cervical dysplasia from HPV, exacerbated by my habit (and bad medical upkeep). You can be told a million times that in the future you may get lung cancer or have a heart attack, but the future’s a mystery. I was able to make excuses. When it hit home in the present, that’s when I couldn’t ignore it anymore. After several treatments and significant changes in my lifestyle, three years later, I have a clean bill of health.
      It’s difficult for former addicts not to condescend to those they see as victims of something they have conquered. This isn’t a question of moral fiber. Some people quit, some don’t. I still look longingly at friends and strangers smoking, and fight the urge to ward off my cravings with holier-than-thou thoughts. I loved smoking, not because of the taste or feeling or culture, but because I did it at a time when I thought I was invincible. When I smoke now, I don’t get that feeling anymore. I’d say the best advice for quitting is listening to the stories of others–those who smoke and those who quit–but above all, listen to yourself.

    44. Terabithia
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      (a) Yeah right.
      (b) Even if you’re right and its not PROVEN to be harmful, people still have a right to not be forced to consume something that they reasonably think is harmful to them.
      (c) Even if it were not carcinogenic, it smells bad and causes short term health effects such as headaches, sore throats, stinging eyes (especially for those of us with contacts), and lung/breathing problems (especially for people with asthma).
      I’m sure you won’t accept any of this so I probably won’t bother arguing after these points, but there is a very fundamental difference between your right to a vice that only harms you and your right to a vice that harms other people, whether or not you think it harms them in a significant enough way for you to care.

    45. StellaIV
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t had a cigarette in 11 months. Because it is a crappy habit, it was disruptive of my life and also gross. But I agree with Dodes that the rhetoric of many anti-smoking messages is annoying and pedantic. I don’t care if people around me smoke; anti-tobacco evangelism is as tiresome as any other kind. It is an addiction, but still an act of free will.
      But if you WANT to quit, as Vanessa has expressed in the post, here’s what worked for me this time:
      1. I don’t say “I quit.” I say I’m not smoking now. May be semantics, but it takes away that forbidden fruit aspect of the cigarette, particularly when you are under stress and want to do something destructive.
      2. Do something physical. Particularly something that changes your routine. The first time I quit cold turkey was during a week-long hiking trip, and I had zero physical withdrawal symptoms. Changing up my metabolism really helped with the shakes, the aggravation, the withdrawal fog.
      3. Find something else oral and tactile to play with while you walk down the street, drive, drink, etc. Chewing on a toothpick makes you look badass. If you can keep your lighter to flick and play with (but not smoke with), it’s a comfort.
      4. Don’t let anyone tell you there’s only one way to stop. I freaking hate it when people smugly say that cold turkey is the only way to go. F*ck that — I used the gum and it worked. Particularly if, like me, you have serious physical withdrawal and can’t afford to take a week off of work to get through the spacey, lightheaded, irritable phase.
      It’s been totally worth it, though, especially since cigs are up to $10 a pack in my neighborhood…

    46. lyndorr
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Thank-you. Yes, all I’ve read shows THC in marijuana for example to be much less addictive than nicotine. It’s more likely it can be smoked just once a month without getting addicted. Of course it’s illegal but apparently was made illegal in the ’30s based on exaggerated stories of it’s effects. See Reefer Madness.

    47. lyndorr
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Many studies have shown snus to give no higher risk of oral cancer. Some of the stuff that used to be chewed gave a higher risk of oral cancer, yes. Look it up. I’m not saying it’s risk free but better than smoking.

    48. lyndorr
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that. There have been cases of heart disease going down after a place makes public places smoke-free. Might be chance but who knows. And yeah, people exposed to smoke do get more lung/breathing problems. Health of workers has improved after work places were made smoke-free.

    49. Terabithia
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I do find it odd that this post is only directed at women, but I guess that was the attempt to make it relevant to this site.
      Anyway, I see a lot of people saying they just don’t want to quit, everyone has a vice, etc etc. See my posts above about the difference between a vice that only hurts you and a vice that hurts other people.
      I thought of an interesting analogy. What do you think of this? Some people are extremely allergic to peanuts, so much so that even breathing in a little bit of dust from a peanut can seriously harm or kill them. Now, that shouldn’t affect my right to eat peanuts, since eating them really only affects ME. But, should I be allowed to grind up peanuts into dust and go around blowing that dust into people’s faces? Sure, statistically it won’t hurt most people, but eventually it’ll hurt/kill someone.

    50. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I’m not unaware of many arguments in favor of marijuana usage in this circumstance. There are some good reasons to consider its usage, and some very good ones to be disinclined to it as well (such as the very fact of its illegality, for example). I don’t think that’s a choice anyone should be making for anyone else — if someone is self-medicating a situation with cigarettes as opposed to pot, I don’t think anyone should be saying that they’ve made the “wrong” choice there and that they “should” switch.

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