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Tobacco(22 posts)

Nov 16, 2001 11:04 AM
Dog brought up the topic of tobacco in a thread below.

I heard today that Philip-Morris is changing its name to distance itself from it's tobacco related operations. You can bet that they'll keep cranking out the cigs though!

With that in mind, anyone care to share their thoughts and experiences on the topic of tobacco? I'm a former smoker myself, and I recognize that people use tobacco as a crutch much like others use alcohol and other drugs.

As a boy, my father showed autopsy photos of the lungs of lifelong smokers to my brother and myself in an effort to keep us from smoking. Didn't work, but I recognize and applaud his efforts. Clearly, there are cultural, social, and psychological issues that come into play when people start smoking which overpower the knowledge that it is bad for you. My brother has called smoking a form of "population control" and I can't say that I disagree.

I smoked all through college and for a while afterwards. From an academic point of view, smoking is sheer ignorance. But why do people do it? I learned recently that the tobacco companies put ammonia in cigarettes for 'flavor'. Whew. Pretty nasty.

On long, hard rides I've cursed every cigarette I've ever smoked in my life. No doubt I've ruined a certain amount of lung capacity, but I think of the dozen or so lung tumors that Lance had and I know that lung capacity can regenerate to some extent.

Anyone else care to share? (I need some empathy!)
going on four years cig-free...Js Haiku Shop
Nov 16, 2001 12:42 PM
after ~10+ at 1-2 packs per day (mostly 1.5 packs/day), lights and regulars, filtered. menthol, non-menthol, whatever. have to smoke menthol with malt likka, though. it's a must.

first couple years i experienced many problems with breathing and other sports-related handicaps, but not sure if that was related to being 60 lb overweight, not exercising for 10+ years, or smoking like a chimney. now i'm only 20 pounds overweight (6'2" 195) and drink water like a fish, watch closely what i eat and exercise 4-6 days per week.

when i quit smoking i lost a few pounds, gained it back, then lost 40 pounds over the winter 2-3 years into my cessation. i'm still drinking (drink now more than when i smoked), but i'm able to turn it on and off.

and--i take offense to the crutch analogy--tobacco, yes. drugs, i used 'em in the (distant) past for true recreation. alcohol? it's what keeps me from going all woody-harrelson-from-natural-born-killers or nicholas-cage-from-wild-at-heart.
hate itDog
Nov 16, 2001 1:17 PM
As you may have guessed, I hate tobacco and everything there is to do with it.

It is the most inane habit I can imagine. Put some dried leaves in a piece of paper, stick it in your mouth, light it, and inhale the smoke. Huh?

You blow smoke out, and the darn things smolder and annoy anyone within 50 feet. I've even smelled the damn things in my car when sitting behind someone smoking in the car in front of me.

It prematurely kills people and makes lots of others sick. It smells up everything. It pollutes the air. It burns down houses and kills people. It causes car accidents. It causes birth problems. It harms those who don't even use it themselves. It burns down forests. I blows up people around flammables. Is there even ONE good thing about it?

We allow smoking, and yet spend a gazillion dollars a year trying to eliminate other forms of air pollution. Huh? I have never been bothered by any other form of air pollution, but people smoking around me gives me headaches, makes me sneeze, and smells up my cloths. Where is the logic?

Smoking prematurely killed my grandfather, grandmother, and great uncle (like a grandfather to me). The maybe had 20 years each cut from their lives, and experienced years of surgery and nasty treatments before they died. I blame tobacco.

Years ago, people did not know better. I'll grant that. People thought that smoking "opened up their lungs." Sure, we've all made incorrect assumptions about products. But, for the last 40 years everyone has known better. For heaven's sake, stop it after you know it will kill you. Anyone born after 1960 has no excuse. I can remember since grade school being taught all about the nastiness of smoking, and seeing those nasty pictures of smoked up lungs.

