Disregard the Surgeon General

Step, step, drag. . . step, step drag. . . step, step drag. . .

No this is not the rhythm to a dance, this was the rhythm to the woman walking in front of me today continuously smoking her cigarette. It made me chuckle while simultaneously shaking my head in disgust that she must smoke AT LEAST one pack a day if she continues that rhythm for the whole day.

Yet she is just one example of what seems to be happening with everyone around me. Since when was it again ‘Cool’ to smoke cigarettes? I see it everywhere, from people of every age, and an astounding number of my generation. Correct me if I’m wrong, but for those of us in the 20-35 age group, did we not have the fight against Joe Camel? I distinctly remember entering a poster making contest in elementary school about putting Joe Camel in jail! Are we not the generation that has grown up with more anti-tobacco adverts than ever!? And yet now it’s OK to smoke!?

I had friends in college who started smoking, claiming they only smoked, ‘when I’m drunk’, and that they weren’t actually addicted – they could quit whenever they want. . . I’m pretty sure this habit has extended post-drinking – sure you’re not addicted?

I must hear or see at least five commercials or adverts on smoking and it’s dangers a day. The havoc it reeks on your body is tremendous (trust me, I’ve seen the lungs in a cadaver lab) and no dopamine high is worth it. So why then is EVERYBODY doing it? You can make as many excuses as you want – tell me it’s only when you’re stressed, that you’re just doing it to lose weight, blah, blah, blah – none of them are good or legitimate excuses.

Now here I go making a ‘west coaster’ bias, but I swear I did not see that many people smoking out west. And no, I am not just referring to Utah (definitely an anomaly state), but to Washington State, California, Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, etc. Yet in my travels to Europe I have seen a ton of people smoking (especially in France and Italy) . It’s as though the farther east you go the more smokers you find.

I have seen smokers of all types. The fashionista with her DD in one hand, cigarette dangling gently from her other. The ‘badass’ with his pants so low he looks as though he has ridden a horse for the past five days straight, taking long drags to then blow out big billowing clouds. The mom (& nanny) smoking as they push along their little one (um, secondhand smoke issues?).  But my favorite has to be the women I have seen lighting up after walking out of the gym (or to it). I am fairly certain you have just canceled out any good you have done (or were going to do). Oh, and you look absolutely ridiculous trying to be ‘cool’ in your Lulu Lemon and likewise ‘cool’ with that puff of smoke around your head.

New York, I’m sorry, but I have finally found something to disenchant me a bit.


3 thoughts on “Disregard the Surgeon General

  1. Mountain Girl,

    I hear lots and lots of people say, “I can’t understand why people smoke” but these same people (and you fall into this category) are trying hard NOT to understand.

    Understanding is different than judging. If you decide to judge you won’t ever be able to understand. For example, you say, “The havoc [smoking] reeks on your body is tremendous (trust me, I’ve seen the lungs in a cadaver lab) and no dopamine high is worth it.”

    Where, exactly, does one go to properly establish the value of a “dopamine high”? Or the value of any of the other pleasurable aspects of smoking? You’re making a value judgment; which, of course, is a judgment.

    You don’t understand because you choose not to (we could try to figure out why you choose not to, but that would involve some investigation). If you really, really wanted to understand I’m sure you’d discover that your more than smart enough to be able to do so.


    Charon’s Aide

    • Dear Charon’s Aide,
      I have been thinking on how to respond to this in the best way. In a way, yes I am judging a person who smokes cigarettes, but I Judge because I don’t understand the logic (or lack thereof) in smoking.

      To properly establish a “dopamine high” naturally, I would look to many events; hiking, running, playing piano, cooking, sewing, laughing (the easiest dopamine high of them all) to receive this high. In my mind, there are no ‘pleasurable’ aspects of smoking when I have had people close to me die or have severe damage done to their bodies as a Direct result of smoking.

      While I have never smoked a cigarette, I have smoke cigars, marajuana and a pipe in the past. While I choose to not partake in any of that now, I would not say that I ignorantly choose not to understand (as you seem to imply). I don’t understand the choice of smoking because I have educated myself on its consequences and have found no reason to think it can be ‘pleasurable’ at all.

      Thank you for reading and for your comment!

      “Mountain Girl”

  2. “I Judge because I don’t understand the logic (or lack thereof) in smoking.”

    “I would not say that I ignorantly choose not to understand (as you seem to imply).”

    I can see that you took offense, and I apologize for that. I have no desire to hurt your feelings — or anyone’s — because hurt feelings are an obstacle to communication; and communication is what I’m all about!! 🙂

    In the first statement I quoted above, you explain that your judgment derives from your lack of understanding. You admit that you don’t understand the logic (or lack thereof) in smoking. Sounds to me, from that statement, that you and I are in perfect agreement as to where the problem lies.

    In the second you insist that you’re not being ‘ignorant’. You understood my implication correctly but, as I said, my intention wasn’t to be rude or hurtful. My hope was to offer help to someone who says she “doesn’t understand”. I imagine we’d both be happier if you could “understand.”

    My desire to clear something up for you seems to have come across as an attack on your ignorance. Again, I’m sorry for that. I have no interest in ‘attacking’ you for ignorance; my intention is to relieve you of it — just as I hope others will explain to me the things I don’t understand.

    Smoke’m Peace Pipe?

    All the best!

    Be Happy,
    Be Well,

    Charon’s Aide

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