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Secondhand Electronic Smoke


Dear Annie: My pregnant granddaughter smokes. She has switched to electronic cigarettes, telling her husband that these are completely safe and will not affect the baby in any way. She also claims there is no danger of secondhand smoke.

I say if you are sucking into your lungs any vapor with nicotine, it will affect the unborn child. And when you exhale, there has to be some nicotine when it comes out. My husband and I don't smoke at all. So please tell me: Should my granddaughter smoke her electronic cigarettes inside the house or out? — Kansas

Dear Kansas: Electronic cigarettes are cigarette-shaped, battery-operated vaporizers that deliver nicotine through flavored liquids. They have not yet undergone any rigorous study, so the effects regarding secondhand smoke are still unknown. They are not regulated, and there are no industry standards, which means you can't be sure what you are inhaling, but it generally includes nicotine and propylene glycol. Please urge your daughter to treat electronic cigarettes as she would any other type when it comes to smoking while pregnant. She is still risking the health of her child.

Dear Annie: My ex-husband's third wife and I have become great friends. During our many conversations, we discovered that we were both born in the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor, although she's five years younger. We unintentionally bought the same gift for my oldest grandson and wrapped it in the same polka-dot paper. We accidentally did it again the following year for her grandson's first birthday. Before we met, we had both decorated our kitchens in an identical apple motif.

Have you or your readers ever heard of something like this? The odds must be astronomical. We are anxiously waiting for your reply. — Sister Wives in Kentucky

Dear Sister Wives: The two of you sound like an advertisement for a "twins separated at birth" story.

Some of this could be explained by the fact that your ex- husband's taste in women runs toward those who like apple-motif kitchens and polka-dot wrapping paper. Perhaps he has simply married a younger version of you. (Do you know who is younger?) But what really amazes us is how well the two of you get along. Thanks for sharing.

Dear Annie: I'd like to add my two cents to "MADD and Sad Mother." I, too, was a roaring alcoholic until I had treatment, went back to college and became a drug and alcohol therapist.

1. You cannot sober up a drunk with coffee. You just have a nervous drunk.

2. The drunk's best friend can be his worst enemy. People try to help by being supportive or assisting them in getting back on their feet after a binge. All that does is buy the alcoholic the next drink.

3. Never pay an addict's fine. If he can't pay it himself, let him go to jail.

4. It's hard to get car keys away from a drunk. Instead, call the police when they get in their car.

5. A drunk does indeed see what he's doing to his family, but that only increases the guilt and self-hate, which is relieved through drinking.

6. An intervention can provide the "low" needed, but it should be through a professional who will guide the drunk through the process of getting into treatment.

7. If the drunk is in treatment, never, ever get them when they call and gripe about how awful the place is.

8. If the drunk relapses after treatment, tell them you will not allow them back into your life unless they get back into treatment or go to AA.

Please know that sometimes a drunk will die no matter what is done to help them. It's a devastating disease. But you can kill your loved ones with too much kindness. — One Who Knows

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



92 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 - Thank you, Annies, for describing what the product is and not answering LW1's question. Good job.

You can smoke e-cigarettes that do not have nicotine - they fulfill the oral fixation and the desire to carry out the action of smoking. Obviously, these are harmless. I am assuming from your letter that she is smoking nicotine e-cigs. Nicotine is harmful to unborn babies regardless of the vehicle - e-cigs are just less harmful for the smoker because there is no smoke. Is she planning on going back to regular cigarettes after the pregnancy?

SHOULD she smoke indoors, or at all? No, obviously... Smokers know that smoking is bad. There's only so much you can do. If she insists on smoking 5 cigars at once, eight times a day, indoors, well, she's an adult and would not be the first person to make a choice that negatively affects a child's health. Encourage her to be healthy for her child and to use e-cigarettes as a vehicle to quit, not just a 1-to-1 temporary cigarette replacement. But honestly, at some point you will need to lay off. If smokers could be dissuaded by finger wags and medical facts thrown about, no one would smoke.

Fun fact, did you know that smokers actually cost the taxpayers the same amount, or less, in medical care? Because they tend to die considerably earlier and faster, they need less care over the course of their lives than a healthy-living centenarian who dies after a long bought with cancer.

LW2 - Cute story, but not as against the odds as you might want to believe. Think of it this way: of all the people who live and ever lived, what are the odds that some of them will have matching/similar stories and tastes and choices, and that some of those people will meet, and find out about their similarities? Pretty high... it happens a lot. Still, it hasn't happened to me, and it doesn't happen to most people. Enjoy it, it really is a fun little story to tell.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Zoe
Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:20 PM
Seriously, Annies. Do you even read the letters completely before you respond to them? It's obvious you don't check over your replies before you submit your column. LW1 was writing about her pregnant GRAND daughter, not daughter, and LW2 mentioned her ex's current wife is five years younger already so why did you ask?? Hire a copy editor; I know I'd never let glaring mistakes like this pass.
Unemployed Copy Editor
Comment: #2
Posted by: Elbee
Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:25 PM
LW1 writes about her pregnant GRANDAUGHTER smoking. Annies reply, Please urge your daughter to treat electronic cigarettes as she would any other type when it comes to smoking while pregnant. She is still risking the health of her child.
Ladies, I know how easy your job really is, so don't put it in our faces that you barely bother to read the letters. You should both be fired. Not to mention any editors associated with this feeble column. On a bad day, and even with the absurd posters who get crazy with their opinions, the advice that comes below the line is almost always better than yours.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Carly O
Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:30 PM
Zoe: I think the Annies were trying to educate the LW and us about what these cigarettes are, but no, they didn't answer the question. I'd like to know if the second hand smoke has nicotine in it too, and hope to hear from some of our other commenters on that.

LW3: I agree with most of what you say, but number 6 is a sticky one for me. I have never seen an intervention work for any length of time. People when confronted, even with a counselor and with a plan for recovery, will do whatever it takes to get people off their backs for the moment, and then will skip out first chance they get. Just look at the celebrity examples. Courts have forced rehab on so many celebrities it's almost a cliche. And each time they are forced into rehab (which is what an intervention does), they go right back to their bad behavior UNTIL they themselves want to change. I've seen this with my personal friends as well and will not participate in interventions at all anymore.
Comment: #4
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:35 PM
I stopped smoking over 25 years ago, at a time when the most advanced related technology was Nicorette, so I had to look this up.

While it does appear that what is ingested through these electronic cigarettes is questionable, it won't be worse than the real stuff. And definitely, there is no second-hand smoke, which is an improvement.

This being stated, because there is an questionable element being ingested, the baby of a pregnant woman is at risk. However, she may view this, and it may very well be that it indeed is the lesser of two evils. Nicotine addiction can be a bitch to ditch.

I think the woman is trying to lick this and it's not easy. Give her a break.At any rate, you cannot control what she does, so your best best is to not bitch and complain, encourage her to stop altogether and be supportive.

Well. It would appear that your ex has remarkably consistent tastes. In a polygamist society, you two could be great sister-wives.

Sensible advice coming from the voice of experience. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure you hit home with someone today.

Comment: #5
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:37 PM
Re: nanchan

Whether it be rehab, intervention or whatnot, nothing can have any lasting effect unless the person with he problem recognises there is a need for change. I would think the people conducting an intervention are for the most part aware of this but, because this has to do with a loved one, they do what they do with the hope that it will trigger an epiphany. In somes cases they may be right.

Comment: #6
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:45 PM
Re: Elbee

HILARIOUS! I laughed out loud. And Carly O, I agree as well.

You know, on any given day, the Annies give us about three of four lines of response to any letter. We've seen serious issues like spousal abuse given a two sentence answer (usually " Seek counseling, call the Domestic Violence Hotline") and then an entire column was dedicated to hand signals telling people to get off cell phones.

Annies? I know you read BTL and hope you are paying attention.
Comment: #7
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:57 PM
@Lise, absolutely right, I've seen and/or had friends/relatives participate in interventions that were absolutely successful. In one case the "intervenee" has been sober for 20 years now and still going strong. So it definitely can work, but there's never any guarantees, the person has to want to change. The intervention can make it clear that they have *reasons* to want to change.