Thankfully, you can now in California go to work, ride on trains, and go to restaurants and not be annoyed, even sickened, from having to breath the stuff. About time. Do whatever you want to yourself, but please don't invade my lungs, too.

I absolutely never would even consider dating anyone who smoked. If you have so little care for yourself, if you are that stupid, particularly if you'd do it around me, then I have little respect for you and your awful habit.

The last thing on earth our government should be in the business of is subsidizing tobacco. Let the damn farmers go bankrupt. They are making a horrible product.

If any other product came on the market in modern times, and had 1/10th the danger of tobacco, people would be outraged and the government would eliminate it in a matter of days. Look at artificial sweeteners.

I struggle with this one, being a libertarian. Basic libertarian ideology is to permit everyone to do what they want, as long as they don't harm others. One corrollary, though, it that people have the ability to make informed decisions. Still hard to make a libertarian argument, except to say go ahead, but you can't do it in public, and I ain't paying for your illnesses resulting from it. Made me think, also, about motorcycle helmet laws. One argument made for them is that society should not bear the cost of cleaning your brains off the road, or keeping you on life support for the rest of your life. Yet, we permit smoking. Huh?

I can see being young and getting sucked in to smoking by friend and marketing. Grow up and get a clue, though.

Thankfully, smoking is becoming very politically incorrect. About time.

"Mind if I smoke?" "Why, yes. Mind if I fart?"

devil's advocategtx
Nov 16, 2001 1:52 PM
Is tobacco good for the economy? What if there was no big tobacco? I suspect a lot of people's mutual funds would collapse. What if more people lived longer? I bet social security would collapse.

Seriously, though, I hate smoking, too. I know many people who struggle with the addiction. And it would be nice if Hollywood stopped glamorizing it so much so 15 year olds didn't think it was cool.
Nov 16, 2001 2:13 PM
it is nasty.

The helmet analogy is a good one. Illinois is a no-helmet state, and I'm amazed at all the men and women who go helmetless on I-94 on their way into Chicago at 70MPH. I wonder how much the state spends on caring for cleanup and subsidizing the handicapped. (Self inflicted handicap, as far as I see it)

I know somone who needed major lung surgery because of second-hand smoke. The details of her operation are gruesome, and I won't repeat them here. But it is a good example of the damage that smoking causes.

So why do we do it? Why does our government allow it? (These questions are more rhetorical than anything - why does the governement consider an Expedition a passenger vehicle, and not an F-350 pick up?)

I worked with a brilliant guy who recently moved to the US from India to attend grad school. He lived a clean life in India, and was totally sucked into the world of human vice shortly after arriving. He picked up the language faster than I can imagine anyone doing, but he also picked up drinking, smoking, and gaining weight in record time.

I'll never forget the day he showed up at the office with a pack of Marlboro lights in his hand and beamed "Look, I just started!" He was over two packs a day and had been an alcoholic (with ulcers) for over a year by the time he was fired.
Depends what kind of leavesRod
Nov 16, 2001 2:27 PM
Roll a marijuana joint, light up, and you get a completely different result.

I've no use for tobacco. I don't feel I can tell others not to use it. But I'd appreciate it if they didn't use it around me. I don't frequent bars much largely because the smoke bothers me so much.

I have no respect for our nation's "war on drugs." Marijuana is classified the same as heroin, yet tobacco is legal to grow, sell, and use. And we subsidize its production and encourage its export. We allow the sale of tobacco, but only with a warning that it's unhealthy. About as close as I could come to a definition of dumb-ass policy.

How about this? We can accomodate smokers and your libertarian values by permitting cigarette smoking, but only when connected to a catalytic converter.

Side note: I just returned from a trip to South America and every European traveler smokes. Could not find a cafe or restaraunt that was smoke-free. Oh, and no vehicle emission standards, talk about pollution that would affect you! It's nice to be home, breathing fresh air.


