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. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Just for the record, nicotine is not what’s in cigarettes that kills you — it’s all the other stuff that comes along with smoking that does. Nicotine is just what makes you want to keep smoking enough that the bad stuff builds up enough to hurt you.

    2. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Well, I wrote above about how I quit and how the original poster can quit too. As for my answer to your post, it wasn’t meant to be offensive. I used to smoke, you’re very defensive, I know why, and someday you will too. No need to get jumpy. I hope you quit soon. Not only is it really bad for you, it’s stinky and no one wants to be around it. I know this is hard to accept, but we’re not going back to the Madmen days, and this is just the way society is now.

    3. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Listen, the people who are now claiming that there is no “proof” that second hand smoke is harmful, are the same ones who for decades insisted that there was no “proof” that smokers suffered higher rates of lung cancer.
      In both cases, there’s a lot of evidence, and the only people dismissing it are those paid to do so by tobacco companies, and defensive smokers who want to claim they have the right to hurt themselves.
      Your right to swing your fist stops at my nose. Luckily, society agrees with me, and I don’t have to wait for you to be satisfied with all of the scientific studies showing a link between second hand smoke and cancer.

    4. lyndorr
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Uh yes, in the following post, that is why I mention smokeless tobacco, a form of tobacco harm reduction. It’s not the nicotine that kills you, it’s the smoking that has so many chemicals and toxins.

    5. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      I understand and absolutely respect the right of those who do not want to inhale my cigarette smoke second-hand, and I *always* ask the friends I’m around if they mind before I light up. I don’t smoke in my own apartment and I literally *can’t* smoke in most bars any more, which I think is kind of a shame — non-smokers should be able to avoid secondhand smoke, but I don’t think that should necessarily make it illegal across the board for me to be able to have a cigarette while playing a game of pool in a dive bar somewhere :( Er, anyway, I will absolutely put out a cigarette if anyone around me asks me to (and I generally ask them if they mind before I even light up), and I don’t smoke in circumstances where it seems inappropriate at all, *but* I don’t have much sympathy for those who claim that my secondhand smoke is hurting them when I’m literally *outside* and they’re not right next to me. If we’re standing along a street (or even in a city at all), the car exhaust is probably doing much more to you than my cigarette is.

    6. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      That’s fine. But you will more and more, be restricted to doing so in your own home, and it better not be an apartment or condo, because more and more of those places are saying NO to smokers. I live in a condo, and my old neighbor smoked and it came through my vents. It was disgusting and an invasion into my home. She’s gone now, the new owner is a non-smoker, as will ever new owner be, due to a change in the bylaws. One I cheered.
      So, my advice to you is, buy a house, and don’t plan on dating a lot.

    7. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      AS to this post being directed at women, I’d say there is a good reason for that, other than the obvious one – this being a feminist site, largely consisting of, women.
      Women’s risk of lung disease, and heart disease (still coming in as the Number One Killer of Women), is largely underplayed in the media, and alas, in our doctor’s offices. Studies show time and again, that doctor’s do not take women’s complaints of chest pain seriously.
      Women are encouraged to raise money, walk, run, talk about, and advocate for, one disease and one disease only. That is the doctor, media, and society approved, “woman’s disease”. Breast Cancer.
      Meanwhile, women are dying of lung cancer, and heart attack.
      So yeah, this is a feminist issue.

    8. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      I really like that “Your right to swing your fist stops at my nose” quote, fwiw.

    9. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I still think this is an incredibly condescending comment, even if you’re not consciously intending it as such — I thought JJHuggnstuff‘s comment above did a really excellent job of describing what’s going on, too:
      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 think that’s a really understandable position to be in, but it’s still important to me that you don’t regard me as some version of a former, less perfect you.