LW1: Best to get your granddaughter to give these up entirely.

LW2: Probably partial coincidence, partially the mutual (ex-) husband, and maybe your friendship with each other is influencing both of you.

LW3: Interesting advice from someone who's "been there", but my experience is that every addict is slightly different; what worked for you may not work in another situation.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Mike H
Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:18 AM
Agree with Mike H on LW3. Every addict is different, but the ONLY way any addict can get rid of their addiction (be it alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or anything else) is fot the addict to WANT to quit. If he or she doesn't have the desire to quit, then no amount of support or intervention will help. They have to hit their own personal "low" and finally have the desire to get rid of the addiction for anything to work.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Kitty
Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:52 AM
LW1 - You asked whether she should be smoking those cigarettes inside or outside the house. I assume you meant your house. If that's that case, it's YOUR house and you get to call the shots. If you don't want that in your home, then tell her to step outside to smoke.

I'm probably going to get flamed for this but pregnant women who smoke and/or drink make me sick.

LW2 - Sure, it may seem odd but I think it's neat. Many years ago, I very briefly dated a man in college. We realized we were meant to be friends and not in a relationship so we stayed close friends. A number of years later, he met the woman who became his wife. She and I were friendly to each other but nothing more than aquaintences for a long time. Then she asked me to be a bridesmaid, saying that she knew it would mean so much to my friend/her fiance. I said yes and by helping her plan the wedding, we became best friends. Five years later, she's still my best friend. Her husband teases that she stole me from him :)
Comment: #10
Posted by: Michelle
Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:58 AM
in defense of the annies, 'They have not yet undergone any rigorous study, so the effects regarding secondhand smoke are still unknown. They are not regulated, and there are no industry standards, which means you can't be sure what you are inhaling, but it generally includes nicotine and propylene glycol.' that sounds to me that they are saying there isn't enough information available to state for a fact if they are harmful. still, i would have suggested that she ask her doctor. although they did say she should treat electronic cigarettes the same way they would any other cigarette. in other words, if it's doubtful, it's dirty. i would think the advice would remain the same whether applied to a daughter or a granddaughter. sloppy editing, yes. bad advice? i don't think so.

giving coffee to a drunk will not sober him/her up, but it will delay the driver. the longer you keep him/her sitting there drinking coffee, the more alcohol can leave the system...or failing that, it would at least give someone a chance to steal the car keys, disable the car or block it in.
Comment: #11
Posted by: alien07110
Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:08 AM
At least none of the behaviors addressed today (smoking during pregnancy, relationship with one's 'wife-in-law', and how to constructively help an alcoholic) were related to menopause!
Comment: #12
Posted by: Humama
Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:33 AM
Did anyone else notice that the Annies were not paying attention to the LWs today or their editors really sucked. LW1 states her granddaughter is smoking electronic cigarettes while pregnant. In the response they instructor to urge her "daughter" to treat them like real cigarettes. LW2 stated that she is five years younger than the current wife. In the answer in parents the annies asked LW2 (Do you know who is younger?). There have been times I wondered if they even really took this column seriously with the ad nauseum identical advice to get counseling without ever addressing the real question that had been posed to them. I have my answer now and it is as I suspected a resounding no.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Paula
Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:45 AM
Re: Paula Yeah...that was covered in the second comment.

To answer LW1's question...her granddaughter should definitely smoke inside, and keep everything contained. But she should leave her uterus outside, where her unborn baby can get lots of fresh air.
What a bizarre question. If she thinks the e-cigarettes are terriblle for the baby (I don't have any info either way, although I would think they would have to be better than real cigarettes), what difference does it make where she smokes them?

LW2 should google John Derek and his wives if she thinks that she is truly unique by having things in common with future-wife. I just think it's a good thing, for the sake of all kids involved, that they can get along so well.

LW3: "sometimes a drunk will die no matter what is done to help them" True, but so will the rest of us. The talking points are all good, and if printing them here helps one person step back, that's great. But most people need to learn those lessons on their own.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Shirley
Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:54 AM
Re: nanchan

E-cigarettes do create second hand nicotine. It is not nearly as dangerous as second hand smoke. Most people should not be terribly affected by periodic indoor e-cigarette smokers.

Re: Michelle

WHY on earth would you expect to get flamed for saying you don't like it when pregnant women smoke and drink. Good heavens. You must know that most people are highly against this, don't you? Why add the inflammatory "I'm probably going to get flamed for this" phrase to a statement that is not the least bit provocative or offensive?

Re: Shirley

When it comes to unborn babies, the risk isn't the smoke so much as the nicotine. It can lead to low birth weight, miscarriage, etc. If a woman is taking in as much nicotine through e-cigs as she was through regular cigarettes, her baby is still at as much risk. Without the smoke it is better for the mother's health and by extension the baby's but the baby is still at risk from the nicotine.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:16 AM
LW3, #4 - it may be "hard" to get car keys away from a drunk, but surely it's worth your damn hardest effort, no? Calling the police is fine and dandy if you really couldn't stop them, but the police aren't going to be able to pull up to the drunk's car immediately after it pulls out of the parking space. I think the people around the drunk have the duty to do anything they possibly can to stop the car from starting in the first place. If that means tackling the drunk driver to the ground, then fine, so be it.

My mother's cousin's son died this past summer after having crashed his motorcycle just a couple blocks from his house. He had been out drinking, partying with his sister and some of their friends, and they took a taxi back home. Apparently, shortly after getting home safely, he decided he HAD to go back out again (why, no one really knows what he was thinking). He literally fought his sister off, who was trying to stop him, trying to get the keys from him, and he took off. She called the police and followed him in her car (she hadn't had much to drink) , I'm not sure what she thought she could accomplish by following him, maybe just to see him get to where he was going or warn other drivers around, or something. But what she got to see was him crash the motorcycle, and die.

In her case, she did the right thing by calling police but obviously they weren't able to do anything before it was already too late. Preventing the drunk from driving in the first place should really be the first priority... I'm not saying you don't all know that, but the way the letter was worded kind of came off "It's hard. Don't try."
Comment: #16
Posted by: Alexandra
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:22 AM
LW1 I didn't check my facts, but I think the reason that second-hand smoke is dangerous is because of the tar, not the nicotine, so it seems like e-cigarettes would be better in that regard. Don't know about the nicotine affecting the baby, though. I would never take the chance with an unborn child.
Comment: #17
Posted by: C Meier
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:48 AM
LW1 - Your granddaughter should not smoke in or out of the house or any place else. She should discuss this with OB/GYN and see what they can do to get her off of them. This is not going to be good for the baby and she really needs to understand that. It's not often one sees a pregnant woman smoking anymore and you may want to let her know it looks disgusting.

LW2 - She's your twin and one if you is lying about your age.

LW3 - Tough love. I like it although I think one shoulc call the poice and then try to get the keys, but do try to get the keys.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Rick
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:49 AM
Remembering as best I can from my undergrad classes in developmental psychology, there are windows of time during fetal development during which exposure to some substances isn't a big deal. But there are other windows of time in which exposure to the wrong substance is actually a very big deal.

It's also a probabilities game, like many things. A particular substance may, for example, double the chance of your child being born with a learning disability. That doesn't mean that the child will *definitely* have a learning disability, just that you've increased the likelihood of that happening. You may get lucky.

That's why you had plenty of women smoking and drinking during pregnancies in the 1950s and 60s, for example, and having perfectly healthy babies. That doesn't prove that smoking and drinking during pregnancy is fine, just that many of those mothers dodged a bullet (and, of course, many of them didn't dodge that bullet, but may not have realized what created the problem).

I also think it's different to take a risk for yourself, as an adult, and quite another thing to put your unborn child at risk, when they obviously can't advocate for themselves.

