To Smoke or Not to Smoke

It’s a cold turkey! Get it? Huh? Huh?

Spring came back and kicked Summer out for a few more days, and as I stood outside in the cool air this morning, drinking my vanilla nut coffee and trying to smoke one of my husband’s nasty menthol cigarettes, an interesting thought occurred to me.

You see, I quit smoking a little over 2 years ago, when I got pregnant with my daughter.  I had been wanting to quit for awhile, out of concern for my health mostly, and I had been smoking since I was about 14 or 15.  So I told myself I’d quit when I got pregnant.  Everyone says you can’t do it for someone else, you have to do it for yourself, but I felt like I could only do it for someone else, specifically, the new little someone in my belly.

So I finished out my pack and quit.   I’ll admit to anyone without even being asked that I “cheated” every once in a while (especially after phone conversations with my somewhat-estranged mother, who made my life essentially hell during my pregnancy, even from 800 miles away.)  And since I had the baby, I allow myself a smoke every now and again.  I don’t buy cigarettes anymore.  I don’t smoke everyday.  Most of the time when I do cheat, I end up chucking half the cigarette out.

Why do it at all?  Because I liked to smoke.  If there was some magical land where smoking was good for you, instead of terrible for you, I’d move there.  It was a bit ironic that the shortly after quitting smoking, we moved out to a state with one of the heaviest smoking populations in America.  You can still smoke indoors at a lot of places around here.

And since I had been smoking since my teenage years, it follows that I associated smoking with many good times in my life.  When we still lived in Maryland, but after smoking was banned in bars, I found that I could no longer enjoy a game of pool at the bar as much.  So I still have moments where I crave a cigarette, and I almost feel as if it’s a similar principal to dieting; basically, if I indulge every once in a while, it will keep me from an all out binge (in this case, returning to smoking full-time.)  You can call it rationalization if you like, but so far it’s worked.

Well…that coupled with the fact that, as I am not a “regular” smoker anymore, more often than not, a cigarette just makes me feel ill.  Even when they don’t, I’m often right in the bathroom after I smoke, washing my hands, my face, rinsing my mouth and even my sinuses to get rid of that “ashtray” smell that lingers there.

So, now I’ve come (in a roundabout and meandering fashion) to my actual point:

I find it amusing that, when people ask me if I am “still quit,” and I answer completely honestly and say “yeah, but I cheat every once in a while,” often what follows is a dismissive and/or self-righteous tone and the words “well, you haven’t really quit then.”

Conversely, if you talk to a smoker, maybe bumming a cigarette from them, you may get that same dismissive almost patronizing tone as they say some variation of  “you’re not a real smoker!”

As with most people in America, you just can’t win.  Someone always has something to say about what someone else is doing.  So I’m going to keep doing what I do, and saying what I say, and be content in the knowledge that it works for me for now.

One last thing before I relinquish your attention (hopefully you’re still reading as I blather on.)  I am an ex-smoker, and while it is harder for me to be indoors in heavily smoky rooms (the Bingo parlor- ACKK!) I respect the rights of people who choose to smoke.  I don’t think a parent should allow smoking in their home if they have children (children do not choose to accept the ill-effects of secondhand smoke) and I think non-smoking restaurants are a good idea, because even when I did smoke, I didn’t like to smell a lot smoke while I was eating.  But I am not one of those “born again” non-smokers who feels the need to piss in everyone else’s Cheerios just because I don’t smoke anymore.  The way the government and many other non-smoking individuals try to force the issue, cramming their agenda down smoker’s throats, really pisses me off, in fact.  I could probably write a whole separate article on the subject of how personal and civil rights in America are in a sudden, accelerated landslide right down the crapper, but I’ll just content myself with reiterating this simple sentiment:

I don’t expect what works for me to be right for everyone else.  It basically boils down to Just leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone.  Capish?

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12 responses to “To Smoke or Not to Smoke

  1. I am curious what you think about the MD bill to ban smoking in cars with kids under 8? Personally, I can’t believe people would even debate against it.

    BTW, I “quit” 6 years ago and I still have one once in a while. I had one last month because i was playing pool and drinking beer in a biker bar in alabama. How could I NOT have one? LOL. I think it’s fine as long as you are not re-triggering the addiction.