    10. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      You’re being a jerk here too, especially with the “dating” comment. I mean, clearly we should muster all the energy we can in order to change lifestyles we’ve willingly chosen if it means that we’ll be more successful at getting a man (or for that matter, a woman).
      If you’re going to rally for policing what people can and can’t do with their own bodies and lives, at least do it by arguing about the immediate matter at hand, don’t make these snide side-comments meant to make them feel like inadequate lovers or something.

    11. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, that was basically a response to the “drugs out there much less harmful than nicotine” comment.

    12. one more clue
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Started with the occasional cig at 15 ended as a two pack a day smoker who wasn’t going to quit for the same reason I started–peer pressure. Tried several times to quit, but returned to it at the first sign of pressure or stress. My longest time away was three months, and the first cig back made me cough, gag, and almost lose my lunch, but still it was like coming home. When I turned 49, I decided I was not going to turn 50 as a smoker. Still, I procrastinated because I really enjoyed smoking, and as a work at home I could smoke at my desk if I wanted to. In September I decided that I would no longer buy cigs by the carton, or even keep an extra pack in the house. I would have to make a conscious effort to get the next pack of cigs. That meant a one mile walk for every pack of cigs I smoked. In October I decided to keep the cigs in the fridge. I would have to stop whatever I was doing and go to the kitchen for a cig. At the same time I put a sign on the fridge “I AM NOT A SMOKER”. It turned out to be a very cold winter, and walking in the cold was a disincentive to go out for a pack of cigs, and the sign on the fridge seemed more and more like an accusation. By mid December, I was making the pack of cigs last two or even three days, by Xmas I would finsh a pack in the morning and put off walking to the store till the next day or even two days on. I walked for my last pack of cigs on December 28 at the start of a stretch of thirty below with wind chills in the forty belows. It was the last pack I bought. In three years I backslid once when in a strange city I had to drive a friend to the hospital and got lost going back to her house alone. When I got back to her house I lit up one of hers, coughed, gagged almost lost my lunch, recognized that it still felt like coming home, but that it wasn’t a particularly happy home and one that I’d rather just stand outside of thank you very much. Three years later I still get the urge now and then, but it passes. Sometimes when I see people standing outside smoking on their breaks, I’ll go out of my way to walk through and inhale. Other times I’ll get a whiff of stale smoke on someone’s clothes and think “OMG, did I used to smell like that?” The moral of the story: know when your ready and just keep on trying as a gift to yourself.

    13. Snark
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Well, do you drive a car? Your driving a car pushes way more pollutants into the air, and could directly impact my health. I demand you stop driving your car. What right do you have to drive a car? You will eventually hurt/kill someone!
      See how that sounds? Unreasonable as hell, right? That’s what you’re asking me to do, in so many words.
      The carcinogenic threshold of second-hand smoke is so far below that of first-hand, and has no direct proven established link. There are no cases of lung cancer that can be directly traced to second hand smoke.
      It’s impossible to actually fully prove.
      Besides which, casually passing through someone’s cloud of smoke as you enter a building they’re smoking outside of will not harm you.
      If it takes years upon years of concentrated smoking to finally kill a smoker, 10 seconds will not do you any noticeable, measurable harm.
      Considering even with being exposed to it in a bar or restaurant, you’re still inhaling far less than an actual smoker, for much shorter periods of time, and not nearly as much of a regular basis.
      That said, you’re exposed to far worse things on a daily basis.
      On one hand, you could simply avoid smokers. On the other, you’re demanding we not smoke because YOU don’t like it.
      Which one is more reasonable?

    14. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s just the facts. Society has moved on from this argument. The poster asked for advice on how to quit, or at least, for quitting stories to help her.
      The poster snark is waging a battle in a war that has already been won.

    15. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I think one of the things that will really keep you off of smoking once you quit, is smelling other smokers and the horror you feel when you realize you used to stink like that.
      You really don’t smell it until you quit. That’s when you understand why very few non-smokers are willing to become involved with smokers. You just couldn’t stand the smell.