Hopefully the grandmother can convince her granddaughter that it's not worth the risk.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Mike H
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:14 AM
LW1--Recent studies indicate that so called e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and other smoking cessation aids don't actually increase the odds that a smoker will quit smoking. As always, going cold turkey is the recommended approach. Moreover, my research on electronic cigarettes indicates that they are not recommended by women who are pregnant (neither are nicotine patches for that matter.) Therefore, the short answer to one of your questions is that your granddaughter shouldn't smoke e-cigarettes during her pregnancy at all. On the other hand, considering that your daughter will still likely be driving and walking around outside where she will be breathing in air laden with many of the same chemicals found in cigarette smoke and many more but in much higher concentrations the entire discussion is more or less moot. Do research on baseline air quality in a typical city; it's pretty scary. This problem boils down to the political correctness and expected etiquette of expectant mothers. Since you cannot control your granddaughter's actions, your only option is to make her go outside to puff on her nicotine laden vapor.

LW2—it's obvious, given that you and your ex-husband's third wife are such great friends, that you have similar personalities and tastes. Your similar choices are in now way attributed to the fact that you were born in the same hospital or delivered by the same doctor. That you're finding correlations in each other's behaviors is a result of a phenomenon called confirmation bias. This is is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. As a result, people gather evidence and remember information selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases are stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. For example, you point to the fact that you both chose a similar wrapping paper for a birthday party and wallpaper for your kitchen as confirming facts of your hypothesis; completely discounting the hundreds of different wrapping papers or room decorum you've each selected over the years. In any case, congratulations on finding such a compatible friend!
Comment: #20
Posted by: Chris
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:27 AM
Re: Zoe
Totally missing the point of my post...which is that it doesn't matter in the least where she smokes, as far as the baby is concerned. If she is doing something harmful, it is harmful...inside or out.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Shirley
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:29 AM
Re: Zoe
Totally missing the point of my post...which is that it doesn't matter in the least where she smokes, as far as the baby is concerned. If she is doing something harmful, it is harmful...inside or out.
Comment: #22
Posted by: Shirley
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:29 AM
Re: Shirley

The only point missed was mine. By you.

You said: "If she thinks the e-cigarettes are terriblle for the baby (I don't have any info either way, although I would think they would have to be better than real cigarettes), what difference does it make where she smokes them?"

I was giving you the information you said you didn't have and in the process backed up your statement that nicotine is harmful to an unborn baby regardless of where she smokes or the delivery method (regular cig vs. e-cig).
Comment: #23
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:40 AM
Re: Zoe
You are assuming that she is using an e-cigarette with nicotine. I do know you can buy nicotine-free cartridges for them. There may still be negatives for a baby if mom is using them (there seems to be negatives for everything we do) that I am unaware of. But nicotine is not necessarily one of them.

Comment: #24
Posted by: Shirley
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:49 AM
I've tried posting a question more than once today, but for some reason it didn't "take". (Maybe the Powers That Be didn't like my question...ha!) So, this is a test. Let's see if this one makes it.
Comment: #25
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:19 AM
Re: Zoe
Smokers need less care than a healthy-living centenarian who dies after a long bought with is this pro/con smoking? ;) Caught my eye because cause of the wording, but seriously, I'd rather go from a short bout of cancer than a long, drawn out one.
Comment: #26
Posted by: kristen
Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:38 AM
Re: Rick

Re:LW1 discussing it with her OB and getting off smoking entirely... a lot of doctors recommend that women who smoke do NOT quit entirely while pregnant, if they've suddenly found themselves pregnant without already starting the quitting process. Because suddenly going cold turkey while you're already pregnant causes the baby to go through the withdrawls with you and that can be worse than smoking a little bit.

I suppose this might depend on when you find out you are pregnant. If it's right away, well perhaps the baby won't be too affected by the withdrawl and that would be the better case than continuing to smoke for the next nine months. My friend was already almost three months along when she found out she was pregnant and under a doctor's care, continued to smoke minimally throughout her pregnancy. She did cut WAY back and totally stopped smoking other substances. I'm not saying I agree with this (and I'm not saying I didn't cringe every time I saw her light one up even though I knew how much she had cut back because of being pregnant), but, that's the recommendation some doctors give in some situations.

Of course it would still be a good idea for the preggo in LW1 to talk to her OB but the advice may not be, stop smoking. Perhaps the e-cigarettes along with cutting back some was already a recommendation given by the doc. If she's already like six months along and would have major withdrawl symptoms if she were to try to outright stop at this point, that may be worse for the baby.
Comment: #27
Posted by: Alexandra
Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:44 AM
Re: Alexandra
"it may be "hard" to get car keys away from a drunk, but surely it's worth your damn hardest effort, no?"
Not if it gets you physically attacked and possibly killed. Trying to wrestle the car keys from a drunk is not safe unless you're much bigger than the drunk. I understand your grief, but there isn't much one can do when someone is fighting for the right to behave in a self-destructive way. There are cases, sadly, when people can just stand by, unable to do anything. My condolences for your loss.

"As always, going cold turkey is the recommended approach."
Not if the smoker has asthma. When I stopped smoking some 35 years ago, I tried going down slowly and it was torture - all I could think about was the next cigarette I was "allowed". So I went cold turkey - and then landed at the Chest Hospital with a giant asthma attack.

At the follow-up visit, my lung doctor explained that the abrupt removal of nicotine from the system creates a state of withdrawal shock that will trigger and attack. Oh great, I exclaimed, how do I stop then? That's when he pulled out his pad and prescribed Nicorette - it required a prescription back then. He explained that what the gum does (and the same principle is valid for patches and e-cigarettes) is deliver a controlled quantity of nicotine to your system, thus making a gradual withdrawal possible. Without it, I never would have been able to stop.

But you're right in principle, although the cold turkey approach requires a bit of planning in order to be successful. Recipe to stop smoking for those who need it:

1. Identify the reason why you smoke. Is it out of habit? To keep your hands busy? Because it goes with coffee/alcohol? Because you like the taste of tobacco? There may be more than one reason. Answering that question is crucial as you have to fill the void, otherwise the void will be filled by the door fridge and you'll gain 20 pounds. You may need to change some habits and find something to occupy your hands.

2. Choose a stopping date. A stressful and temptation-free date - not before finals at the university, not before a big family party where ten people smoke.

3. Buy cigarettes to last you until that date ONLY.

4. After that date, stop buying them and stop accepting them.

5. Get yourself a reward a week, something visible you can line up on the mantlepiece or the library, or put the money you would have spent on cigarettes in a special account. Or both. A visible, increasing proof of your success will do wonders to bolster your motivation in sagging times.

6. Stay away from temptation as much as possible for the first few weeks, at least while you're weaning yourself off the nicotine.

7. Stay strong. You WILL be tempted, especially when you see someone pulling out your favourite brand. Be aware that will likely be some idiot(s) in your entourage whose idea of entertainment will be to try and sabotage you. Moronic, sadistic bastards can be found everywhere.

8. Resign yourself to the fact that, if the reason you smoke is because you like the taste of tobacco, you will get rid of the nicotine addiction, but not of the longing for the taste. I know. That was me. Sudden cravings are easier to resist when you know in advance they'll be coming.

When you manage to ditch this, you'll feel on top of the world, like you just won Gold at the Olympics. Not to mention physically a lot better. You'll have more stamina. You'll catch a cold less often. Your sense of taste will improve. You'll get your sense of smell back. GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT!

I have told this to people who knew what a heavy smoker I was (two packs a day) and asked how I stopped. It has worked for some but, as for any addiction or problem, you have to WANT to stop for real, not just sort of want to - seen that too.

Comment: #28
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:54 AM
LW 1 - Grand daughter should NOT be smoking at all, whether it be real cigs or E- cigs. Can't be healthy at all for her or the baby. LW, have a talk with her about getting stopping altogether.

