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Journal FortKnox's Journal: Are you a smoker? 20

Now, I smoked when I was in my 2nd year of college, and had no trouble quitting (cold turkey). I have no problem with most other people smoking... but one person got me pretty mad today.

I saw a pregnant woman smoking. This bothered me a bit... but not as much as realizing that...
Being ignorant about your child isn't an excuse, but you KNOW a nurse KNOWS what she is doing to her baby. I had a friend who said her OB said NOT to quit smoking, because the baby would go through withdrawl in the womb (I asked my wife's OB the question, and he wanted the name of the other OB so he could give him a good whap upside the head).

To parallel, its like a computer scientist/engineer having an unsecure open relay. You KNOW what's gonna happen, and your being an idiot about it. Now imagine the spam coming from your machine is poisoning an unborn child.

Bleh, I was sooo close from telling a total stranger off today...

Anyway, I was curious to know how many of us geeks smoke. Are you a smoker? Why/how did you start? Ever thought of quitting? Thoughts?
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Are you a smoker?

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  • I used to smoke in college, because it was cool, I guess. It is really a nice thing to have something to do with your hands, and I think that's why a lot of smokers have trouble quitting with patches or gum.

    Then in my senior year I picked up cigar smoking. Cigarette smoke is some foul crap once you begin smoking cigars (or pipes). I continued this habit of one cigar a day when I moved out to Seattle and finally gave it up after I met my (now) wife. The tax on the tobacco was just too high for my pocketbook.

    So since then I haven't smoked except when I can bum a cigarette off someone else.

    But now I'm in Japan and EVERYONE smokes. The packs cost about $2.20 and are available everywhere. Everything from Capri to Marlboro to Lucky Strike, the machines have got them. Which makes me crave them. Not necessarily for the taste, but just for something to do with my idle hands (they are the Devil's workshop, donchaknow).

    The thing keeping me from succumbing is that I don't want to shell out for a lighter (I'm a cheapskate) and I don't want to stink up the house. I'd smoke outside, but there aren't any benches or chairs or lights on the patio, so it's not exactly comfortable and I'd be going out "to smoke" instead of relaxing.

    I'll probably give in one of these days, but for now my will is holding.
    • I started with cloves cigarettes (which are a lot smoother than regular cigs, but crystalize your lungs), until I coughed up blood, then I switched to regular cigs. I quit when I met my (now) wife, but still pick up a stogie when the time is appropriate (when fishing/playing poker/etc...).
      • I used to make the trip up to Vancouver back when I first got to Seattle to smoke some Cubans (it's illegal to support a country that your country has an embargo against, so don't try this at home kids).

        My favorite were these Romeo y Julieta figurados (or were they bellicosos?). They had that cartoonish, rich fat cat shape and the taste was excellent. If you're up in Vancouver and interested in cigars, stop in at Del Habano across the street from the Virgin Megastore on Robson. The walk-in humidor is awesome and the smell is heavenly.

        Smoke them all while you're up there, it's illegal to bring them back and the border patrol is on high alert, so chances are greater that you'll be caught and have to destroy the things.
      • Yeah, I started smoking with cloves too. But one thing of note: all cigarettes crystallize your lungs, especially ones with fiber-glass filters, such as Newports, but cloves are even worse, they make your lungs bleed.

        As far as smoking while pregnant, it doesn't really hurt the baby a whole lot, but it leads to some things like low birth weight, etc, that are not even worriable side effects if you take necessary preventative measures. That said, it's still stupid; you shouldn't smoke when you're pregnant or around children at all, or even around a pregnant person.

        I guess I am what is called a social smoker. If I do smoke on a day, it isn't until after at least 5:00 pm, if not 9:00, and then only if I'm drinking, or hanging out outside. (I smoke a lot more in the summer than the winter.) I don't smoke inddoors, unless I am in a club with high ceilings and adequate ventilation, and I would never smoke before school or work or being around children or my parents or any non-smokers. I've been smoking about this frequently since I was 14, now I'm 23. I admit I should probably stop, especially since I'm not at all addicted. Evidence of that is that I didn't smoke yesterday, or the day before that; I only smoke when I feel like it. I suppose I'll get around to it one of these days.