Depends what kind of leavesdustin
Nov 17, 2001 12:31 AM
marijuana should be legalized...too tired to go into the reasons.

but i will say that i've never smoked it, or eaten "brownies." i went through a bidis phase a couple months ago. dropped that. before that, about a year ago, i chewed Red Man Golden Blend. stopped that, too.
I didn't want to get beat up again.Kristin
Nov 16, 2001 3:44 PM
"Come on, you [insert explative here]! Are you afraid?"
"She doesn't know how to inhale!"
"I bet she does. Don't you?"
"Come on chicken."

So I finally succame to the pressure and took my first real drag. I nearly died and then smoked two whole cigarettes to spite them all. The cheers rose up and embraced me. I'd found new popularity! Well, for about 3 weeks, which is a lifetime to an 8th grader. I found my niche that day -- I became the rebellion!

Once aclaimated, I kinda liked smoking. The feeling of a long slow drag moving through my lungs. Soothing chemicals relaxing me. Feeling oh-so sophisticated. Closing my eyes and exhaling. And it suited my nervous tendancies--everyone with a cigarette figets. I really enjoyed smoking; but I slowly become aware of the risks.

At 20, quitting was the hardest thing I'd ever attempted. I will honestly say (scoff if you'd like) that I would not have got through it without Gods help... and very patient co-workers... and friends... and family. My first withdrawl symptom was adrenaline. My brain buzzed and the world spun by relentlessly for weeks. And the mood swings kicked in soon after. Only slowly did things improve. Day by day...week by week...month by month. Now eleven years smoke free and I can honestly say that I'm past it.

The kicker: I believe I would be slender and fit today, had I never began smoking. I dropped out of sports when I was 17 for 2 reasons. 1) I had chronic bronchitis, and 2)Smoking was controlling my weight well enough. When I quit, I gained weight and was quite comfortable in my sedentary life-sytle.
re: TobaccoDINOSAUR
Nov 16, 2001 7:29 PM
I took up smoking in 1994 after abstaining for over 20 years. I had smoked off and on since high school. Back in the 50's and 60's everyone smoked. When I retired at the end of 1998 I quit cold turkey. More or less I had started to smoke out of pure bordom. I actually enjoyed smoking for the first couple of months, then it became a dirty habit. I started cycling again early '99 after laying off for about eight years. I think that smoking really held me back for the first couple of years. I can remember climbing hills and wheezing and thinking how dumb I was to have ever smoked. I'm happy to say that I'm nicotine free. The next thing to go was my love for micro beer and anything alcoholic. I think when people smoke they just give up. Smoking is like saying "I don't care about my health, screw it." Life is short enough the way it is, why poison yourself with drugs?
re: TobaccoMe Dot Org
Nov 16, 2001 11:38 PM
Ammonia is used in cigarettes to get it into your bloodstream quicker.

If you saw the movie "The Insider" you saw tobacco companies refer to cigarettes as a "nicotine delivery system".

That part was true. Tobacco companies have tried to genetically modify tobacco so that it contains more nicotine, and combine it with other chemicals (i.e., ammonia) so that it is delivered to the bloodstream more rapidly.

Tobacco companies are drug companies. It just happens to be legal, and Big Tobacco is Big Business, with a very strong political consituency. How many years has the U.S. funded anti-smoking programs at the same time it gave subsidies to tobacco farmers?

Now that tobacco has become less fashionable stateside, efforts are underway to expand foreign markets, primarily in Asia.

I smoked for over 30 years. I quit 18 months ago. I had tried quitting several times, but had always gone back. I was really afraid of the withdrawal.

I used Nicoderm patches, and it made it a LOT easier than I remembered. I quit on vacation with 2 families, and did all the dishes, the laundry, kept busy...