LW 2 - A long time ago, in my hometown in Pa., there was a story in the newspaper about 2 women getting together after finding out they were sisters. They lived in the same town, didn't know about one another. People kept telling them, over the years, about how they look like so and so. As it turned out, as LW's story, many similiarities and yes, they were sisters. Both had the same mother, different fathers. And they were 5 years apart in age. The mother was single when she had baby # 1, gave her up for adoption. Then, 4 years later, got married, had a baby the following year. That would be weird if this were the case for LW. One never knows in this day and age.
Comment: #29
Posted by: Gwen
Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:04 PM
LW 1 - Sorry, the last sentence should read " LW, have a talk with her about stopping altogether."
Comment: #30
Posted by: Gwen
Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:07 PM
Re: Zoe

I said that because I cannot tell you how many times I've been flamed on other boards for saying something like that. People tell me to get off my high horse, they tell me they smoked/drank while pregnant and their kids turned out just fine, etc. I have also been told that I "don't understand" because I've never been pregnant. Glad to know on here it wouldn't be like that :)
Comment: #31
Posted by: Michelle
Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:08 PM
Re: Alexandra - I did kind of wonder about the withdrawl but dang smoking when you're pregnant is just bad. I hope she follows her OB's advice whatever it is.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Rick
Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:23 PM
The reason people worry about getting flamed for saying they don't like it when pregnant women smoke or drink is because pregnant women are sick and tired of being treated like children while pregnant. It's not your business. It's between her and her doctor. Especially when it comes to drinking, there is so much misinformation and fear mongering it's absolutely ridiculous. I am so glad I was pregnant in Canada and didn't have bartenders refusing a glass of wine with dinner or Subway clerks asking me if I was sure I wanted that cold cut combo or waiters refusing to bring me sushi. It's invasive, patronizing, and obnoxious. My US residing SIL lost her baby about 5 months in and their doctor had them wait for labour to occur naturally (yeah that was real fun let me tell you) so her and my brother went out to dinner and she ordered wine and the waitress had the nerve to give her grief. My SIL went to the washroom and my brother gave her, and her manager, a piece of his mind, left and took his wife somewhere people know to mind their own damned business. A woman and her health choices and diet do not become public domain simply because she is gestating.

(Why yes, I was pregnant recently LOL...)

Besides I think most of you missed that LW1 wants to know if SHE Is being exposed to SH smoke through these e-cigs. The answer is no. So no she doesn't need to go outside, but I'd make her anyway since it's your house and you're not having nicotine used in your house since it's a filthy habit no matter how it's ingested. (Former smoker, yes I am).

As for interventions, they only work if the people involved have firm and strong bottom lines and stick to them. For example as long as the addict is using, no they may not live with them, may not use vehicles, may not crash at their house, may not be given money, and some go as far as refusing to socialize altogether. I've done this with two friends. I just don't care to hear from them at all unless they're working the AA program. And I don't want to hear from them in rehab either. Anyone can do rehab. It's getting out and learning to live sober that's hard, and that's why most need AA or some similar program. I won't associate with an addict not in one.
Comment: #33
Posted by: wkh
Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:52 PM
lw2 sounds like you should all get together and play with one another
Comment: #34
Posted by: Temecula
Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:56 PM
Re: Ms Davie
So...what is the question?
Comment: #35
Posted by: Shirley
Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:06 PM
@Michelle, I'm not gonna flame you, since you are basically on point. You should know, however, that many OB/GYNs are telling their pregnant patients that a glass of wine now and then is fine, and possibly even beneficial.
Comment: #36
Posted by: Carla
Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:17 PM
nicotine causes the developing unborn baby's brain to grow millions of extra acetylcholine receptors.Iit unnaturally regulates the flow of more than 200 neurochemicals within the unborn baby's mind and body, including dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline. Nicotine is a teratogen and highly suspected of being a neuro-teratogen capable of inflicting lasting damage on the brain. The baby will undergo withdrawal from nicotine upon birth as well. Nicotine is toxic; commercially, it is used in pesticides and many children each year are rushed to the ER for poisoning after eating cigarrettes.

A recent study by Slotkin, 2008 on fetal mice found their brains had 2.5 higher times the amount of nicotine than the mother's blood level when delivered at a slow continuous rate, like a nicotine patch. This shows that methods of quiting are not necessarily less dangerous to the unborn baby than smoking. In fact, it may be equally or more dangerous.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Maria
Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:18 PM
Re: Shirley

Yep, I am assuming she's using a nicotine e-cig (I said so in my first post) because LW1 said "anyone inhaling nicotine..." or something to that effect. I also stated in my first post that it was possible to smoke e-cigs without nicotine, which is harmless. Unless you're one of those aliens from Signs to whom water vapour is deadly.

Re: Michelle

Huh... I stand corrected! I have never seen, or heard of, anyone getting flamed for saying anything like that, until now! I would never smack the cigarette out of a pregnant lady's hand but I can't help but quietly think "wow." But then, I feel the same when I see fat kids at McDonald's and the like. Or children riding ATVs with no helmet. People can do what they want but man, sometimes they really baffle me with their choices.

Still, I do hate that "I know I'll get flamed for this..." or "let the flaming begin" thing. It's like initiating a reasonable conversation with someone while seething at them and holding up your balled fists. But it does not bother me as much as pregnant women smoking ;)

Re: kristen

It's a smoking con for sure ("I cost less because I die 30 years earlier" isn't a good thing; otherwise serial killers would be the ultimate environmentalists and conservationists, eh LOL) - I just get annoyed when non-smokers make that "won't somebody PLEASE think of our healthcare system, you dirty smokers!" argument because it's actually the other way 'round. That said, if a short bout with cancer is what you seek, maybe a two-pack-a-day habit is for you! Smokers who die of lung cancer generally do so within less than a year of diagnosis.

Me, on the other hand... I want to be a burden on my family well into my 90's or even 100's if I can manage it. Nobody better take me off life support no matter how brain dead I am. And nobody gets anything till I'm dead and buried and maybe I will leave it all to my cat.

Re: wkh

"It's not your business. It's between her and her doctor" - agreed! It's not like there is some weak, innocent third party, wholly affected by choices made by others, with no say in the matter. Oh, wait...

Actually, I am with you on the booze. The occasional glass of wine? Pah. Have at it.

It is unclear whether LW1 meant her house of the kid's home. It could be either way. I assumed the latter but it doesn't really matter except if it's LW1's house she can make whatever she call she wants because that thang is in her name.

Man, I could really go for a smoke right about now. Where are my smoking coworkers when I need them?!
Comment: #38
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:34 PM
My dad had to quit smoking after 70 years when he had a quad bypass.

Even 3 years later before he died, he said that smoking was the worst sin and punishment one can do to themselves. It gets in your brain. Tells you to get up during a night of sleep for a smoke. What was your best friend was your worst enemy. It did not matter how much time passed is forms of months, and your toothpick was on a good replacement, nor the gum chewing.

But he said there was so much pressure all around you with ads and signs as a child to do this, peers as a youth and an adult, everyone was weak.

Your cells in the brain have a permanent place that holds the pleasures of our addictions. That is why even on a diet, walking by a bakery can get you into trouble. It is not the great smells, but the memory of how you feel when you eat that cookie/roll, etc. Momentarily. Like a cigarette. Never enough, nope, never enough.

I am willing to bet those on drugs would describe it the same way, just my dad did not do those kinds of drugs.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Joyce/MN
Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:40 PM
toothpick was NOT a good replacement, nor the gum.
Comment: #40
Posted by: Joyce/MN
Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:41 PM
@Michelle -- just a funny true story that you will appreciate (I think). I had a baby at the end of July. I don't smoke, and I did not drink while I was pregnant. We took my MIL to a wine-tasting dinner for Mother's Day. When we made the reservation, we told the restaurant that one person in the party would not be drinking. We happened to be the first group to arrive at the restaurant, so when everyone else came in, I was sitting down, so no one saw my pregnant belly. In the middle of the dinner, I got up to use the restroom. When I got up, no one really noticed me because everyone was eating, talking, laughing, etc. But when I came out of the restroom, it just happened to be during the time when the chef and the wine distributor were discussing the wines and the food, and explaining how and why they were paired, etc., so, of course, it was very quiet in the room. As a result, when I came out of the bathroom, everyone heard me and turned to look. You should have seen the daggers shooting out of people's eyes when they saw the pregnant lady at the wine dinner! Of course, it apparently never occurred to them that I could still come and just enjoy the food and skip the wine. The chef and his wife (who happen to be neighbors of ours, so they were aware of my pregnancy), were joking with us when we left later about the situation, and I laughed and said I'm going to set a new record and be reported to DCF before the baby is even born.