        • As far as smoking while pregnant, it doesn't really hurt the baby a whole lot, but it leads to some things like low birth weight, etc, that are not even worriable side effects if you take necessary preventative measures

          Here's some stuff about the womb that I learned while my wife is pregnant.
          If a fetus is in a dangerous surroundings, it doesn't 'feed' much from the imbellical (sp?), and gets out asap. This means low birth weight, and premature birth.
          If the fetus is in an enriched environment (like a diabetic mother. When her bloodsugar is high, the extras go to the baby, making the baby grow more than normal), the baby 'feeds' more, and stays in as long as possible (which is why diabetic mothers are usually induced a little early, or get a c-section).

          So smoking IS a dangerous environment, the baby doesn't get much nutrion from the mother, it is forced to be born premature and has a much, much less chance of surviving after birth. Also, the baby DOES go through withdrawl if you are still smoking when its born (it DOESN'T go through withdrawl when you quit while pregnant, though). Smoking is definately bad while pregnant, there's no question about it. And that's not even going into the whole fact of the infant getting second hand smoke, which is just brutual to its little lungs...

          Moral of the story? Quit smoking while pregnant, until the child has gotten to at least 6 months and is out of that critical 'SIDS' period...
          • Unbilical I think.

            FK, I did say that it is stupid to smoke period, and I even cited low birth weight as one of the risks, but take a minute and think about this. Roughly 1/2 of the kids in the US born during the 50's and 60's were born to smoking mothers. We still have people walking around don't we? Maybe it is because my family is a bunch of hearty, healthy people, but until my mother's generation, everyone smoked, and we have had zero instances of lung cancer and have not had any trouble reproducing (My grandmother was one of ten, and my grandfather was one of 8). Additionally, low birth weight isn't that much of a crisis anymore, we have technology that keep them fine, in the even that someone smokes enough to cause that.

            Now, I don't think it's good to risk that in the first place, just like I don't think it's good to feed a kid any wheat products until they're 2 years old because it more than doubles their chances of developing a wheat allergy, and that is a big pain in the butt I wouldn't wish on anyway. But the fact is, most parents feed their kids wheat long before that. Why? Because either they don't know, or they just realize that you can't live your life running from risks. It all has to do with the expected payoff. If a pregnant mother, even a nurse, finds that the expected benefit of staying smoking and staying sane (for some it is that much of an outlet) is less than that of quitting and dropping one more risk from her pregnancy, she is going to stop smoking. If not, she won't. You have to pick and choose your battles. For me, I would choose the non-smoker route, just b/c it's a bad habit anyway. But for others, they have picked differently.

            I remember when my best friend was pregnant. We actually got in a fight because not only was she smoking cigarettes, she was smoking pot while whe was pregnant. I didn't talk to her again until after her daughter was born. When we were on good terms again, she said, that even though she didn't quit smoking cigarettes, my stance made such an impact on her that she did quit smoking pot and cut her cigarette intake drastically. I don't advocate anyone smoking whilst pregnant. But for some people, in high-stress jobs, or who have been raised with cigarettes (children of smokers, etc.), it doesn't register the same way it does for me. And it drives me nuts when other people don't understand that. Their line of thinking is just like mine that I just gave... my parents did it, their parents did it, we were all just fine. Our line is, it's stupid. How do those two lines compete?

        • My boyfriend's mom is a nurse and she smoked during both of her pregnancies. I don't know how much damage she did during her pregnancy versus after, but both my boyfriend and his sister have chronic respiratory system problems, such as asthma, allergies and sinus infections. I don't know how much of this is attributable to the smoking, though.

