I should quit. Bad for the gym.
But seriously, I just enjoy smoking. Does anything know what I'm talking about?
Yes. I used to feel significantly less awkward when I smoked socially. Something in your hands, the ritual, a good reason to bounce from a bad situation, etc.
However: it gives you cancer. Even if it doesn't give you cancer, it hurts your health very badly. Even the healthiest smokers I know have to cough for a good half hour in the morning. I don't know any non-smokers who have to do that as a matter of course.
I feel strongly negative about smoking, because you are paying a very large corporation for the privilege of hurting you (and, by proxy, those who love you) very deeply, so that you can have the pleasure of something to do with your hands. That's not a good trade. It's a very bad trade, actually.
This summer, I had planned to go to my New Yorker friend's birthday party in Brooklyn on a Saturday night. She, like any authentic New Yorker, smokes like a chimney, as do her friends. The Monday before that weekend, I got a call from a different friend (different circle of friends) that our friend, my freshman/sophomore year roommate in college, had passed away after a long but on-and-off struggle with cancer. Her funeral was scheduled for that Saturday. After a brief caucus with my fellow interns, we decided that it wasn't inappropriate to go to the funeral on Long Island during the day, and then go to Brooklyn for the party that night. So I did. Since it was a New York party, full of New Yorkers, there were cigarettes and smoke everywhere.
What I didn't anticipate was how deeply all the smoking would affect me. Really. It had never, ever occurred to me, even though I knew how much I dislike when the people I love smoke cigarettes. But I guess it was the context of the day, and how much my roommate fought, and planned for her future (med school, of course), only to have it taken away by something so totally beyond her control, and beyond her powers to affect, ultimately. The upshot was that she had wanted something, so much, she had tried for so long to achieve it and to hold onto it, and all the f-ing smokers in the party were throwing it away, really, just treating her great unachievable dream--good health--like it just did not matter.
And I was so furious, and so heartbroken, that people could be so cavalier, and could hurt the people that loved them, with something that other people would have given anything, anything, to have.
I slipped out, went and sat in the stairwell, and sobbed for half an hour. When my boyfriend finally found me, it took ten minutes before I calmed down enough to say anything other than "not fair."
Please don't smoke. Please recognize the gift you've been given. It's not worth a comforting ritual. She would have given anything to be healthy. Please don't treat her dream like it doesn't matter. www.fosterfoundation.com
ETA: I try not to blame smokers, as I understand the nature of addiction. But this one instance, I guess, overcame that. In any event, I strongly urge smokers to quit, but by and large try not to judge them for smoking. I guess we can all see that I am not always successful.