Interestingly, a friend of mine is an OB/GYN (but is not my doctor). He told me that European doctors think we Americans are nuts about all the stuff we tell pregnant women they can't eat, drink, etc. He said he would never tell any of his patients it was OK to drink even just one glass with dinner once a week because, quite frankly, he didn't want to be blamed for it later, but he told me, as a friend, that his wife did, in fact, have an occasional glass of wine during both her pregnancies, and with his blessing. Go figure. And yes, both of his children are perfectly healthy.

Because it would be unethical to run a full-blown experiment with a control group not drinking wine, another group drinking wine in moderation, another group drinking to intoxication, one group that only drank during the first trimester, another that drank only during the second trimester, etc., most (maybe all?) of the studies related to fetal alcohol syndrome are based on surveys, in which they ask women if they drink, how much, at what point, etc., then look at the kids to see what the effects were. In one of the studies, for example, they determined that the key (as Mike H) noted was WHEN they drank and that the AMOUNT didn't matter. But this means that you are relying on the subjects being totally honest/accurate about what they did.

Honestly, I can understand some women being super frustrated with all the rules because some of them really do seem a little out there (you should hear the whole spiel on cheese). As a 40-year-old woman who had miscarried three times before finally carrying a healthy baby to term, when I was pregnant, I knew there were a bunch of risks related to my age that I couldn't control, so I figured any other risks I could control or mitigate, I was going to control or mitigate, so I really did follow all the rules. As annoying and paranoid as some of the rules seemed, it just wasn't that big of a "sacrifice" to me.
Comment: #41
Posted by: Lisa
Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:41 PM
@ Zoe - "won't somebody PLEASE think of our healthcare system, you dirty smokers!" I agree with you. When my company went smokeless a couple of years ago, employees were told that smoking on the premises (including the parking lot) could result in termination of employment. During a very large departmental meeting one now former employee stood up and asked our CEO why smokers were being singled out when obesity was a far greater threat to our health insurance premiums. As someone who could definitely stand to lose some weight; I still had to agree with her.

I work for a very large healthcare system that includes several hospitals in the region, some of which offer bariatric surgery to patients. Guess what? Our health insurance plans - which coverages are determined by our employer - did not cover bariatric surgery at all for employees until very recently. And that after several employees complained. While there are several conditions caused by smoking, most of them will kill you fairly quickly by comparison to the chronic illnesses that don't usually cause death immediately but reduce quality of life, slow productivity for employers, and increase the need for medical care causing insurance premiums to skyrocket that result from poor nutrition and obesity.
Comment: #42
Posted by: sharnee
Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:33 PM
Re: Shirley...Thanx for asking. Let's see if my question, which is tied into your post, "takes" this time. My question is: Why does anybody start smoking in the first place? Same goes for guzzling booze. I'm 63 years old and have never done either one of 'em! Don't have any reason to do either one of 'em. Besides, the cost alone would stop a lot of people, I would think. Btw, whether smokers want to hear this or smoker are a DRUG ADDICT...simply put. The 'drug' in this case is nicotine. I just don't understand, so can anybody *out there* give me an honest (not hateful or snide) answer? Thanx Muchly In Advance, btw. dcd
Comment: #43
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:28 PM
WHY DO PEOPLE START SMOKING TO BEGIN WITH? Same goes for drinking. I'm 63 years old and have never done either one, so I just don't understand what the BIG DEAL is. Sensible answers - not snide, hateful ones - only, pleez. Thank You...
Comment: #44
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:47 PM
@Zoe -- I had never seen that statistic, that a smoker potentially costs the system LESS money because at least the smoker dies quickly, compared with someone who lives longer. I'm not sure I buy it. For one thing, not all centenarians (or nonagenarians, octogenarians or septuagenarians, for that matter) end up dying from a long bout with cancer. So, do some non-smokers and up "costing more" than smokers? Well, I'm sure that happens -- there are lots of different diseases that aren't tied to smoking that cost a lot of money to deal with. But the "cost" of smoking isn't merely about treating lung cancer (or mouth cancer, throat cancer or any other cancer that has been tied to smoking -- and, in fact, it seems like there are a LOT of cancers that don't appear to be related to smoking but that smoking is considered a risk factor for). It's the people who wind up with asthma and other stuff as a result of second-hand smoke. It's the fact (I believe it's a fact -- I will admit up front that I haven't checked these facts) that kids who live with parents who smoke tend to get sick more often. If you start looking at non-health-related issues, there are other costs, as well (the environment, for example -- why is it somehow OK for a smoker to toss a cigarette on the ground and just leave it there as if it isn't trash?). But sticking to just the basic health care question, I suspect that if you compare the "cost" of smokers to the cost of non-smokers (instead of comparing smoking lung cancer patients to, say, non-smoking myeloma patients), I have a hard time believing that, in the end, the non-smokers cost more because, again, not every non-smoker is going to end up dying after a long, costly battle with some other cancer or disease.

But again, I fully admit to being one of those self-righteous non-smokers, so maybe I'm just choosing to believe that smokers are a drain on the system.
Comment: #45
Posted by: Lisa
Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:09 PM
LW2: I was reminded of being at a reunion with the brother of my growing-up boyfriend, and the first thing he said was that the old bf finally got married--"and she looks just like you!" She eventually dumped him for another guy in a very public affair. I had dumped him for another guy myself, at a time when he was saying he might want to marry me someday but... Don't have any idea what his current wife is like.
LW3: A nephew of mine was killed on a motorcycle after drinking with a cousin, who watched him go out their driveway onto a road with a dip that hid a truck. Both of their fathers were known to drink and drive; the victim's father had been injured as a teenager on a motorcycle, and his brother was almost killed ten years later.
LW1: I had a neighbor who died slowly and painfully of lung cancer, and I saw his son and daughter outside the funeral home smoking.
Comment: #46
Posted by: partsmom
Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:10 PM
@Ms Davie -- I've never smoked, so this isn't the voice of experience, but I've always said that anyone from my generation (I'm 40) or younger who decides to smoke is a complete moron, since the health issues related to smoking are now extremely well known. I have compassion for older generations who honestly didn't know any better. A friend of mine, who is my age and who smokes told me she started smoking as a teenager because it was a way to seem more sophisticated. As some regulars here may recall, I mentor a group of college women. A few of them smoke. I asked a couple of them why. The answers varied from "all my friends were smoking," to "it was forbidden fruit -- I knew it would piss my mom off if she knew," to "honestly, I don't know why I started." Another friend of mine who smoked for 20 years and then quit (and now has been a non-smoker for about 20 years) said that when she first started smoking, it was "something to do with my hands and stall for time." Apparently, she was frequently nervous in social situations, and having something "to do" to fill a gap in a conversation or give her time to think of what she wanted to say was a blessing, and smoking a cigarette gave her that. Go figure.

As for drinking...a lot of the answers are the same. I think (today, at least) there's a lot more peer pressure to drink than to smoke. I think there's a big difference, however, between responsible drinking (which shouldn't cause any health or other problems) and binge drinking (and/or drinking specifically to get drunk). I really like the way a glass of a big, bold red wine goes with a hearty steak, for example. So, when I drink, I drink to enhance the eating experience. I don't generally drink alcohol without food because for me, drinking isn't about getting drunk, and indeed, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been drunk, and I have never been falling-down drunk, I have never blacked out, I have never been hung over, and I've never been able to blame any bad behavior on alcohol (which is not to say I haven't done stuff I wish I hadn't done the next day -- it's just that I've done them sober -- it's why I've always told people that the reason I stick to my glass of wine with dinner routine is because I do a good enough job making an @$$ of myself without any help!). Personally, I'm too much of a control freak (with regard to myself) that I don't LIKE to get truly drunk because I like to be in control. But I will admit that on those few occasions when I've been tipsy, it was pleasant.
Comment: #47
Posted by: Lisa
Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:31 PM
Speaking of people telling pregnant women what to do ---

I am a commercial pilot (American citizen), no longer current, who flew into Canada while five months pregnant.
I specifically chose an OB who was formally with the Air Force, and accustomed to pregnant pilots. He cleared me for continued flying.