          As for me- I've never smoked. It just doesn't appeal to me.
      • I like the way cloves taste. Granted, I quit long ago - because when it came down to it, I couldn't stand smelling like an ashtray. I'd have to shower and wash my hair before I went to bed, and my clothes couldn't be in the same room -- I hate the stale ashtray smell.

        Unfortuantely, I'm dating a smoker (blech, blech, and blech) Oddly enough, he never realized that he smells like an ashtray all the time. Going outside to smoke helps, but the minute he comes back in, he, and consequently my place, both smell like an ashtray. I hate it.

        It didn't dawn on him just how bad it is until I pointed out that I could smell someone smoking while we were in the car, with the windows up and the AC on. It was the person 3 cars ahead of us.

      • I smoked cloves in college on occasion. I think in my entire life I smoked 6 packs of them. I have smoked 1 regular cigarette and a few mentols (like maybe 3) in my life, and I hated them. Well I didn't HATE the menthol, but it's not something I really liked.

        I started because when I was at a party, or it was at my house, most of my friends would go outside to smoke. So, I started going out to smoke with them, but I didn't like regular cigarettes. I liked the cloves, and as an added benefit, most of the girls who were occasional smokers liked them. So, I would light up and a girl would come over and say, is that a clove? Yes. Can I have one? Sure. Great ice breaker.

        I quit because I'm not going to parties as much any more, and so I'm not keeping them around. When I DO want to smoke, I usually grab a cigar. My roommate is an afficionado, and he'll let me bum one and replace it later, if I haven't had the forethought to buy one. Usually when I smoke a cigar is when I've had a long day, and I come home, fix a strong drink, grab a good cigar, crank the stereo on the porch, and hop in the hot tub. It makes all of that hard work worth the effort.

  • If you were to walk from campus to my g/f's house, you would be past a hospital, and several smokers in hospital fatigues are always gathered at the designated spots. I cant tell if they're just orderlies or actual RNs or MDs.

    Granted, this is considered the back of the hospital, though the Emergency Room entrance is back there. Out front you wont ever see anyone smoking.
  • I smoked off and on for about 6 years. It really wasn't the nicotine that got me, but having something in my hands. If they would have let me do it in the Co-Lo that would have sealed my fate, but alas ecen Level 3 has some standards (JK!)...:)
    I just woke up one day and quit. I didn't really want to, but I just did. It was almost as if my body was producing some anti-smoking chemical. Very strange, but I haven't had one since. I will occasionally have a cigar, especially since a friend brings back Cubans all the time, but I don't think I even own a cutter or a punch anymore.
  • A long time ago I lived in the 'hood. I was told the first day to run and get a pack of Newports, cause if one of the local bangers asked for a smoke and you hand him a "white boy one" he'll take offense.

    So I started smoking various menthol types. Lately, it's Marlboro Milds, but it's been all of them at one point or another.

    Anyway, for a while, it was a bonus, because no one ever wanted to bum off me. THEN, suddenly "urban" became the fashion, and every little kid is running around smoking menthols. Just the other day, christ, a little horde of suburban white girls were running around, "Omigod doesn't ANYONE have a MENTHOL?".

  • I started in the summer of 1992. Girlfriend and I were on a little vacation, and wondering what the deal with smoking after sex was (nothing, as it turns out). Went through most of a pack that week. Cigs stayed in my car until end of summer. School started up in the fall, and we had to report about two days before classes started. Nothing to do but drink. "Hey, I've got a pack of smokes in my care also. A few while drinking can't hurt, right?"

    It's now 10 years later. I'm a pack a day (+/-). I was down to one smoke a day in about 1995. Went back up. While in grad school, it was one pack every 2-3 days. I was down to one pack every 2 days again this past winter, with plans to quit in the spring. Then Angie got sick...

