Confessions of A Smoker

A recent visit to a new health care provider resulted in another in-depth look at my smoking habit.

Well trained in Aware and Conscious Living, I am excellent at analyzing my motivations for my various behaviors.

Sometimes, these motivations are examined when I’m confronted by Ardent Non-Smokers.

Other times, these thoughts are visited when I’m questioning the validity of my stated, “I want to be healthy” goals.

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Motivation 1 – I like to smoke and I’m not convinced that tobacco, in and of itself is the demon it’s portrayed to be.

As the daughter of a smoker and the granddaughter of a tobacco farmer from Kentucky, I was raised in an environment that was rather tobacco friendly.

Long after I had started, I was informed by grandpa, “If you are going to smoke, then buy directly from the farmer and roll your own.  Do you know what they are putting in cigarettes these days?”  (my memory can only retrieve ‘fiberglass’ as one of the listed toxins…)

My dad quit in his later years.   I sat by his side while he fought his final battle against the enemies of COPD,  lung and brain cancer.

On the flip side, I also assisted in the care of an elderly man with 1/4 of one lung left, during my CNA career days.   He never smoked.   He did drive a coal truck for 30 years….

I’m also aware, now, that Dad was exposed to the evils of Asbestos.   Current law firm commercials tell me I may be entitled to compensation if my loved one worked in the plumbing, heating or air conditioning industry AND  was diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma.   As a close family member, I may have been exposed too, according to ambulance chasers.

I can guarantee you I won’t get any compensation – I brought all my woes upon myself by daring to be a smoker.

Tobacco companies that used fillers to maximize profits and additives guaranteed to keep me craving their product are off the hook.  A nationwide campaign of The Evils of Smoking means I can’t claim ignorance or blame my actions on others.

Those who made their fortunes off asbestos related products and services are also off the hook, even though the dangers of asbestos inhalation were known to First Century AD Greeks and Romans.

I’m certain I will be on my own when health issues appear.

Motivation #2 – I try to do my civic duty.

From old sources that cite actual tax revenue and projected tax revenue from tobacco products through 2002 (yes, eight years old) I find the number of…you ready?

9.053 billion…yes, not a typo, billion.

And this number is from 8 years prior to recent tax hikes.   Can’t even imagine how many zero’s are behind that figure now…

Quitting smoking now would directly contribute to our national debt woes.    If I and all my fellow tobacco enthusiasts quit tomorrow, what taxes will need to be raised in order to recover from that budget blow?   Property?  Gas?  Twinkies?  Diet Coke?

So get off our back – we have just as valid a point as those who cry, “I have to go to work.  Millions on Welfare are depending on me.”

Also, indoor smoking bans have greatly impacted my fellow friends and neighbors who earn their living in tip-supplemented endeavors.  (Casino dealers, waitresses, bartenders and slot techs.)

Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act negatively impacted local bar, restaurant and casino revenues, as well as contributing to un- and under-employment.  We also lost a lot of locally owned mom and pop establishments.

24-hour and raised stakes gambling legislation was not enough to recover the lost revenues.

Casino employees in the know inform me of substantive reduction in profitsharing checks, daily business, work hours and tips.

Seems those who like to drink and gamble, for the most part, like to smoke too.

From my own perspective after years of waitress duties, I’ll tell you – Smokers, on the whole, are better tippers.

Saavy casinos have built protected, heat lamp decorated, enclosed “You can take your drink with you” smoker areas.

Doesn’t help much.

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Hold on, I’m rolling a cigarette…..

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Okay, I’m back.

In all fairness, I will report on the opposition’s side.

“You should pay the taxes.   Because your health care is going to cost the country money.”

Ummm…no.  Remember the above?  I’m a smoker, and therefore, whatever I get, I deserve and there will be no cries to spend public funds to save me.

I also have a living will that states, “Hospice care workers are allowed to give me a massive overdose of morphine during their first visit to my house – should I be in such poor health I’m unable to contribute to society in any beneficial way.”

I know it will not be heeded, but hey, I did try…

I also shared with Hubby, during a recent bout of pneumonia, my observation that he had a gun and I knew where  a ‘back forty’ existed and really, right now, I’m thinking he should quit dilly-dallying around and put me out of my misery.

He didn’t take me up on my offer.   I think more because it’s illegal to do so, rather than any great love of my occasional cooking forays….

Thanks to him and his restraint, you are now reading my thoughts on the matter…

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“But you are infringing upon my health rights with your second hand smoke”

Concerned loved ones have for pointed out my blatant selfishness for years via this argument.

I’m not convinced my second hand smoke is more dangerous than them driving in rush hour traffic with their windows down, (conserving gas by not using air conditioning…)

Studies compiled and widely publicized regarding the dangers of Second Hand Smoke (SHS) contain some glaring issues

Number one, many of the persons studied to determine the effects of second hand smokers were, previously, smokers themselves.

Also, the term “meta analysis” is used in the EPA study of ’93.  My overview (and prejudiced) definition of meta analysis is:

“We didn’t actually do any studies of our own.   We just read a crap load of other studies, took their numbers and crammed them into a statistical trending software tool and now, share those results with you.”

I have huge issues with Statistical Evidence.   Mainly because I worked as a temp on a Department of Defense contract at one time.   I’ve seen the graphs created when additional funding is requested and those produced when operation efficiency is questioned.   Totally different “pretty pictures’…from the same data set…

Highly educated statisticians will tell you that eliminating data points that are anomalies is needed to give a true picture of what’s what.

My personal experience shows that human bias will determine what is an anomaly and what’s not…

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I’m also highly suspicious of the transitive property.   You know, If A=B and B=C then A=C?