At the airport, my "baby bump" was noticed, and I was asked if I was pregnant. I happily said yes. I was instantly banned from flying the takeoff, and yelled at for landing while pregnant, and told they were going to inform the FAA to revoke my license. Umm - it's legal to fly pregnant in the US, so nothing happened.

This was during the 1980's. I'm curious if any of the Canadian posters know if their government still doesn't believe that a pregnant woman can be trusted with an airplane. I hope that is past history.
Comment: #48
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:26 PM

re: post #41

I think the reason that US doctors, such as your friend, are reluctant to say that moderate alcohol is reasonably safe to drink while pregnant is fear of lawsuits. If a baby is born with developmental disabilities, the physician who presided over the pregnancy can be subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit for the first eighteen years of the child's life. The results: physicians are subject to massive malpractice premiums and are scared to say anything that could subject them to litigation. Your friend was able to be honest with his wife only because he was reasonably certain that she would not proceed with legal proceedings if the baby was born with a disability.
Comment: #49
Posted by: AWC
Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:28 PM
@ Ms Davie

People start smoking for myriad reasons. For me, it was the occasional cigarette I'd share with plant workers out back while I was traveling for work to build camaraderie. One here, another there. Then when I'd be hanging out with friends at bars where everyone else was smoking (I live in Kentucky, a tobacco producing state...everyone smokes here) I'd crave one. Next thing you know, you're smoking socially. It's very easy for smoking to progress from an occasional occurrence to enjoying a cigarette several times a day or during the week. You get the picture. Habits are weird. Smoking is easy to start but difficult to quit. I will say that going cold turkey is absolutely the best way to go. Just stop buying them and don't go anywhere others are smoking to avoid temptation. It also helps tremendously when friends and family chide you for lighting up and insist you take the filthy habit outside. Smoking isn't much fun when you're standing in a snow bank freezing your bagats off in subzero temperatures. Brrrrrrrrr
Comment: #50
Posted by: Chris
Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:29 PM
Re: Lisa

Regarding the health care costs, it's an averages thing. It's not as simple as the cost of lung cancer vs. heart attack. You also have to consider that someone (a non-smoker) who lives 30 years longer than someone else (a smoker) is going to have 30 years of yearly check ups... pap tests... pills... antibiotics... flu vaccines... cream for eczema... xrays for a broken bone... the cost of living in an old-folks home... federal pension... social security... whatever. Not just final-illness-treatment, but 10, 20, whatever years of health care that a person gets just by existing. And now that obesity is so prevalent, something like 15-25% of people will require diabetes treatment. But not if they die of lung cancer first, you see.

Here are some experts from the article I just googled:

"Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi studied the net costs of smoking-related spending and savings and found that for every pack of cigarettes smoked, the country reaps a net cost savings of 32 cents."

"A Dutch study published last year in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal said that health care costs for smokers were about $326,000 from age 20 on, compared to about $417,000 for thin and healthy people."

Trust me this is NOT a "well smoking is ok if it costs us less money" argument on my part. I'm just debunking that particular argument against smokers.

Today I take exception to some of your comments, dear Lisa, particularly this:

"but I've always said that anyone from my generation (I'm 40) or younger who decides to smoke is a complete moron"

Also relevant to Ms. Davie's question.

The thing is, people don't generally "decide" to smoke. No one gets up one morning and says "you know, today I'm going to start an expensive habit that will end up killing me at age 59 from lung cancer!" and marches proudly into their day. Everyone thinks they are invincible. You don't think that having one cigarette will turn you into a chain smoker, just as having one beer won't turn you into an alcohol, and having one joint won't turn you into a drug addict, and having a big mac won't turn you into an obese ball of cholesterol. The problem is that for many people cigarettes do do that - it's very easy to go from one here or there to social smoking... then you buy a pack and smoke those in a week... then half a week... Kind of the same way that you might gain a pound, and another, and next thing you know you're at risk for diabetes and you really have to work hard to shed those love handles.

I personally quite like smoking on occasion. I don't do it enough to get addicted, often spending weeks at a time without one... then chain smoking for a night with friends, and even if I spend a week or two smoking daily I find I can just stop and not crave them. But I can see how it could easily turn into an addiction, especially for someone whose brain craves the nicotine.

And by the way Ms. Davie many people drink alcohol without "guzzling booze" as you so eloquently put it. I have an alcoholic drink or two when I go out dancing because it loosens things up (not my legs LOL) and makes it easier to just get into the dancing and have fun. This is maybe once a month. My grandparents have a glass of wine with dinner every night, and a scotch and soda every evening - it is their "guilty" pleasure (that, and some French gossip tabloid magazine). They are healthy people and do not get drunk and are not alcoholics.

If you paint every addictive substance as a DRUG and anyone who consumes it as DRUG ADDICT then we're all drug addicts. Drink coffee or tea every day? Dirty druggie. Have a piece of dark chocolate as your regular evening snack? NO, Not in front of your kids! Don't even get me started on those sickos who have a granola bar mid-morning to keep that blood sugar up.

In fact this brings me to something else I wanted to mention...

Lisa, this is sort of in response to your contention that people should know enough not to smoke now as well...

By the time I hit high school this trend was starting to fade - but do you remember the "marijuana is a gateway drug" campaign? The one that taught if you smoked a joint your brain would fry ("this is your brain on pot..."). Heck even recently I saw a commercial basically saying that if you smoke a joint at a party you will get in trouble at school, fight with your family and ruin your life. But kids like to experiment, obviously. So a kid tries a joint, or a beer, or has sex, whatever the taboo-du-jour is, realizes his brain didn't liquefy out his ears and he didn't kill anyone or burn down his school. Now everything, all those warnings, becomes questioned. They are no longer taken seriously. Surely you remember thinking "psh, grownups, whatever" when you were told you'd kill yourself eating just chips all night, or put your eye out with that, or fall off your skateboard, or get pregnant giving a guy a BJ. Because you knew that on some level they were exaggerating. Our hypothetical kid now knows that, too.

"I was able to have a beer without my life falling apart" this kid might think, "I'm sure I can have a cigarette and not become addicted". And BAM. Smoker.
Comment: #51
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:37 PM
@Ms. Davie, regarding alcohol, I like the taste. I enjoy many different kinds of wine, for nice, relaxing meals with friends. I also enjoy cocktails -- Cosmopolitans most of the time, lately, although if I'm at a Mexican restaurant I'll certainly enjoy a margarita, or a Mai Tai at an Asian restaurant.

I've tried all sorts of different "booze" in my time, although I don't really "guzzle" it, because I have better table manners than that. ;-)

Beyond the taste, drinking in moderation does also provide a pleasant, mellowing sensation.

There's even a growing amount of research suggesting that drinking in moderation provides significant health benefits.

So, plenty of different reasons for people to drink alcohol, although I can only speak for myself, of course.
Comment: #52
Posted by: Mike H
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:09 PM
Re: Mike H...I think you know what I"m getting at here. When "social drinking" becomes a celebration because a leaf feel off a tree in October, then you've got a problem.
Comment: #53
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:14 PM
Re: Chris...I'm live in Tennessee, in a county that borders KY. I thought you'd like to know that not "everybody in KY" smokes! I have some long-time friends who are from the Murray area who have NEVER smoked, so what you're saying is a ridiculous assumption on your part. On that note, I sure will be glad when smoking in KY restaurants is banned.
Comment: #54
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:19 PM
To "One Who Knows" - If you were "a raging alcoholic" as you stated then guess what - you still are... No one is cured of alcoholism however, you can live a sober productive lifestyle based following some basic steps. You should know that any alcoholic (or drunk as you prefer to be known) can have a daily reprieve if they choose to be honest about their recovery. You seem to be doing it but if you believe you did this on your own then you may really be just one drink away from your next drunk. We alcoholics must realize we cannot live someone else's sobriety; we must live our own.
Comment: #55
Posted by: Jake
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:27 PM
Re: Lisa...The dangers of smoking were first brought to light in the early '60s - I remember that quite well; I was a teen=ager - but many people had already become "suspicious" (for lack of a better word) way before that but by then, they were already addicted and most refused to even consider quitting. However, I still fail to see the logic in even starting this filthy habit. The *reasons* for starting and continuing smoking...excuses, actually...just don't ring true, at least not to me.
Comment: #56
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:27 PM
Ms Davie, I think it's a ridiculous assumption on your part to think that Chris actually thinks that literally every single human being in the state of Kentucky smokes.