    16. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I’m not defending Snark at all — I think you’re both being unproductive, smug jerks to each other and to everyone else. *And,* to be more clear about my previous point, I think it is decidedly unfeminist to tell women to stop smoking because it will increase their dating pool…

    17. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      From the tone of their posts, I pictured snark as a male. And I’m not telling women to stop smoking to increase their dating pool. I’m stating the fact that society has moved on from smoking, and smokers are quite simply, not desirable mates to both genders, and to both orientations.
      You want to twist it into something anti-feminist, because you’re a defensive smoker looking for reasons to escape the facts of the situation. But you just sound silly to me. Oh, and defensive. :)

    18. Snark
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Could you BE any more condescending?
      FYI: I live in a townhouse. I own my section of it.
      The rest are renters.
      Which one is more likely to be evicted? Oh, that’s right. They CAN’T evict an owner. Not unless they plan to pony up and buy me out, which, my house has quadrupled in value since I bought it. I doubt they can manage the money to buy me out.
      It’s not up to you, or anyone, to dictate what I do in my own home.
      If you want to talk about an “invasion” into a home, telling me what to do in mine certainly is.
      To say “You cannot live here because you are a smoker” would rather fall under being against the law, due to fair housing laws. It’s discrimination. If someone can pay the bills, it’s quite illegal to deny them a place to live.
      Also, as far as dating? Who the hell do you think you are? That’s not only condescending, but disgusting and shallow. To you, I heartily say “Fuck you”.

    19. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Hey, all I’m saying is that I shouldn’t have to change my willingly made lifestyle choices just because it may or may not affect my ability to get a man (or “attract a mate” as you would have it), and I think arguing to the contrary, which is what you are currently doing, is unfeminist. If you respond, please actually respond to this comment with some legitimate content of your own (even and especially disagreement if you’re so inclined), instead of just trying to aggravate me with vague personal comments.

    20. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Anyway, for Vanessa – don’t quit quitting. It may take a lot longer than six weeks, or even six months, but if you keep on keeping on, you will be a non-smoker.
      That’s the point.
      This other silliness with people determined to spite anti smoking laws and people who support them, by killing themselves with continued smoking! (LOL), is such a silly distraction. Go ahead! Not only will you probably die younger, but your quality of life will suffer each five years that goes by. Because your lungs will incur greater and greater damage. You won’t be able to go for a hike, a bike ride, or at least not far. Soon, you will struggle to get up a flight of stairs. And your skin will age prematurely, period. Maybe it is “anti-feminist” to be concerned about one’s skin, but frankly, sallow, wrinkly, smoker’s skin doesn’t look good on men or women. So knock yourselves out “spiting” me. :)
      For Vanessa – good luck! I know you can do it.

    21. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      FWIW, I have no idea about the illegality of this, but I know I have seen many apartment rental ads in my life that specifically ask for non-smokers, and have lived in a number of apartments where the landlord explicitly stated that we were not to smoke inside the apartment. I imagine it’s probably legal to do that, though, since smoking does actually damage things in the apartment that the landlord is responsible for (paint, carpet, etc).

    22. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I think you have ignored everything I have written in order to obsessively focus on a comment that in no way meant “change your life and do anything to get a man”. And I think you did it because you don’t want to think about the real issue. And you and snark have managed to change the topic of this thread – how to quit smoking and stories from people who have done it, to some silly, old battle that no one really cares about. I’m finished with it, but you and snark should feel free.

    23. Caton
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      LOL. I see, you are the only owner in your complex, the others are all renters. Ok.
      Snark, I’ll tell you what? Why don’t you just keep on smoking? That’ll show me! :)
      Have fun.

