For years, the media, “non-profit” organizations, and “helpful” friends and family have warned us that smoking is bad. While I do not necessarily say it’s good, I am not against it.
We all have vices – something habitual we enjoy doing. It may be eating, drinking alcohol, or even working out. The choice of vices is endless. Depending on perspective (and sometimes misinformation), some are some good, some bad.
However, whatever the vice, the choice is yours – not mine or what society thinks is acceptable.
While I have tried to start smoking (and I have tried more than once), I don’t smoke. Yet, I have many friends that do. So what, it doesn’t bother me. They can if they want. Personally, my vice is kratom.
The funny thing about all these stop-smoking campaigns is they forget one very crucial thing. Most people who smoke don’t want to quit and that’s ok. They don’t have to if they don’t want to.
In reality, I don’t think the stop smoking campaigns are aimed at people who smoke. They are aimed at people who don’t smoke.
The campaigns perpetuate the lie that smoking is uncontrollable. The lie that people are addicted and can’t help it.
How many times have you turned on the TV and saw an advertisement featuring some poor sap (a paid actor) addicted to a tobacco product that was destroying his health and family? Of course, that all changes when he discovers the miracle drug Chantix. This drug, which has more side effects and adverse reactions worse than smoking itself, saved his life.
By sending the message to non-smokers that smokers can’t help what they do, non-smokers can openly shun and criticize them. Meaning, smokers are somehow victims that don’t care about others and non-smokers need to remind them what terrible people they are.
In actuality, smokers are more conscientious of others than most people I have met. They make sure to move away from non-smokers and children when they light up. Often they feel guilty because they smoke since society has villainized them for a vice that was completely acceptable and normal for most of human existence.
Interestingly, I found some studies published in the medical journal Lancet that showed poor diet causes more early deaths than smoking. According to one study, smoking caused 12.5 percent of early deaths, while junk food and toxic ingredients caused 20 percent of early deaths worldwide. If that is true then the long-term adverse health effects of smoking are less than the negative health consequences of obesity.
In some strange way, if smoking keeps you from eating junk food, then that is the healthier alternative. I suppose, with that logic, having a smoking habit is a better choice than having a junk food eating habit.
So, eating processed, unnatural foods leads to a higher chance of early death. Who would have thought? Where are all the “stop junk food” and “eat healthy or you’ll die” campaigns? While I do realize there are some out there, I have yet to see someone eating potato chips and someone else pretending to choke because there is “toxic” food nearby.
Why aren’t the junk food manufacturers required to pay millions in anti-junk food advertising campaigns? Do we not care as much about people who eat junk food as people who smoke. No, because eating junk is a way of life for most. But again, the anti-smoking campaigns aren’t about getting people to stop smoking. They are about making smokers into social outcasts who can’t control themselves.
People who smoke do so because they want to. The ones that want to stop, do. End of story. If you want to stop a habit – good or bad – it’s up to you. If you decide to stop (and mean it) then you will stop.
There is no mysterious, secret ingredient put in tobacco by evil cigarette makers that keeps you addicted. If there was, I would be smoking today. I have smoked cigarettes on several occasions throughout my life and have yet to smoke on a consistent basis or feel like I can’t stop.
As a society, we need to get over ourselves. If you want to take supplements and exercise so maybe you’ll live six months longer, go ahead – that’s up to you. If someone else wants to smoke and eat junk food, then maybe die six months sooner, they can. Don’t worry about it, just worry about yourself.