    The people who are the most judgmental are the ones who have the worst vices to hide. 😉

    • I have mixed emotions about that bill. I mean, on HCC campus, it’s already illegal to smoke in YOUR OWN CAR in their parking lot. This is the kind of stupid shit that I am against. However, with a child being in the car, it’s hard to say. I would argue smoking in a car with kids shouldn’t be done, but windows are usually rolled down and the car is usually moving. Plus, it seems a thin line because then you have people who can smoke in their car when no children are in there, but not when the kids ride in there, and it seems like it might be tricky to enforce, short of just being pulled over if the cop sees a kid in the car.

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  4. I’m a smoker. You can’t smoke indoors publicly anywhere in Ireland – with the possible exception of hotel rooms (but I could be wrong there). I dont mind – my hair and clothes dont stink and I only smoke in my own house in front of the fireplace, so up it goes. No kids, but hubby never smoked and I have pets so I don’t feel entitled enough to annoy/potentially hurt them. I think having one now and again reinforces the quitting, because yep, they taste nasty and the head rush is just weird. The reason I kept going back is out of self-pity. ‘What a horrible (fill in the blank)! I deserve a smoke.’ Bad idea 🙂 I’m shocked you can’t smoke in your own car, that is ridiculous.
    If all I had to beg was menthol I wouldn’t beg one…like schmokin’ a candy-cane… Blecch!

    • I can “tolerate” menthol, but his brand is so gross… Also, I can’t handle Kool or Salem… But, yeah, I’m not a menthol fan, but if I had to do Menthol, I’d probably go with the lightest thing I could find, like Marlboro Ultra Light Menthol. LOL Thanks for commenting, BTW. XD

  5. Kelly,

    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you!

    I smoke now. Occasionally. A lot. More than is necessarily. Okay, sometimes even pack-a-day. But I’m a sensible and responsible smoker. For example, If I walk by an outdoor cafe with a cigarette in hand and people are enjoying lunch, I cup and put it in the opposite hand and get as far away from them as possible. I don’t want to inconvenience others for what is otherwise an unpleasant habit.

    The whole idea of the smoking-with-a-child-in-the-car ban? Foolish. Not that it’s not a great idea, but its implementation and application is totally poor. One in a thousand times that people are smoking in the car with a less-than-eight-year-old child will they ever be pulled over. Conceptually, it’s a great idea, but there’s nothing the government can really do to enforce that universally without installing cameras and smoke sensors and baby-ejectors in the car. People will smoke with their kids in the car. When I squeeze an ugly-faced Rance-baby out of someone else’s vagina, I won’t smoke around it, but I can’t say the same for other adults.

    As for dickheads who tell me that smoking is disgusting, a poor choice, or unhealthy — guess what, asshole, I already know, so pull the stick out of your ass and beat a chicken with it.

    Thanks for speaking out for smokers, Kelly! And being the responsible (and kind) one about it! 😉

  6. Reblogged this on alienredqueen and commented:

    Annnnnd I’m a smoker again. I can no longer deny it. I have bought several packs of cigarettes and have started to feel the old “what if I run out of cigarettes” anxiety- which is exactly what I DIDN’T want to happen again. And I want to quit again. I really need to quit again. Which is stronger? The desire and/ or compulsion to smoke or the guilt and cognitive dissonance I feel by smoking (not to mention the fact that my sinuses get worse and I feel like I’m “dragging” a lot of the time)? The guilt I feel when my daughter sees me smoke and my fear that she will smoke one day?
    YEsterday I happened on a memorium for those public figures who died in 2012. After reading through those sixty-odd names and descriptions, something happened to me. Likely the same thing that always happens to me when I think to much about death (even the ones where the people lived to, like 95, and died naturally.) I get all nervous and anxious. I don’t handle death well. Not real death, not the concept of it or it’s inevitability, and especially not the whole “ceasing to exist” idea.
    Bottom line is, I may get hit by a bus tomorrow, or die of an aneurysm, but I’d like to not hasten my demise with cigarettes (although I maintain that if they we’re bad for you I certainly would keep smoking.) And I want to set a good example for my kid.
    So I decided to quit again.

    Just as soon as this pack is done.

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