The only thing is I go through boxes of sugar-free mints!
A few thoughtsCliff Oates
Nov 17, 2001 8:38 AM
I guess I've been lucky, in a way. I smoked too, for 27 years and I've been quit for 28 months now. I resumed bicycling a few weeks into my quit and it is probably one of the key factors in my successful quit. My lungs don't seem to have suffered any permanent damage so far, but it'll be another 13 years before my statistical risks of cancer approach those of a non-smoker. I am grateful that cancer and heart disease do not run in my family, that means that removing an environmental cause from my life will go a long way towards prolonging it. Living in Northern California, my lung power gets tested by significant hills (or mountains, depending on the route) on nearly every ride and those hills have gotten a lot easier with the passage of time and my training efforts.

I am personally free of the addiction. I am not tempted to slip or relapse -- I'm having too much fun to piss it away on smoking a butt. I have coworkers who smoke, and I try to be positive with them about quitting and the effects of quitting when it's appropriate. I wouldn't date a smoker, there's no smoking in or near my house or in my car, and I don't much like walking past all the smokers out in front of their offices on my way to and from work.

Most tobacco addicts pick up the addiction before their 18th birthday. The majority of smokers have one or more smoking parents. Tobacco is a very addictive product and it only takes a few cigarettes to develop an addiction. The tobacco companies do everything in their power to ensure their product will keep you a customer for life. Until relatively recently, tobacco cessation products were difficult to obtain, and they're still expensive. So if you're a smoking parent, the best thing you can do for your kids, and yourself of course, is to quit smoking. I began when I was 16, and my mother smoked. Smoking killed her, too: COPD resulting in heart failure.

I don't think the scorn I read in Doug's reply is called for and I think it is reflective of his lack of knowledge of addiction. Once you're addicted, you're in denial. It's not so simple to "grow up and get a clue" at that point. Your need for the drug overwhelms your knowledge that it is harming you. Smokers ARE drug addicts -- remember that. They're more presentable than the ones you see down on skid row, but they're still dependent on a chemical for their feeling of wellbeing. They need to be encouraged to quit. Shame won't work -- they already feel guilty that they can't quit and shaming them will just convince them that you're a jerk

At this point, society is obviously less accepting of smoking and smokers. Society is not making an effort to help people quit though. All those billions of dollars of tobacco settlement money are not going towards providing smoking cessation counseling and chemical aids to quitting. That money is largely being pissed away. We seem to have cultivated an attitude that smoking and smokers are bad, but by and large we seem to lack the will to do anything concrete to help them. That needs to change.
re: Tobaccosnapdragen
Nov 17, 2001 9:45 AM
I've been smoke free close to 10 years now. I understand Doug's scorn completely - although I thought only ex-smokers got like that! I too can smell someone smoking in the car ahead, or even outside their house, down the block from me. Like Kristin, I started "to be cool", soon became a true addict. Thank God I never tried cocaine - I'd be dead. True addictive personality.

Any ex-smokers out there still dream about it? Then panic 'cause you are afraid you can't quit again?

re: TobaccoAndrew
Nov 17, 2001 10:48 AM
I started smoking in college. I was working a job where the only way a person could get a break was by smoking a cigarette. I wish I had never started. I am still smoking, but am preparing to quit permanently. I tried before but I had just graduated, didn't have a job, and had/have a wife to support. That was not the right time for me. Now that I have a job, and a new house I am preparing to quit for good. It is more than a bad habit, and a health risk. It is an addiction. Yes, it is stupid to start in the first place, but after that you are pretty much along for the ride. You can't just decide to quit unless your mind is really ready for it. I have set my quit date for December 1. I have been preparing myself mentally for that day. I will be asking for your support as I work on my quit. It won't be easy, but I am determined to kick this habit. My wife is supporting me. She said that the money I save on cigarettes is mine to spend on anything that I want. I ask all of you ex-smokers to give me some tips to make my quit go easier.

Quitnet.comCliff Oates
Nov 17, 2001 11:37 AM
There's a website called
Keep posting!nova
Nov 17, 2001 1:59 PM
I'm surprised at how many people who post here are former smokers. I think that you will find some support here if you inform us of your progress.