No, I don't think we know what you're getting at. You painted drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes with the same brush, implying that if you start one or the other you are bound to become addicted and therefore a drug addict ("Why does anybody start smoking in the first place? Same goes for guzzling booze.") The reason a person might become an alcoholic is not usually the same reason that a person will become addicted to cigarettes.
Comment: #57
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:28 PM
Re: Ms. Davie,

I am presently not a smoker; however, my parents have smoked my entire life. My mother quit while she was pregnant with me, but started again right after the pregnancy cause she just could not resist with my father smoking around her. They both smoked in the house and around me my entire youth, so I am certain I have the lungs of a smoker. I use to smoke when I was in seventh grade. I remember exactly how I got started. My best friend had swiped a pack of cigarrettes and we were hanging out in the streets (my youth was not supervised very strictly... my parents were too busy hovering over my older sister who was WAY out of control, so I was like a ghost). It was starting to get dark when my best friend remarked, "Hey, I have a pack of cigarrettes I swiped, let's go to the park." When we got to the park, it was pitch black. She started smoking a cigarrette and handed me one. I remember staring at the cigarrette thinking, "It doesn't really matter if I start smoking, cause my lungs are already screwed from my parents... Besides, they can't tell me not to smoke if they smoke," so I tried one. It was my first cigarrette ever. After that, I smoked several times a week for about five months straight, but then I stopped smoking cold turkey and have never touched a single cigarrette since then- and I never will! I despise smoking and the smell of it. I quit back then because I was smoking one day when I thought to myself how boring it was just standing there sucking on a stick and how much time I was wasting in my life.

As for drinking, I don't drink. I cannot because of medical reasons. If I were to have some alcohol, it could put me in the hospital. It is a shame because I really love the taste of wine, especially home made red wine. When we are out, I will sip on the wine a little bit which my husband orders. I never have more than a teaspoon out of fear of ending up in the hospital again. It is annoying when I am out with friends and/or relative, and they will start playing beer pong or some other alcohol game. They'll start trying to pressure me into playing and I don't want to say, "I have a medical condition," cause it will ruin the mood of the party, plus it is embarrassing. The couple of times I did, they just ignored me and still put on the pressure commenting that a couple of beers wouldn't hurt. That's why I don't really go to group hangouts anymore. Since practically everyone my age drinks and the social hangout scene consists of alcohol, my social circle remains limited to my husband's social circle, cause he'll tell them to back off in a heart beat for me.

I don't really like the taste of beer anyways. My father let me take a sip of mother's beer when I was about seven. Being that young, I hated the taste and had no desire to drink beer all through high school. The repulsion has lasted to this day. Beer tastes like urine..
Comment: #58
Posted by: Maria
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:32 PM
To "One Who Knows" - If you were "a raging alcoholic" as you stated then guess what - you still are... No one is cured of alcoholism however, you can live a sober productive lifestyle based following some basic steps. You should know that any alcoholic (or drunk as you prefer to be known) can have a daily reprieve if they choose to be honest about their recovery. You seem to be doing it but if you believe you did this on your own then you may really be just one drink away from your next drunk. We alcoholics must realize we cannot live someone else's sobriety; we must live our own.
Comment: #59
Posted by: Jake
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:33 PM
Ms Davie, I don't understand you. You asked a fair and reasonable question ("why would anyone start such a bad habit, knowing the risks and costs") to which you received fair and reasonable responses from (former) smokers (Chris, myself, maybe others). And now you're saying we're lying for some reason? You believe in some great slow suicide conspiracy or something? Or perhaps that we are all big tobacco company robots out there to perpetuate the myth that smoking is cool, non-addictive, but impossible to quit?

I'll break it down for you:

Step 1 - In your foolish youth, you think "the rumors of cigarette addiction are highly exaggerated" and proceed to have a smoke because everyone else is, or it looks cool, or because your parents do and it's just a thing that happens in your home, or you think it will tick off your parents, or for no reason at all (teenagers are weird).

Step 2 - You have one cigarette and wake up the next day without a craving. You have a couple more here and there and still you do not feel addicted. You think "well, I'm 19 - I can smoke a bit when I'm 19, whatever, I'll definitely quit in a couple years"

Step 3 - You continue to smoke when the opportunity comes up, eventually buying your own packs, and smoking every day. You go from buying a pack a month, thinking "it's less than one a day!" to "I smoke a couple a day" to "holy crap, I finished a pack in less than a week? Better pick up another on my way home." And then "a couple years" comes and goes and you now have a pack-a-day habit.

Hopefully, step 4 is quitting. Many, many people start smoking and quit when they are still young. Many others do not, in part because of the myth that quitting is so hard. From what I understand, it's not easy, but it's possible. I have heard many people say "had I known how easy it would be, I would have quit years ago!" I think that for some, the idea of quitting is daunting enough to keep them from even trying.

It's as easy as that Ms Davie. But since you know better and apparently have never, ever made a bad choice or indulged in a vice, perhaps you can enlighten us all with the TRUE reasons we are too weak-minded to come up with ourselves. Or perhaps you can write a book saying just "smoking is illogical! your excuses are lies!" - I am sure you will make millions! Please give me credit though as I just wrote it.
Comment: #60
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:43 PM
Okay everyone... let's not get to the point of where it was yesterday in the argument over curse words.

I think what Ms. Davie was trying to say is, she does not understand why people start smoking or drinking given the risk of addiction and the poor health which comes with addiction, especially with all the knowledge out there.

It is a given you can drink alcohol and not become addicted, yes. There is a risk in people with addictive personalities, sure, but you can enjoy alcohol in moderation without addiction. I'm sure most can agree with this; however, it is true if you become addicted to alcohol or cigarrettes, then you are technically a drug addict. I think this is what she was getting at, the fact people tend to brush over this because these things are legal to consume.

And to Ms. Davie, I think others are getting mad because you are wording your sentences in a bit of a condescending manner. You are not blatantly cursing or calling anyone names, but the wording is a bit condescending in a way to let everyone know you (at least appear to) looke down on anyone who smokes or drinks.

I'm only putting this out there in the hopes you guys won't have an all out war again today...
Comment: #61
Posted by: Maria
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:47 PM
This is really strange. I made three to chris, one to Lise and one to Mike response to their posts about smoking and excessive drinking and all three of my posts showed up immediately. NOW, about 45 minutes later, they're gone!!! Weird ~ REALLY weird. (Wonder if this one will make it.)
Comment: #62
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:54 PM
Re: Zoe...No assumptions on my part here, toots. chris said that "everybody in KY" smokes. Go back and read it. I didn't make that up. And YES most folks will know just exactly what I'm getting at in regard to drinking. My experience in the medical field is the basis for my knowledge about these two addictions and how they get started. Btw, have you ever seen a heavy drinker (alcoholic?) who DIDN'T smoke, too? One may exist but I've never seen him.her.
Comment: #63
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:00 PM
Re: Maria

What is annoying me is that she asked a reasonable question, got reasonable answers, and then proceeded to call us liars. I have this vision of a lady standing in place with her eyes squeezed shut and her fingers in her ears, just saying "THAT MAKES NO SENSE" over and over. No, it doesn't make sense. But it still happens. There are so many things that people do that is bad for their health that makes no sense - not exercising, overeating, etc. It seems a bit silly to focus on smoking like it's the most evil thing in the world when a) it's a personal choice and b) very few people do it these days (at least around these parts - I see smokers, sure, but I don't feel surrounded or anything). It hardly seems worth getting in a tizzy about.

I totally agree with the idea that no one should smoke because so many people do it too much. Honestly, it should just be illegal. But there's still too much money in it right now.