    I'm addicted to the nicotine. With computer games and other stuff, I've got tons to do with my hands. But I am totally addicted to nicotine. Patches have worked well, but I have bad reactions to them. Heck, I went one pack in a month when I tried 'dipping' for a while. But that stuff tears up your mouth QUICK. I noticed shrinking of my gums in that one month. And I've seen pictures of 25-30 year old guys missing half of their face/throat because of it. Back to smokes.

    Cigars are good. Well, can be good. But I need the sustained release. Not a lot. I'm currently on Basic Ultra Lights. Was Marlboro Ultra Lights before that. And Marlboro Lights before that, and started with Marlboro Light Menthols. Giving up the Menthol was pretty damned tough in itself. Unfortunately, addictive personalities run in my family. Can't count the number of alcoholics and drug addicts.

    As far as the smell: ironically, the two people I know with the best sense of smell don't know that I smoke unless it's within about 10 minutes of a cigarette. I have no idea how that happens. I'm no more (and probably less) hygenic than the next person. And my hair is moderately long, so it should trap the scent.

    I work in the medical industry. Trust me, there are TONS of nurses, docs, and other personnel who smoke. More than the population average, I'd say. My only guess is stress relief. The funny thing is watching docs try to hide it. That kills me.

  • I used to smoke a pack a day or thereabouts, but now I'm off cigs and on to cigars. It's just easier to relax after another day at the office with a robusto or lonsdale.

    On topic, my mommy smoked during my pregnancy, and I did all right.

  • In the ninth grade I lived in California and was a jock. Then my parents moved us to New Mexico and I was dumbfounded with what they had there - smoking areas in the high schools! Mine had a big open courtyard right between the two busiest halls of the school.

    Whereas in California, the cool kids made fun of the loser smokers, in NM, a lot of the cool kids smoked. That's how I got my start.

    Now every time I smoke a cigarette I painfully realize I'm doing it not for pleasure but to get a fix. I hate my habit and plan to quit, but its very, very hard.

  • I'll admit that bit first off. I'm not trying to insult anyone, just commenting on my own state of affairs.

    First off, I have asthma, so the LAST thing I need to be doing is smoking cigarettes, but during my 3rd year of college, I was curious (of course, I was curious about a LOT of things back then...I must have a bit of cat DNA in me though, because I'm still here), and during that time, I typically explored what peaked my curiosity without any thought as to the consequences.

    I never started REALLY smoking. I got up to a pack a week before the fall after I started I ended up in the hospital for asthma related crap.

    Instant lesson learned.

    So I've quit... mostly... I'll ask for a drag off of a Menthol every once in a while, but never more than that, and only when I'm drinking, which I only really do on the weekends.

    I also tried cigars, but after getting sick off of those things a few times, I gave those up rather quickly. Do like the smell of those however.

    I should mention that my father (who passed away long ago and before his time) was a heavy smoker. I could say a part of my curiosity was due to his use of cigarettes. This may, of course, be true, but it's kind of a cop-out. I started because I wanted to start, not because of anything else. However, I really should have learned a lesson from his death. He died of a heart-attack at 49. He had done everything right after his doctors told him he had heart problems aside from one thing...he didn't stop smoking.

    Maybe one day I'll finally learn. Hopefully it will be before age 40.

  • I only assumed that a small percentage of you guys may have smoked. Boy, was I wrong. I tried smoking twice. One puff each time, and they were both in high school--trying to show my friends how cool I could look. Boy did I fail.

    Since then, I've avoided it like the plague. Now-a-days, when I go to a bus stop or bus loop, and I smell smoke, I'll quickly exhale and hold my breath.

    I'm trying to sound like a paranoid goody-two-shoes, but I just don't want any smoke in my life.
  • Really, there is no better way to trim the herd than with cigarettes and alcohol. At this point if someone smokes they are either too stupid to understand the consequences, too weak to overcome yor urges, or they simply don't care about human health. In any case the faster they expire the better.

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