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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm A Quitter!

I started smoking almost seventeen years ago. This New Year's Day, I applied my brand-new, on-sale, store-brand nicotine patch and placed myself on the merry road to healthier living. Now on Day Six of my smoke-free life, I have to say that breathing freely is extremely satisfying. (I could have cheerfully murdered someone for a cigarette, however, the night my car got a flat tire!) I was delighted to discover the following smoking nugget in Cat Flaps and Mousetraps: The Origins of Objects in our Daily Lives.
The first observations of smoking were made in 1492 by Rodrigo de Jerez while on Christopher Columbus's expedition to the Americas. To him, natives appeared to be drinking smoke from something shaped like a 'musket formed of paper'. Rodrigo indulged in a puff or two of tobacco that had been wrapped in palm. However, when he returned to Spain he was imprisoned for having scared people with the smoke that poured from his nose and mouth! He served a seven-year sentence, and when he got out of jail smoking pipes and cigars had become common in Spain (5).
You must admit that having to smoke outside because of restaurant bans is nothing compared to seven years in the slammer!

Learning to live without an addiction is certainly difficult. One of our faithful readers left this thoughtful advice as a response to my last post:
Elisabeth, in your effort in quitting I recommend you call the Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-Quit Now. My wife is a counselor over there and using a program like theirs (or some others) is statistically shown to really help improve the odds of quitting effectively. -BSquared
The Tobacco Quit Line in Mississippi is an excellent smoking cessation tool. Be sure to visit their website to learn more about the hazards of smoking and how to implement a program that will work for you. I must admit that my favorite nugget on their website is the list of chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

So informative yet frightening to learn that I've been adding gas chamber poison to the environment!

Another comment appears to have been written by a staunch smoking supporter:
Although the anti-smoking lobby has been highly successful at waging a jihad on those of us who continue to smoke, I believe the public has lost sight of some of the many advantages of smoking. Nicotine has been proven to boost short-term memory, and even more importantly, numerous medical studies indicate that smokers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Just Google it to verify. And for those of you who want to feel good about smoking despite its social taboo, I recommend watching the indisputable masterpiece Casablanca to see the proper ways to look cool while smoking. -Bandit
I've never been a huge fan of Casablanca, but I have always been partial to the way Rod Serling strode out at the beginnings of The Twilight Zone. With the utmost gravity, he would deliver a line or two, and then take a drag off his Viceroy in a move guaranteed to kill as many alveoli as possible. Very cool! Very sexy! As for the supposed positive effects attributed to smoking, I invite you to read a list of short and long term (detrimental) effects of of smoking on My short-term memory is starting to suffer, but my sense of smell has already begun to improve. I can smell all you smokers now!

I think Bandit would appreciate this lovely sentiment expressed by Fran Lebowitz in Drinking, Smoking & Screwing: "Smoking is, if not my life, then at least my hobby. I love to smoke. Smoking is fun. Smoking is cool" (192).

I miss you smoking, I do, but I think I miss my alveoli more!
Nickles, Sara. Drinking, Smoking & Screwing: Great Writers on Good Times. Chronicle Books, 1994.
Oliver, Harry. Cat Flaps and Mousetraps: The Origins of Objects in our Daily Lives. Metro Publishing, 2007.

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