A pack of cigs runs what, about $4 these days? Let's say that you are smoking around 6 packs per week. That is $24 saved every week. That is over $1200 per year in savings.

I'm eyeing a new frame that costs around that much!

Good for you. More power to you.
Keep posting!snapdragen
Nov 17, 2001 6:38 PM
Besides using the nicotine patch, I put the money I would have spent on cigarettes in a piggy bank. Saved up quite a nice bit of change - bought new luggage and went to Alaska.
Keep posting!Jon
Nov 17, 2001 6:56 PM
I can really relate to Janet's comments. At the age of 42 I quit a 2 1/2 pack per day habit. Shortly
thereafter my right lung collapsed twice in two weeks and I ended up on the operating room table. The
surgeon diagnosed me with emphysema and cautioned against strenuous exercise for fear my
lung would collapse again. Three other doctors concurred. I decided I would either regain my
health or die, so started running (100 yds. first try! then eventually marathons), weight training, and
eventually cycling. Fifteen years later my lung function is apparently restored. I've ridden many, many
centuries and am starting to race. I've had to work uncommonly hard, but the results are more than worth
the effort.

Withdrawal was severe. Sweats, dizziness, shakes, etc. for months. And the dreaming! I would
wake up in the middle of the night, sweating, tears running down my face because I had started
smoking again. After 15 years I still remember the occasional "smoking" dream. Doug, if you
understood the power of addiction (you should, you're an exercise addict!) you might soften your
attitude just a bit. However, Descartes was right about one thing. We're all gifted with free will.
So, as the Nike ad says, "Just Do It"! I did. And if I did, anybody can.
I wish my dad could have read this 15 years ago.9WorCP
Nov 18, 2001 9:14 AM
Two to three packs/day since he was 20. He's retired but his health is shot. Can only walk short distances before he's out of breath. He's depressed, alienated (every one of his fiends have quit) and still smoking cigarette after cigarette. Really, just feeling doomed and waiting to die. We tried forever to get him to stop but each time he quit he ended up practicly hallucinating from the intense withdrawals. He'd turn into such a awful tyrant my mom would just as soon have him smoke than deal w/ his angry frustrated moods. It's just too bad because he's really a super nice guy with a lot of friends plus he's worked hard his whole life. He deserves to enjoy his retirement but he can't because he's trapped in this depleted body of his.

I'm glad you got free of this awful product and got your health back. It's a wonderful testimony that it's never to late. Thanks for sharing. Your family has alot to be grateful for.
The only thing I could tell your dad is...Me Dot Org
Nov 18, 2001 11:28 AM
...if he's never tried to quit using a Nicoderm patch, it helps (at least it did for me). Keep busy. Suck mints. Do something with your hands because you have the psychological addiction to deal with. At least with a patch, your body isn't having to deal with a total loss of nicotine all at once. You can step down, relatively painlessly.
I, too, am a former smoker4bykn
Nov 18, 2001 12:42 PM
You know, it was the cool thing to do in high school. I had smoked for about 4 years when my new girlfriend bet me $20 I couldnt quit. Twenty bucks was real money (for me) in 1979. I quit, married her, had some kids. Glad I did all three.
re: Tobacconotgonnadoit
Nov 19, 2001 5:32 PM
I haved smoked cigs, marajuana, cocaine, {insert any other smokeable substance}. Of all the drugs I have done, tobacco was the hardest to quit. It was hard, but anyone can quit, it just takes extreme will power and motivation. If you can't quit, I consider you a weak minded selfish piece of ash.

Nov 30, 2001 9:32 AM
Cold turkey is the only way...former pack a day smoker and tobacco chewer of about 10 yrs...when i think of how stupid it was to keep smoking i cringe. Hopefully I stopped in time to reverse any big damage.