mellowtigger: (the more you know)
[personal profile] mellowtigger
The most common factor that I hear mentioned among all the reasons that people start smoking is the "cool factor".  People have the impression (reinforced via film and advertising) that smokers are tough, imposing, and rebellious.  People slowly committing suicide are not cool, okay?  To paraphrase one person I read on Facebook a few weeks ago:

"Oh, yeah, I smoke as a critique of social conformity too."

A recent study from Israel
collected some very interesting data about smokers.  They studied more than 20,000 recruits in the Israeli army, including some recruits who were brothers.  They found that the population of smokers had a lower I.Q. than the population of non-smokers.  That alone was fascinating news.  The most interesting tidbit (or so I believe) is this one:

"An analysis of brothers discordant for smoking found that smoking brothers had lower cognitive scores than non-smoking brothers (adjusted ES = 0.27; P = 0.014)."

So even when considering the impact of socioeconomic environment, the effect still remains.  They seem to be taking the theory that people with lower I.Q. scores will exercise poorer judgement about the long-term consequences of their actions, leading to the practice of smoking (among other high risk conditions like obesity and drug addiction).

"People with lower IQs are not only prone to addictions such as smoking," Prof. Weiser adds. "These same people are more likely to have obesity, nutrition and narcotics issues."

That idea seems reasonable.  I do wonder, however, if smoking ends up lowering mental acuity because of all the horrible chemicals that are included in cigarettes these days.  They can't be good for the brain.  When considering cigarette smoke and lower I.Q., which is the cause and which is the effect?  I'd want to see I.Q. tests done on young people, then followed up a decade later to see who has taken up smoking and who hasn't.  Has I.Q. lowered only after exposure to smoke?

anti-smoking campaign, 3 imagesI know that I've jokingly mentioned before (to [livejournal.com profile] dangerdhotrod and others) my theory that a former smoker would make a great boyfriend because of that oral fixation that they need to satisfy.  *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

I think I need to retire that joke.  Now that I've seen it used graphically, I can see just how crude and offensive it really is to make light of a deadly serious problem.

anti-smoking imageryAs The Advocate reports:

"A series of posters released Monday by the Non-Smokers' Rights Association each feature a male or female who appears to be in their late teens kneeling before a fully clothed adult male. A cigarette hangs from the teen's mouth, extending downward before seeming to disappear into the man's pants. The caption beneath the image reads "Smoking Means Being a Slave to Tobacco."

Um, yeah.  A serious and life-threatening addiction should not be made into an opportunity for a giggle.  The humor value of my joke is now gone.

I still dislike watching people slowly kill themselves by inhaling that garbage.  I can't quite imagine what I would feel while watching a boyfriend do something like that.  I still want to help people everywhere quit their addiction.  Curiosity (do smokers develop an irrepressible oral fixation?) still roams my thoughts, but it's no longer a laughing matter.

Date: 2010-04-06 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bitterlawngnome.livejournal.com
do smokers develop an irrepressible oral fixation?

I think in my case it worked the other way around.

Date: 2010-04-06 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bitterlawngnome.livejournal.com
hah

I should have said *which* other way.

the oral fixation preceded/conditioned the smoking.

Date: 2010-04-06 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pi3832.livejournal.com
do smokers develop an irrepressible oral fixation?

Not for me. However I have developed an overwhelming disdain for people who tag smoking as some kind of especially moronic behavior in a world of moronic behaviors.

I still dislike watching people slowly kill themselves by inhaling that garbage

How can you possible walk past a McDonald's without your head exploding?

Date: 2010-04-06 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chernovog.livejournal.com
My quit was enlightening, and the biggest lesson was that everyone's dealing with their own shit. My input is neither required, asked for, or helpful.

I quit smoking for the god-only-knows-nth time almost a year ago, with the specific goal of figuring out exactly what I was like without. It was clear after many successful but ultimately temporary quits that something deeper than addiction was going on. I had left any illusions of coolness behind. Was actually embarrassed by the habit.

Turns out I was self-medicating somewhat severe inattentive ADHD from the age of 18 onward. A long overdue diagnosis and some medication, and I haven't wanted a cigarette since. (or nicotine... i fed my addiction via nicotine lozenges for almost two years)

So yeah. I do try to stop myself from feeling snooty about my good choices. I just have to remind myself that if I start thinking someone else's issues are easily solved in my head, I'm full of it.

Date: 2010-04-06 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pi3832.livejournal.com
Interesting. I quite smoking 2 years ago. Last fall I was diagnosed ADD and am currently taking meds for it. One of the things I always liked about smoking was about how it made me more focused. Ha!

Personally, I still miss the social aspects of smoking. It's amazing how many people you meet when you're leaning against a wall having a smoke. Gads, there was a whole set of folks I made friends with while working at UC because I smoked. And consequently, my office AC got fixed first; my parking tickets got waived; I got an extra parking tag for my motorcycle; etcetcetc.

Date: 2010-04-07 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangerdhotrod.livejournal.com
The sort of ad you posted probably would have turned me on at that age.

All the witty kinds of anti-smoking campaigns like this always just pissed me off, but I guess maybe they're targeted at people who don't smoke but are at risk of starting.

I've quit myself now going on a few months. I don't like the smell of it anymore, though occasionally when I see someone smoking I really want to. I maintain for myself smoking was a way to temporarily check out of whatever I was doing and get myself somewhere else. It's not totally socially acceptable to be with a group of people and suddenly say "Hey all the sudden I want to get the fuck out of here, so I'm going to go do that for a bit then I'll be back". It has been in the past acceptable to step outside for a smoke. I also started smoking because it gave me a wicked buzz. I swear I never started because I thought it was cool. Mostly it was about stopping whatever I was doing and thinking about something else for awhile.

I think it's kind of sad that smoking is associated with low IQ, damn! I don't think of myself as that stupid. But I quit so maybe I'm not so stupid after all.

Date: 2010-04-09 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chernovog.livejournal.com
Occasionally, when it's the right cigarette smoke, in the right concentration, on the right breeze, it evokes the old comfortable "ahhh" feeling. Not nearly as torturous as you might think. Kind of soothing in a way. As in, "Oh there were a handful of truly enjoyable cigarettes, and I enjoyed them. Moving on."

But 99% of the time, I cannot stand the smell.

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