To Smoke or Not to Smoke?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
A personal overview of smoking and just how weird it really is. Is everyone within their right to throw their arms up in horror and tell the world it's wrong?

Submitted: December 22, 2011

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Submitted: December 22, 2011

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It is a very inhuman and unnatural thing to smoke. Harming our innards seems to be no threat to us as we are blessed with a lack of x-ray vision and cannot actually see the damage we're doing to ourselves. I'd like to make specifically clear at this point that I am a smoker myself. Although, admitedly, since I came home for the holidays I have not had a single cigarette. That being around four or five days. As you can imagine there have been a fair few points where I've thought to myself 'Goddamn, I could use a cigarette'. Largely, having a smoke is a bordome thing or a time killer. Even if it's just walking to the bus stop or while I send a text to someone. However, I have not been going batshit loopy over an unwavering desire to once again fill my lungs with harmful smoke as many people giving up may impress upon you. So, for four or five days now I seem to have gone cold turkey and I am not loosing my mind despite how I've been quite bored. So I have to think if other people who are just using their addiction to cry out for attention like little teenage girls who got dumped and want to display their miseries to all on Facebook. So is bitching and moaning '....aaaahhhh I want a faaaaaaaaaaag' really a fair enough comment for people trying to give up or are they just being pathetic? And if the case is the latter of the two, is there any point in patches and nicotine gum? We all kind of wish we were as lucky as Keanu Reeves in Constantine to have some supernatural being replace our black crusted lungs with shiny new pink ones. Unfortunately, as much as one may dream, dreams will get us nowhere. It's the doing that gets us places.

Speaking of which, Britain was quite a doing nation back in its hayday. Of all the discoveries throughout the expansion of the British Empire, finding tobacco was probably the most long term profitable and un-healthy find of them all. The first sighting of smoking in England was in Bristol in 1556 by a sailor who, terrifyingly was 'emmiting smoke from his nostrils'. By 1600 tobacco was the 'golden weed' and when ignorance was bliss, the profits in trade seemed only to be a good thing. Although, I have to wonder; what was going through that Bristolian sailor's mind when he took those first few tokes? He'd never seen anyone do it before and onlookers must have thought him insane to be cosuming something that was completely useless to the body. I bet he coughed and spluttered, but he continued to smoke it until his lungs ceased to make him cough and splutter. Little did he know that the tar lining around his lungs and throat had developed so as not to feel the harsh cutting smoke. Maybe it was this scientific ignorance that led smoking from strength to strength in terms of industry. Pathetic and childish as it may seem, people took up smoking partly because it was something other than a snuff box, but mostly because of the same reason people start today. It looked cool. It was fashionable and despite all of taday's grizzly warnings and pictures of dissections on the backs of tobacco pouches, it still is. Alas, we do it for a while as a phase of depression or misguided sense of rebellion or adventure, but then before we know it we are addicted. Maybe it's the human weakness to tobacco that makes the industry so successful. Of all the things to repair the recession (nobody would like it) raising tax on tobacco imports would fix everything. The government could raise it as much as they like because people would still be addicted and even the poorest would still find money for their foul habit.

To think, explorers may have found civilisations that enjoyed chewing on sandstone rocks to get sharper teeth and taken it back home. I dare say that if that was somehow chemically addictive we'd still be doing it now. Tobacco just hapened to be the one everyone liked. Of course, Brazilian tribes were found drinking tea with Ioasca in, but that was a drug that proved too scary for us civilised folk. ContainingDimethyltryptamine (DMT), drinking this or indeed smoking it would lead to hallucinatory revelations and epiphanies that would supposedly give insights into ones soul. I know, deep stuff. Too deep I'd imagine for God fearing Christians to be dabbling with. So tobacco did nothing that physicallly or mentally changed us (as far as we could tell at the time anyway) so it was simply trendy and profitable. 

As I mentioned in 'Gohsts and the Mind' today's tobacco gives us cancer. We all know that. However, the research 'they' don't want you to know is that the chemicals put into our pouches and cartons to preserve the product and increase it 'sell-ability' are the things that give us cancer. Another tribe in Brazil was discovered to have shamans, smoking around five six foot long cigars per day! Not one member of the tribe in it's entire history was found to have died of lung cancer. These shamans beleived they were exhaling all the bad demons or sins that may have resided within them. 

So I haven't smoked for a while now and I thought to myself if there would be any noticeable changes. There couldn't be that much, right? Well, instead of walking the dog, I ran it. I remember franticly running to the bus stop and only getting a third of the way down the little lane that leads away from our home. This time, after only five days of tobacco abstinence, I got all the way to the end! I remember thinking how nice this was and how I could fully inhale, right into the depths of my poor lungs. Yes, I know this is starting to look like one of the ads that pops up on the sides of websites that encourage you to get penis enlarging pills. They say all sorts of crap like 'THIS STUFF REALLY WORKS' in a wobbley frantic box. Well in this case, it does. Not smoking for as little as five days will make a difference. 

However, this article is not a fitness advert that comes with a super long story to be thrown onto every healthy lifestyle site I can find. Also, I'm not trying to tell you all that 'smoking is very very bad and it's not cool and you shouldn't do it...like swearing', as if I were speaking to a ten year old. The truth is, in my opinion, it doesn't matter if we smoke or not. It's a personal choice that everyone makes for themselves. It's like a morbidly obese person going to the shops and buying a load of ice cream and cheesecake as opposed to salad. We're all adults and if any one of us chooses to live fast and die young, enjoying life in the process, I say thats better than living for a hundred years being a boring sod avoiding all the adventurous things. Instead of trying to fight time, make a marked effort to forget it, because it is then that you truly know you are enjoying life. Smoke cigarrettes, do drugs at college, go bungie jumping or cliff climbing, it doesn't matter. They are all dangerous and they all may be phases that we go through and I beleive phases that we need to further understand the world. 


© Copyright 2017 Nick Banks. All rights reserved.

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