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Natural Born Chainsmoker: Stuck in the wrong decade

Jan 31, 2011 - 3 comments

chain smoking


four packs a day




Lung Cancer

Although I think Im way too driven and neurotic about most things, I kinda think I should have been born in the 40s or 50s, at least when it comes to things like smoking. Right now, Im attempting to "quit or cut back" on my three to three to four pack a day cigarette habit, mainly because its causing me alot of grief at work; but not really because I have some overwhelming desire to quit.

Truth is, and I will be the first to admit it, I love smoking and dont really want to quit my three to four pack a day habit. I should have been born in a time when smoking was allowed almost everywhere in America, and I could have smoked all I wanted to whether at my desk at work, or in any restaruant or bar, or at almost any other social occasion. Even though I sometimes have a love/hate relationship with my cigarettes, I mainly hate that I am sometimes treated like a second class citizen just because I am a smoker and always want to be one.

I understand that other people have health concerns, many of which are entirely legitimate, but it doesnt mean I should be deprived of my right to smoke if I choose to. I dont want to get into a huge smokers rights argument with people - not because I dont think there are valid points - obviously, this is a health board, and obviously I agree that there are very legitimate concerns with the health effects of smoking. I can even go so far as to recognize that I have probably already caused permanent irreversable lung damage to myself, which may result in me having a higher risk of emphesyma, COPD or lung cancer, and even though that knowledge is frightening, it doesnt completely stop my desperate cravings and need for cigarettes.

Rather than try to cut through that morass of issues regarding the nature of a seriously addicted nicotine queen, Id prefer instead to just say that I wish I had been born in the 40s or 50s, when there wasnt anywhere near the level of societal discrimination against smokers that there is today. While there was certianly alot of other discrimination back then, such as against women, minorities, and people of different sexualities, all of which is way worse than cigarette smoker discrimination; at least I would be able to smoke my cigarette without ugly stares from everyone.

Especially since cigarette prices and taxes were far lower back then than they are these days, I can only imagine how truly out of hand my chain smoking might get then. Today, since Ive gotten up, Ive almost finished two packs of cigarettes: starting with my usual six or seven cigarettes I smoke before I leave for work, then another four or five smoking in my car on the way to work, then taking several smoke breaks while at work in the morning with an average of two to three each break often finishing my first pack of the day just before lunch, then lunch break at a restrauant with an outdoor smoking patio where I usually smoke another six or seven cigarettes out of the second pack, then several more smoke breaks throughout the afternoon, before finishing the last four or five cigarettes of the second pack on my way home from work. This typically results in me smoking my third pack when I get back home, over the course of several hours both before dinner and afterwards, and depending on how keyed up I am, I frequently find myself needing to open up a fourth pack of cigarettes later in the evening, and smoking upto half a pack of those, sometimes more, before I go to bed. I know that three to four packs a day is way too many, and doubtlessly ruining my lungs, but Im just so addicted and love it too much to want to give it up.

I just sometimes imagine what it'd be like if I worked at a place where I might be allowed to smoke right at my desk all day long, and no one would criticize me or belittle me or make fun of me and give me anxiety issues, just because I feel the need to have a lit cigarette in my hand all the time. I bet that not only would I be more productive at work, but that I would be happier at my job as well if I didnt feel the need to go downstairs and slip out for constant smoke breaks almost every hour or so. I imagine Id probably find myself smoking twice as much, at least during normal work hours, and that instead of smoking two or three cigarettes an hour on every break, I'd probably be wanting to smoke five or six cigarettes an hour, like I often times do on nights and weekends. I imagine it wouldnt be too long living in that 50s or 60s Mad Men like world, smoking five or six cigarettes an hour, and instead of just smoking three or maybe four packs a day, Id probably routinely smoke at least four or five packs a day.

Five packs a day, I cant even imagine it now, but I've heard stories of people who really did used to smoke that much. Of course alot of them probably died too young from lung disease, maybe in their forties or fifties, and that such a fate could likely befall me too; but their addictions then are not so different than my own now, and at least they didnt have to feel like social outcasts at work, or at a date, or anywhere else they may want to go.

Alas, it was not my lot in life to find myself born in that time when smoking was tolerated everywhere. Instead I find myself hoping that one day, I may be able to manage to get my smoking down to only two packs a day or so, so that I will not find myself absolutely obsessed with needing to smoke another cigarette while at work. But for now, I havent found that strength, and instead I find that I keep giving in to my delightful addiction, and find myself needing to open that third pack of cigarettes every day, and feeling guilty that I might have been born in the wrong time.