smoking

(this is another guest blog by my husband glenn, providing a bit of insight into the mind of a smoker)

My daughter’s class in school is going through a series of discussions/learning modules on the dangers of smoking, so she has been passing along some the things she’s learned to me, and has been asking some questions about my smoking habit.

I did some experimenting in high school with friends but didn’t start smoking regularly until I moved out of the house and went to college. Back then (1979) it was relaxing and a cool (not kewl) thing to do, especially as I was hanging around with wannabe musicians, and largely those of a jazz background.

Since then, I quit once for 3 weeks for allergy reasons, but otherwise have been pretty consistent with my 3-6 cigarettes a day habit. That’s somewhere between 45,000 to 50,000 cigarettes to date, I guess.

3-6 cigarettes a day is not a lot compared to most regular smokers, but I don’t know if that makes it any easier to quit.

There are various reasons why I would like to quit. Probably the biggest reason is that I don’t like things to have control over me; I want to think that I control them. I drink alcohol once or twice a month, so I think that I control that, but not having cigarettes in my possession can create waves of panic.

There are a lot of things that cigarettes do for me, a lot of reasons why I continue to smoke. In no particular order other than the order that they occurred to me:

* Nicotine high
* Nicotine addiction, or the craving for the high to return
* Reaction to / addiction to the other chemicals in cigarettes
* Relaxing feeling of slow inhale, and of the smoke going in
* Taste (sometimes I switch between American and Canadian cigarettes to make the taste more noticeable)
* Having little “friends” (my daughter has a Tamagochi; I have a wallet, keys, cigarettes, lighter, package)
* The act of smoking is an activity for the hands
* Something to do (uncomfortable social situations)
* Inhaling the smoke after having used the lungs (ie. after exercising, or after playing my saxophone)
* Something to do (boring situations, like driving)
* Something to do (anxious situations, like before a performance/presentation/interview)
* Oral fixation (something for the mouth to do)
* Pause in activities, more so now that smokers have to leave the room to smoke
* Smokescreen to hide behind, to get some separation from the rest of the world
* Still carries a tough / negative / rebellious image

Having created such a list, I suppose one could then look for substitutes or ways of avoiding or alternatively dealing with these issues. But my biggest problem is that, because of most of these reasons, I like to smoke. I just wish I could control it. Go a day, maybe a few days, or even a week without smoking and then smoke, and then stop again.

Maybe I should switch to cigars instead, but I don’t know if my family would approve of that kind of change.

3 thoughts on “smoking

  1. Dawn

    Maybe some ‘parts’ therapy might help you find the part of you that refuses to let you quit and why? There will be a reason, and that reason may well be outmoded now, and that part of you is stuck in that time warp whilst the rest of you has moved on?

  2. Dawn

    Maybe some ‘parts’ therapy might help you find the part of you that refuses to let you quit and why? There will be a reason, and that reason may well be outmoded now, and that part of you is stuck in that time warp whilst the rest of you has moved on?

  3. Glenn

    Hmmm, all the things listed keep me from quiting. Basically, I like to smoke. I only have a minimal interest in quitting, so the liking and the pleasure outweighs any interest in quitting.

    Not to say you are representing this, but people often seem to assume that smokers are undergoing some great battle between a great desire to quit but an inability on their part to do so. But sometimes the battle is not that great ’cause the interest in quitting is pretty small.

    I briefly thought about writing a section about reasons why I should quit, but they would be largely other people’s reasons that everyone assumes that have value for me, which may or may not be the case.

    If the smoker doesn’t feel that great desire to quit, there’s obviously something that needs fixing. That may be so, but it’s not a high priority for me. I’d rather read a book.

  4. Glenn

    Hmmm, all the things listed keep me from quiting. Basically, I like to smoke. I only have a minimal interest in quitting, so the liking and the pleasure outweighs any interest in quitting.

    Not to say you are representing this, but people often seem to assume that smokers are undergoing some great battle between a great desire to quit but an inability on their part to do so. But sometimes the battle is not that great ’cause the interest in quitting is pretty small.

    I briefly thought about writing a section about reasons why I should quit, but they would be largely other people’s reasons that everyone assumes that have value for me, which may or may not be the case.

    If the smoker doesn’t feel that great desire to quit, there’s obviously something that needs fixing. That may be so, but it’s not a high priority for me. I’d rather read a book.

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