    24. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      As a general aside, not exactly as a direct response to the OP, I am really sick and tired of being told as a woman what I can and cannot do to or put in my body, whether it’s cigarettes or food or clothing or a baby (or lack thereof) or sex or whateverthefuck else. I feel like there really is a major feminist issue somewhere in there, in this general notion that women’s bodies are important in a public sense, that what we do somehow needs more oversight from the rest of society. There are such prevalent but insidiously subconscious notions out there of what is appropriate for a woman’s body and what isn’t, and that somehow it is appropriate and even perhaps a public duty for everyone to make sure that the women they know are abiding by these normative standards, at least as much as they can within reason. I think it would be a lovely thing if women could come together and support each other in the difficult choices they might make regarding their bodies (including, but certainly not limited to, quitting smoking), but I also think that it is extremely important, in all this context of the terrible invasiveness of this sense of public ownership of women’s bodies, that we respect individual women’s right and ability to actually make those choices privately.

    25. Snark
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Actually, yes, I am.
      They only briefly sold properties on my block (it’s not a “complex”, this isn’t an apartment.) and then rescinded that.
      They no longer sell them, and the only people who are allowed to sell are the existing owners, of which there are very few of us. The majority are renters.
      Regardless, point is, you’re a condescending ass.

    26. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      FINE. If you want to be like that, here is the real truth of where I am coming from: I have ignored your posts because your posts, aside from one or two to the OP, have been TOTALLY USELESS. They are, for the most part, scare tactics about how if we smoke we will be kicked out of our homes and rejected by potential lovers, and bizarre comments about how “society has moved on,” as if I am somehow just not hip enough to “get it,” all after having already decided that I am not any more worth listening to than some previous self of yours that you have “overcome” by quitting and that you can now only interact with by babying at best. And now you’re trying to “recover” by tacitly encouraging people you disagree with to go kill themselves?? Classy. I asked some genuine questions and have provided some experiences of my own in what was originally a real attempt to understand where everyone else was coming from, and how I might understand something very immediate to me — smoking, and quitting smoking — in a feminist context. I am “obsessing” over your bizarre exhortation to quit smoking lest we have problems dating because that is really the ONLY comment you’ve made where I can see a feminist-relevant point waiting to be made.
      And now, I am “finished with it.” Enjoy.

    27. Snark
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Find me a report of someone diagnosed with lung cancer, wherein it was conclusively agreed that they contracted it because of second-hand smoke.
      I’ll wait here.

    28. Snark
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      There’s nothing more obnoxious than a former smoker. I’ve heard this statement, and others like it, for many years, and it still holds true.
      No one is as obnoxiously preachy, zealous, and hard to be around, as an former smoker when they’re trying to insult current smokers.

    29. deerly
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I’ve lived somewhere where we were not allowed to smoke inside. No big deal to me since I don’t smoke nor have I ever smoked.
      The landlord told us it was a safety issue so people wouldn’t smoke in bed or otherwise burn the building down.

    30. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Not helping. *sigh*

    31. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      This is pretty interesting — I had no idea what “snus” was (were??)… I have seen signs for “Camel Snus” at convenience stores in NYC somewhat recently, so presumably it is available in the U.S. as well.

    32. Blue
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree with the commenters that say the routine and habit part is a lot harder to break than the physical addiction. I quit about five years ago. It took me three months. At first I allowed myself an “emergency pack” that I was to keep in the freezer, unopened, in case I was really desperate. Problem was that my smoker friends kept ending up convincing me to open the pack when they ran out at my place. And once the pack was open, all bets were off. So, I stopped purchasing emergency packs and went cold turkey. It then became solely a matter of self-control – trickiest when out drinking. After the first year, I stopped being tempted even while drinking. And now I truly find the smell of cigarettes revolting.
      Also, I had a tragedy a couple years after I quit. My ten-year-old cat developed cancer in her face. I had to have her put to sleep. I suppose I will never know what caused the cancer, but I will always wonder if it is my and my then-boyfriend’s fault, for smoking in our apartment. That guilt alone would probably keep me from ever considering picking up the habit again.
      I know most people do not get over their smoking habit as readily as I did – in fact, I have talked to people who quit 30 years ago and still say that not a day goes by that they don’t want a cigarette. But be strong, Vanessa – if you really want to quit, I believe you can do it.

