Why people smoke

Yesterday, Nisakiman suggested I Google "smoking causes".

Well, to be pedantic I StartPaged it, and the screen filled to full capacity and flowed out the door into the garden.  There is enough material there to fill Trinity Library.

Trinity LibraryThe Library of Diseases Caused by Smoking

One of the links did catch my eye however as it was slightly different from the rest-

Why People Smoke.

OK, we'll skip the usual intro about addictions and habits and move on to the meaty stuff –

Three of the main reasons that young people smoke are to look mature, to be like their friends, and to experiment. Since teens see older people all around them smoking, especially their parents and relatives, they smoke to act older. If their friends or peers smoke, they may feel pressured into doing the same to be accepted. The last reason is the excitement of experimenting with something that is forbidden. In Massachusetts it is against the law for anyone under 18 years old to smoke. Usually parents do not allow their under age teens to smoke. Therefore, smoking becomes very attractive. It is exciting to get cigarettes and sneak away to smoke without being caught.

To be honest, I can't find a single flaw in that.  Forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest and all that crap.  However, I notice there is one tiny bit they left out.  Where is there mention of advertising being aimed at kids?  No mention of attractive packaging?  Not a word about seeing someone in a film smoking?

Maybe the Tobacco Industry is pro-smoking after all?  First of all they take smokers from their nice quiet offices, pubs, cafes and the like where in general cheeeldren aren't welcome, and bang them out on the street where every kid can see them having a good time?  And then of course they make smoking out to be ever more dangerous and therefore ever more alluring and tempting?  Nice one, Tobacco Control!

Then we move on to the adults –

Adults smoke for other reasons. They may have a lot of stress and pressures because of economic and personal problems. They may be unemployed or working but not making enough money to take care of themselves and their families. They may be homeless, or they may be dealing with alcohol or cocaine/heroin addictions. Some may be in bad marriages or relationships in which there is physical and/or verbal abuse. All these people may smoke to feel relaxed or to give them energy while going through a hard time.

In other words, smokers are life's failures.  We are unemployed, poor, homeless with crap marriages [and a drop of spouse-beating thrown in] who are addicted to alcohol, cocaine and heroin.  What a pretty picture?  The last sentence does almost pin the real reason though – All these people may smoke to feel relaxed or to give them energy while going through a hard time.  Indeed, Life can be a hard time at times, and a bit of relaxation is not a bad thing.  In fact Life is getting harder by the day for smokers, but we know who's to blame for that?  Tobacco Control promoting smoking again!

Whether young or old, some people smoke to control their weight. Smokers, on the average, weigh seven pounds less than non-smokers. Smoking reduces a person's appetite. It lessens his/her sense of taste and smell. This could be why ex-smokers gain weight after quitting cigarettes. Food tastes and smells so much better.

Hah!  Quit smoking and become obese?  Out of the frying pan into the fire?

Finally, there are people who say they love to smoke. Smoking gives them pleasure. It just makes them feel good.

At last we get to the point.  It took them a whole page and down to the very last [and by far the smallest] paragraph but they nail it almost in one.

Yes, smoking gives pleasure.  It is relaxing.  It aids concentration.  It smells and tastes good [speaking as a pipe smoker].  There is nothing quite like the pleasure of puffing gently on a pipe while scribbling a few idle thoughts, or sitting in the sun supping a mug of tea.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Giving up the fags

I wrote a little piece of whimsy a couple of days ago where they seemed to imply that smoking causes suicide.

It got me thinking.  We already know that smoking causes every disease known to man from Athletes Foot to Allopecia and including every known form of cancer and even a few unknown ones.  So I started to wonder what could be next on their list.

I confess I never thought that smoking could cause suicide as the latter isn't a disease or an ailment – it's an act which is slightly different.  So the Tobacco Control Industry is obviously moving into new territories which opens up a whole host of new possibilities.  What will be next on their list?

The answer came shortly afterwards when ASH started getting all excited about an article in the Sacramento Bee.

So there you have it folks – smoking causes homosexuality!

Or at least that was what ASH were implying.

They are going to have to be careful with this one, as the gay community tends to be a little precious when it comes to people talking about them, and when they discover that ASH are trying to merge one minority group in with another I imagine there will be a few squeals of protest?  Even worse, ASH are hinting that they are gay through their own actions and there is the implication that if they quit the fags [in all senses] that they will instantly become rampant heterosexuals.

I can't help but wonder what's going to be next? 

They can't blame terrorism on smoking as terrorists in the main don't smoke.  In fact ISIS [or whatever the fuck it’s called] has a hell of a lot in common with ASH.  Maybe they should merge?  Two groups of terrorists becoming one? 

They could have blamed the World Recession on smokers, but I think they missed that boat.  There have been a few mutterings that smokers are the root cause of Warble Gloaming, but I think when you combine two very hairy theories you end up with something so dubious even Tobacco Control won't put their name to it, which is unusual in the extreme. 

Maybe the uprising in Turkey and the police riots in the States are all down to filthy smokers?  I bet ASH are frantically doing their sums on that one.

There is indeed a plausible theory that smokers were behind the Brexit thing.  The EU has been treating smokers with contempt for many years and maybe the UK smokers got their own back.  ASH won't claim credit for that though as that would be antidemocratic, and we all know that ASH respects the will of the people.

At this stage it would be a lot easier to draw up a list of things that aren't caused by smoking.

That list would be a mighty small list.

And it's growing shorter by the day.

Correlation is not causation

Is there a connection between smoking and suicide?

Off the top of my head I would imagine that there could be a tenuous relationship.  After all, a person contemplating topping himself  is pretty likely to be somewhat depressed, and a fag at a time like that can be a moment of temporary relief.  So yes, I would say that there could be a remote link.

I would also say so what?  Tackle the depression and forget about the cigarettes, they are a mere incidental to the main problem.  Depression is a real and serious problem with more people killing themselves here in Ireland than die in road accidents.  To even mention cigarettes in the same breath is a sign of a disgusting twisted mind.

Of course the bovine masses out there who have sucked up all the crap from the Tobacco Control Industry are all convinced that cigarettes are a quick way to death anyway, so not only are we all destined for imminent departure but we are killing everyone who comes within half a mile of us.  They fail to grasp the simple and obvious fact that the entire human race would have been obliterated last century, but then simpletons tend to believe what they are told rather than believe the evidence of their own eyes.

So why do I mention this?  Surely there isn't anyone sick or twisted enough to actually think that cigarettes are a cause of suicide?

Oh, but there is.

There is sufficient evidence that smoking is associated with an increased risk of suicidal behaviors. Therefore, smoking is a contributing factor for suicide.

They go on to agree that this doesn't imply causation, but then ignore the fact in the same sentence.

Although this association does not imply causation, however, smoking prevention and cessation should be the target of suicide prevention programs.

How sick are these people?  Do they really believe their own shit or have they completely divorced themselves from reality?

"Now John, I know life is desperate at the moment.  I know you've lost your job with no hope of another, and that your wife has run off with the kids and the bank is repossessing your house.  But look on the bright side – I'm going to tell you to quit smoking!"

"Here's a prescription for Champix."