As an ex-smoker, I know the pain of listening to lectures by preachy non-smokers who quote the same statistics. What they don’t realize is that health-related hazards aren’t very compelling reasons to quit for many smokers. After all, smoking is a lifestyle choice that favours instant gratification over long-term consequences. Yet many smokers claim they are in the midst of quitting — something they’ll often tell you (ironically) in between drags.
The following is a list of day-to-day practical benefits for smokers trying to kick the habit. And for the die-hard smoker (no pun intended), I hope you’ll find this more compelling and less preachy than those uninspired “Quit Smoking Now” brochures.
Perhaps the most obvious disadvantage of smoking is the cost. Think about the money that is spent weekly on cigarettes. Since it’s an addictive habit, packs of cigarettes become a routine sunk cost. What about the other places all those funds could go? For the price of a pack of smokes, you can easily buy something else. Like a 6-pack, or a dime bag (if that’s your thing).
2. BAD TASTE AND SMELL
Cigarettes taste and smell terrible. There are no cigarette flavoured jelly beans for a reason; you can imagine how it’d taste for anyone who has to kiss you. The pungent stink of cigarettes also lingers on your breath, your clothes and your hands. Good luck trying to hide it from your concerned parents or nagging partner.
3. SOCIAL STIGMA
Smokers face constant discrimination. With signs telling you where you can and can’t be and people shooting condescending looks as you pass, it’s almost like being a minority in the 1950s. Except nobody’s protesting for smoker’s rights.
4. LOSS OF APPETITE
Smoking can have the effect of curbing your appetite. Smokers often spend more time staring at their food than eating it, leaving many meals unfinished. The “cigarette diet” might be a great way to lose weight, but so is eating properly and exercising regularly. I would go with the more “delicious” dieting option.
5. ALTERNATIVES EXIST!
There are other ways to achieve the benefits you may . find in smoking cigarettes. For keeping you awake and alert, there’s coffee. For keeping your “beer buzz” going, there’s more beer. For looking like you don’t give a crap, there are kitty-cat facial tattoos. And on breaks at work when you’d normally go out for a smoke, you can step outside for fresh air… and actually get fresh air!
6. LOWER ENDURANCE
With smoker’s lungs, running for prolonged periods becomes problematic. Even trying to catch a bus could leave you feeling like you’ve completed a half-marathon. A smoker might be thinking “it’s not like I’ll be in any track events”. But just imagine the next time you chase after an ice cream truck and a chubby 10 year old bolts past you while you’re hunched over, panting like an asthmatic dog. Not a very pretty picture, right?
7. STAINED TEETH
Aside from the yellowish colour that could detract from an otherwise brilliant smile, the fact that cigarettes make your teeth stain more easily can be a massive inconvenience. For one, you have to be more aware of every flavour of slushie/soft drink/candy you consume. Coloured options, like blue raspberry, are obviously out of the question. That severely limits you to bland flavours like Coke and 7-Up – unless you don’t mind walking around with blue teeth like you just devoured a Smurf.
8. FIRST DEGREE BURNS
If you’re a long-time smoker and you’ve never once burned your clothes, yourself or a friend with the live end of a cigarette, you have more grace than a figure skating Pope. Otherwise, cigarettes are a common source of first degree burns. As a cigarette wielding individual, you are a constant source of danger to yourself. And to others too of course.
9. BRAGGING RIGHTS
You get to say “I quit smoking”. Feels pretty good to say, right? It speaks highly of your willpower. Being able to say “I used to smoke” affords you both the nonchalant charisma of a smoker and the unwavering willpower of a non-smoker. It’s the best of both worlds. And if you can lay off cigarettes, you can also hypothetically quit snorting cocaine and hitting heroin— or so the internet says. Please don’t test it!
10. CHARITY AND SMOKER’S KARMA
You will no longer be stopped on the streets by others looking to “bum a cigarette” because they see you’ve got one lit up in your hand. The unwritten law of smoker’s karma will no longer apply to you, and you won’t find yourself subject to those obligating eyes and outstretched hands. Folks asking for spare change, however, are an entirely different matter.
11. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…
If you quit, you’ll never have to hear another person nag you about it! As if the disclaimers showing you cancerous lungs on every pack weren’t enough, you can finally silence those “caring friends” that probably sound more like preachy parrots to you. Isn’t that a relief? Your chronic alcoholism on the other hand… well that’s an article for another time.