    33. Blue
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Whoops – sorry, Lyndorr, I intended my comment as a reply to the original post, not to your comment.

    34. deerly
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      I am endlessly amused by the people posting here trying to link the choice to smoke with the RIGHT to choose to abort a pregnancy that we fight for.
      There is no justification for smoking and padding the pockets of those corporations who are deciedly unfeminist. Targeting women, children, minorities with their marketing and products that are POISON. You may think it’s fine to do whatever you want with your body but unless you are rolling your own cigarettes you are supporting one of the most subversive and racist industries in our country.
      I’m happy that you can sit there on your pedistol and wax poetic about how it is your feminist choice, how liberating it is to be addicted to something that is killing you, taking your money and targeting the poor and the underprivileged to make insane profits and spread around disease and death.
      I don’t care if people smoke, but I do care if they do it around me. I would be offended as hell if someone decided to blow smoke in my DOGs face let alone mine or my families or my (nonexistant) children.
      I don’t spill my drink on you if I choose to consume alcohol, I don’t make you taste the food I choose to eat.
      Someone had a post about illnesses that were allowed to be “about women” and that basically it was summed up with breast cancer. Isn’t the number ONE cause of death in women heart related illnesses? Isn’t smoking scientifically proven to increase these risks astronomically?
      How is it NOT a feminist issue with these huge corporations are targeting children and women and minorities and the poor with misleading advertisement and preying on them to pad their pocketbooks while people get sick?

    35. deerly
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Amen amen amen amen! This should be a post of its own!

    36. Terabithia
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I think the rationale behind making smoking illegal in ALL bars was more about the employees than the other customers. But yeah, I love that its illegal to smoke inside anywhere in California, but I think making it illegal to smoke outside is taking it a little too far. Most colleges I’ve been at say you can’ smoke within 20 feet of an opening to a building, and that seems good enough.
      Still, I can totally tell when someone walks by me if they smoked earlier in the day. Smokers don’t seem to realize it because I guess you get used to the smell, but it doesn’t go away that easily. It stays in your clothes and hair until you wash them. It definitely actively bothers me if someone goes outside to smoke and comes back reeking of cigarettes, but I’ll admit that its probably not that much of a health hazard (I dunno, it might still affect someone with asthma).

    37. Terabithia
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      You can pretty much never conclusively say what caused a specific cancer in a specific person, since that’s not how cancer works. What you can do is look at statistics and show that people exposed to secondhand smoke are significantly more likely to get things like cancer and heart disease.
      Besides the long term issues, I can point to immediate, real health consequences ranging from annoyances (smell, stinging eyes) to serious health problems (asthma attacks) that are clearly caused by breathing smoke in the short run.
      Of course that doesn’t mean every person exposed to secondhand smoke will get sick, and it depends a lot on what levels, but it is a very reasonable health concern and its extremely selfish of you to just dismiss it. If you aren’t concerned with your own health that’s fine, but you can’t tell other people not to be concerned with theirs.

    38. Terabithia
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Its true that exhaust from cars can cause lung problems, and it is definitely something worth talking about. In fact, most societies are definitely trying to make cars that don’t produce such pollutants, etc. I DO think people should make every effort to avoid polluting if they can help it, but most people are in a position where they really do HAVE to drive a car or take some sort of transportation that produces some sort of fumes. We do the best we can about this.
      But the main point is that no one is pointing their car exhaust pipe directly in your face. As I’ve said above, if you want to smoke on your own outside that’s fine (you will still smell bad, but its probably not a significant health hazard to anyone around you), but smoking around other people definitely impacts their health.
      “Besides which, casually passing through someone’s cloud of smoke as you enter a building they’re smoking outside of will not harm you.”
      Actually this does in fact make me cough, if I breath in even one breath of it. And I know people with asthma who are affected much worse by it. If you smoke in a wide open outdoor area that’s fine (as I’ve said above) but if you smoke in an area where people HAVE to go by you and breath it, let alone an indoor area where they have to keep on breathing it, it does definitely harm people.
      I’m not demanding you don’t smoke, I’m demanding you don’t smoke in areas where nonsmokers (or children) have to be around you.
      Chewing tobbacco is also a disgusting habit but since it doesn’t force itself into everyone else’s lungs, I’d rather people switched to that.
      I have a question for the smokers here. Do you admit that you smell bad to everyone else, and you just don’t care? Or do you deny that you smell? I’m actually curious.
      I’m very happy that you can’t smoke in bars and clubs in most places now. A few years ago you could still smoke in clubs in Paris and after a night out my hair and my clothes would reek of smoke, and that was just from being in the same room, not even directly hanging out with someone who was smoking.