Great for 7th grade math class.

Terrible for health studies on average citizens with so many variables they can never all be identified, even by conscientious, live-and-let-live researchers.

Let’s not forget the famous No-Salt campaign that led to many sodium-deficient deaths among our elderly population a few years back…

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“But it stinks!” non-smoker’s inform me.  Yes, I know it offends your nose.

Skunks, poor exhaust systems on factories and vehicles as well as heavy cologne offends mine.   The fragrance of many personal hygiene products gives me a sore throat and a sick headache.   Can you please be a responsible citizen and quit applying ‘smell-goody’ products?

And can we please put another animal on the endangered species list…?

(I’m just kidding.   I think skunks are pretty, and if the dogs and people in my neighborhood would quit scaring our local family, we could all sleep peacefully…)

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I also have had opportunity to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints regarding what really causes illness.

Crappy attitude and defective immune system, compliments of stress and malnutrition head the list of many a holistic provider’s  Top Ten.

So when someone I regularly see with McDonald’s bags,  feels the need to walk over to the designated Smoker’s Area (located across the road, over the canyon filled with snakes and up the hill that mimics Mt. Everest) and lecture me on how I’ve somehow become more socially unacceptable than the local pedophile, well, I wonder just how much ‘dis-ease’ they are responsible for in both them and those in their vocal vicinity.

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I just have to share my all-time-favorite story about the discrimination against smokers.

Years ago, I worked for a local law enforcement agency.  I was taking advantage of my legally protected break time and adjourning to the outside smoker’s area to engage in my dirty little habit with another threat to society, also known as a smoking co-worker.

As we prepared to remove our stinky selves to the back forty, another co-worker, with physical dimensions of 5’1″ and 300+ lbs, lectured us on the evil of our ways through a mouth full of gummy bears, which had just been shoved in from a hand buried deep in a container size that can only be purchased at your local bulk-buying club.

I replied, “Well, c’mon out and we’ll have a 100 yard dash.  Whoever wins is deemed the healthiest. I suspect you’ll have a heart attack before I do.”

25 minutes later…

(and 20 minutes since I returned to my work station and working endeavors…“smokers get more break-time” is another favorite whine of those who cubicle hop and gossip most of their workday.  As a compulsive addict, I also have strong perfectionist tendencies.   That makes me a more productive worker.)

…my boss appears.

Seems he needs to talk to me about workplace harassment issues.

I’m to follow him to his office for another lecture.

I advise him I’m more than happy to attend an arbitration meeting, paneled by 3rd party members to decide who, exactly, started the harassment….

To his credit, he stared at me silently for awhile, then turned around and returned to his duties regarding local safety and security.

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Most of my complaints regarding the tobacco debate has more to do with what’s socially acceptable and what’s harassment.

It is not socially condoned for me to approach a grossly overweight fellow citizen at the local Wendy’s and say, “Hey!  Shouldn’t you re-think your triple patty, super-sized meal?  I mean, c’mon now, you’re the reason my health insurance rates are so high.”

It is perfectly all right, however, for a 3-year old I don’t know to see me and say, “Look mommy.  There’s one of the bad people.”  To which her mother replies, “Yes, honey.  Smokers are Baaadddd….” without even blinking an eye.

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I also submit if cigarettes were really as dangerous as they are made out to be, wouldn’t they have been added to the list of ‘unsafe products’  (a few on that list are LSD, Ecstasy, Meth and ephedra.)

Small amounts of ephedra to restore balance to lung function after illness has been used for thousands of years.   Recent massive overdoses in an attempt to look like a super-model by some citizens has resulted in me not getting this herb in order to recover from pneumonia.

Medical Marijuana big business has made it’s debut here locally.   New business, new jobs.   Great….

This results in a local hydroponic store who carries the organic potting soil I’m trying to grow a native-to-the-west tobacco plant in…

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The powers that be learned their lesson from Prohibition.    Instead, this go around, they profit from my consumption all the while guaranteeing Freedom of Speech to those who are, in my opinion, guilty of violating the misdemeanor harassment statute that reads:

“any verbal or physical action whose sole purpose is to incite and inflame.”

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All in all, I have many motivations for smoking, but I’ve decided my main one is

Rebellion.

I’ve worked, paid taxes, fed my family and cut down on my gas consumption.   I try to take care of myself and do my part in not raising health insurance premiums by insisting on having tests run every 4 weeks to determine if I really am healthy.

I choose to care for myself at home instead of the hospital when I get pneumonia.

I use energy efficient light-bulbs, shop as locally as I can (in transition) and hold doors for my elders.

I faithfully use my turn signal, stay home on the couch or ride in the passenger seat when I overindulge and provide my kids both modern entertainment and valued history lessons.

I drop everything to help those I love with their traumas and tragedies and lock myself in my bedroom when I’m not fit for polite society.

I’ve been encouraged  to sue regarding lost loved ones because of known dangers and modern medicine malpractice.   I’ve chosen to work and support those who work for my livelihood instead.

I am sick and tired of being placed on the lowest rung of society.  I’m tired of being an acceptable target for the release of pent-up stress and rage by those who engage in their own unhealthy habits.

So there….

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8 thoughts on “Confessions of A Smoker”

  1. Pingback: Newbie Journal
  2. Sweet! Although I don’t know if I want to be regarded as “artsy,” as that may imply to some that I use a Mac.

    Like

        1. Why of course!

          Although that may identify you as an artsy-fartsy fan…

          But that’s okay, I’m fond of wearing what is labeled by one son as “hippy” clothes…..
          LOL

          Like

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