    39. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Regarding the smell question — What I admit is that there are a lot of people who don’t like the lingering smell of smoke on my clothes. I can actually smell it a little (although surely not as acutely as those who don’t smoke) and weirdly, I actually kind of like it. I like the smell of certain cigarettes better than others. I like the way cigarette smoke mixes with certain people’s natural scents better than others. When I’m going into a formal environment where I will be meeting lots of strangers in a very polite context (e.g. a job interview, some social gathering with my parents, etc) I will shower in the morning, wear freshly washed clothing, light perfume (although I do this every day — also just because I like it, not to mask anything), and not smoke before the event if I’m trying to make a really good impression because I realize some people really don’t like it. However, in my every day life, where I’m just going about my business and I don’t particularly care about the impression I’m making (beyond, you know, just being a generally decent human being, which one ought to be able to expect of everyone) then yeah, I know some people don’t like it and I don’t really care. I’m not about to start worrying about the wide variety of things about me some stranger on the street might be bothered by when they encounter me. I’m sure some of them don’t like the smell, others think my glasses make me look like a nerd, others think the piercing in my ear makes me look trashy, others think I ought to get a better fashion sense instead of wearing slouchy jeans all the time, etc. These are all things that I’ll just let those strangers on the street spend time worrying about while I go on my merry way.

    40. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      How in the world do you know that I’m not rolling my own cigarettes, and what business is it of yours to police whether or not I buy the “right” products in the first place? I totally agree that women’s health issues are obviously a feminist issue, and that it is outrageous that breast cancer seems to be the only acceptable women’s health issue for discussion these days. I also agree with you that it’s important to keep track of what corporations are doing and how they’re using their power and money to shape or even prey on society, and that in that sense there are better and worse places to channel your money.
      I still, however, really don’t understand the kind of rage that comes out of people whenever anyone, and especially whenever a woman, says “Hey, I actually kind of enjoy smoking.” I do. I enjoy it. I don’t really know what to tell you. I don’t think that makes me a bad person, or even a stupid person. I just have different priorities from you, I guess.
      If you do think it makes me a bad or at least a stupid person, I really genuinely am all ears, and would like to hear why, because I honestly am kind of baffled by all the anger that surrounds this issue and I honestly don’t understand why it isn’t okay for me to just partake in something I enjoy as long as I make sure I’m not bothering anyone around me.

    41. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      While we’re asking questions — I mean this totally genuinely, no snarkiness involved: what’s going on with the repeated image of smokers blowing smoke “in your face”? Are there actually smokers out there who are walking up to non-smokers and blowing smoke in their faces? I honestly don’t get this. I mean, if there are, then there’s way more offensiveness to it than just the smoke — that would be a really aggressive gesture, right? I just honestly have never seen that happen. I mean, I would be pissed off if someone blew smoke in my face. Other smokers apologize to me if the wind changes and their smoke blows into my face while I myself am smoking. Maybe there’s just not as polite of a set of unwritten smoker laws (and oh, there are many of them) wherever it is that you are?

    42. artdyke
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Smokers are not a protected class (race, class, nationality, disability, etc… gender and sometimes sexual orientation, depending on your state). It’s OK to discriminate against smokers, legally speaking.

    43. artdyke
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Well, the willingly loosing a decade and a half of your lifespan seems pretty stupid… not that I think that makes you a bad person or you shouldn’t have that choice. But it is stupid.

    44. artdyke
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      How about second-hand smoke stinks, makes it hard to breathe, and hurts my lungs? It doesn’t have to cause cancer to be a public nuisance… I don’t mind there being some adult public spaces in which smoking is OK, like bars (although I would be bothered if there weren’t any smoke-free bars), but when I’m trying to eat, for example, it’s really upsetting to have to put up with someone else’s smoke in my face.

    45. idiolect
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      I mean, fair enough, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple. I know this will sound like excuse-making, which is not what I’m meaning to do, but I think it’s worth pointing out: it is simply not the case that my smoking now, or my having smoked, will shave 14.5 years off of my life. What is the case is that “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking-related diseases caused the deaths of about 174,000 women in each year from 2000 to 2004. On average, these women died 14.5 years earlier because they smoked[1].”
      But aside from the numbers thing, maybe it is stupid to overlook potential health hazards for the sake of anything else ever. Obviously I don’t really agree with that, but I can see how someone might make an argument for it…

    46. meeneecat
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      It’s been proven that marijuana has medical benefits (pain, nausea, psychiatry, etc). Which would explain why so many people self-medicate with it. There are plenty of arguments to make the case that marijuana is a much safer drug than nicotine, and if it were decriminalized/legalized many people would switch over to it from much more harmful drugs such as alcohol and nicotine essentially making pot decrim/legalization a harm reduction argument.
      Unfortunately because of government propaganda over the decades, we have a largely ignorant public that is not aware of the history behind marijuana criminalization, it’s safety and benefits.
      Pot’s illegality, is founded in racism and profit motives as well as corrupt politicians and ignorance. BigPharma doesn’t want to compete with a medicine that people can grow in their backyards, other industries (paper) don’t want to compete with a hemp industry. In the 80′s right after IranContra, it was also revealed that the CIA was importing crack/cocaine into poor & minority neighborhoods, a practice which I’m sure still continues to this day. For those who say “I don’t want to advocate something that is illegal”, consider this, many things that were morally wrong or just plain stupid used to be illegal/legal, that is until the law was able to be corrected. So, just because the government says so, doesn’t make it automatically right. To put it simply, prohibition & the drug war causes far more damage to our society than the actual drugs themselves.

    47. meeneecat
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
    48. meeneecat
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Have you ever had a relative die of emphysema or lung cancer. It’s not “enjoyable”. It might be your opinion that you would just rather enjoy yourself, but apparently this is not how many other Americans think, since there has been a huge downward trend in the use of smoking. People are quitting in record numbers, and it’s most likely due to education about the health risks of smoking. I think people should be able to put whatever they want into their bodies, so I’m not criticizing you, I’m just pointing out that given the trends in quitting, I think a lot of people would disagree with your argument.

    49. meeneecat
      Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      neither you or the OP are making much sense. Or any legitimate arguments. You say it’s a FACT that “society has moved on”?
      “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 400,000 premature deaths each year about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths.”
      One in five deaths related to smoking; that’s pretty significant. It seems society has NOT moved on from smoking…your initial assertion that we have moved on was an opinion, not a fact.
      btw, yes the “dating” comment was insulting. To both non-smokers and smokers…Implying that anyone should change habits to increase their dating pool is an unfeminist argument.

    50. meeneecat
      Posted November 30, 2008 at 12:08 am | Permalink

      It’s a narrow distinction but you should say: it’s okay to discriminate against the ACT of smoking. (usually that’s how the laws are phrased, since smokers are still people, and you can’t discriminate against people, but you can say for example “no smoking here”- it’s the use of the action:smoking as opposed to the person:smokers)

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