Re: Ms. Davie

I see your posts to Mike H and Chris, and one to Lisa (not Lise)... scroll up. My gigantic post is probably blocking the view.
Comment: #64
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:01 PM
Re: Ms Davie

I read what Chris said, yes. But I have the wherewithal to recognize literary license when I see it and I never once for a moment thought he thought that every single person in KY smokes. If I said "I ate a TON of cake at that party today!" would you really think I literally consumed 2000 lbs of cake? Come on...

Then tell me... how do these addictions get started? Apparently your "experience" in the "medical field" have provided you a magic answer, yet you felt the need to ask the question and gave the impression that you were truly seeking insight from experience ("My question is: Why does anybody start smoking in the first place?... I just don't understand, so can anybody *out there* give me an honest answer? Thanx Muchly In Advance.") but if you know the answer anyway, I'm all ears, truly.

My mother is a heavy drinker and does not smoke. Bad habits often go hand in hand, but like love and sex, and oreos and milk, you can have one without t'other. I know many heavy drinkers who do not smoke, and heavy smokers that do not drink, and many who do both. And many who do neither.
Comment: #65
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:10 PM
Re: Zoe...Which drug - my caffeine (1 cup of coffee in the morning and 1 glass of tea with lunch) or your nicotine-laden cigarettes or liquor - is more likely to kill a person?
Comment: #66
Posted by: Ms Davie
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:12 PM
Re: Ms Davie
Umm, yeah!!! “Btw, have you ever seen a heavy drinker (alcoholic?) who DIDN'T smoke, too? One may exist but I've never seen him.her.” I have posted the death of my father due to alcoholism – he NEVER smoked. I now question your *experience* in the medical field since I met many people at AA (with my father), and I know for sure that although common, not ALL were smokers. You need to be careful now, Ms Davie, you're getting personal on a matter I just proved you are not as knowledgeable about as you think.
Comment: #67
Posted by: Jenna
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:20 PM
Ummm, Ms. Davie.... Having experience in the medical profession does not grant "all knowing" knowledge into the field of addictions. It grants knowledge into the health ramnifications of tobacco and alcohol, but only someone who has suffered addiction, either personally or through watching a loved one, can truly gain knowledge into addiction. This is why the best addiction counselors are former addicts.

I also have a degree in the medical field, and I've worked at a psych facility for a little while where I dealt with a lot of addicts. I can truly say I could not relate to them at all because I was never an addict, nor did I experience it through a loved one... until my sister became addicted to drugs. Only then could I look at the family and say, "Oh, that's why the family is like that." Treating someone who is an addict in the medical field is different from experiencing an addict or an addiction. It won't make sense until you live it. There are no words to help you understand. Plus, every person is different and their experiences with addiction will all be a little bit different, as well as their reasons for starting.

Oh, and Chris really was just joking. He was not being literal about it.
Comment: #68
Posted by: Maria
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:25 PM
Re: Ms Davie

Exactly my point. Just saying "you're addicted to a drug, you drug addict!" because someone smokes socially or has a glass of wine a day doesn't make it deadly or even bad. If you can't call a wrench a wrench, it is hard to take you seriously.

And btw, if I have a couple cigarettes once or twice a month for five years (which is accurate - I have a couple smokes when I go out dancing, which is once a month, maybe twice) , and you (the "royal" you) have three cups of coffee a day with cream and sugar for life, you may well end up doing more damage to yourself than I am. And guess what, YOU would be the drug addict in this exercise, because smoking 2 to 4 cigarettes a month is not enough to develop an addiction. I still think that cigarettes should be illegal. But you can twist anything to seem evil and deadly if you try hard enough... but then people stop taking you seriously (referring to teens who think: "I had a beer and the world did not end - grownups must exaggerate about everything!")
Comment: #69
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:32 PM
I always wonder if the people I see on these sites are even half as rude and condescending in face-to-face conversations. I bet that most would not have the nerve to be so ugly in person, but feel pretty impressed wtih themselves with the nastiness they spew forth while hiding behind their keyboards.

Very very sad.

Comment: #70
Posted by: Shirl
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:44 PM
Re: Shirl

Depends on the person. I love a good debate whether in person or online, but the difference being that in person you can usually see I'm smiling, and it's not as necessary to be as long winded because I can see right away if someone has understood what I'm saying and can stop giving examples or whatever. But essential, I'm as horrible in person as I am online ;)
Comment: #71
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:49 PM
More importantly, Shirl, do you go up to people engaged in face-to-face conversations and tell them they are being mean and nasty to each other and that they are making you sad, and ask them "would you have the nerve to be so ugly if your mother were here?" To which I would say "my momma made this face, would YOU have the nerve to call ME ugly if she were here?"

In my head I'd like to think that you would (and I'm not that snappy with my comebacks - I don't think too fast on my feet, apparently), but realistically you'd probably see the body language, the back and forth, the facial expressions, the laughter, and think "wow, those two are really engaged in lively debate and clearly not agreeing at this particular moment in the discussion - I guess I'll go mind my own business for a few minutes and when I come back everyone will be friends again because they are both grownups who are probably pretty normal but sometimes get carried away as normal, flawed people are sometimes wont to do."
Comment: #72
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:57 PM
I hope I don't come off as rude or condescending in either places: online or in person. I'm pretty much the same person offline as I am online. The only difference is it is easier for me to "talk" online since I am not face to face, as talking face to face makes me nervous and "close up" a bit since I am so shy/ introverted. I try not to hurt people whether in person or not. It's harder to read people online cause there's no voice to go with the words. It's easier to take people the wrong way.

But essentially, let's all move on with our lives. There's a point where one must roll their eyes, say "whatever", and move on.
Comment: #73
Posted by: Maria
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:04 PM
Re: Zoe,

Really, you guys were debating? Seemed like an argument cause of the wording in both of you guys' posts. Ah, well, whatever. lol. Either way, it was amusing (unlike yesterday's curse word thing) which is why I was following along posting.
Comment: #74
Posted by: Maria
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:12 PM
Re: Zoe,

Really, you guys were debating? Sounded like an argument from the wording. Ah, well, whatever. lol. Either way I enjoyed you guys debate (unlike yesterday's curse word bit) which is why I've been following along and posting.

Also if this posts under Jenna, this is not her. It is Maria... not sure why her name is up instead of mine.
Comment: #75
Posted by: Maria
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:18 PM
Re: Maria

I don't remember if I was arguing or not... hehe, probably! Still, I think it was reasonably within the realm of "animated debate that we'll all be over quite quickly" and not quite to the point of "soul-crushing vulgar battle" as dramatically illustrated by Shirl.

And to be sure, except for a couple of "really she can't be serious" moments, I had fun (still waiting on that magic answer btw Ms Davies! ;) )

The girls at work sometimes say "you know, I didn't come here to debate about ____, I just wanted to borrow a pen!" to which I say "well don't bring up some arse-backwards wrong statistic, then." But it's all in good fun, you see. Or, even better, a big debate will start and then end ten minutes later, with both of us grudgingly accepting that we are on the same page but we had to talk it through to get there. Probably during a cigarette break ;) ;)

Oh - sometimes when I post it will say the name of someone else above me, but it always posts under my name properly. I don't worry about it anymore.
Comment: #76
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:39 PM
Re: Zoe
I'm not sad in the least. I stp[ by these sites now and then and scroll throught the comments, where I see the same people posting all day long, day after day, sniping back and forth at each other. There are some comments from those who actually have good points regarding the letters, but they are usually lost amidst the bickering.

It is sad, but also mildly amusing, and I will continue to stop by occassionally, to renind myself how good life is in the real world.

I'm going to bed now. Feel free to share some more about what a fun happy person you are.

G'night all!
Comment: #77
Posted by: Shirl
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:06 PM
Re: Maria, 58-i don't think i want to know how you know beer tastes like urine. i agree with you that i don't like the taste at all. maybe, now i know why. ben franklin may have said, 'beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy' but jesus' first miracle was water to wine. i will continue to enjoy my occasional glass of wine with dinner.

i started to smoke in 1961 at the age of 11, before the surgeon general's report. i started smoking because my father was supposed to quit but didn't. every once in a while he would forget and leave a pack of cigarettes out and i would hide them before my mother could find them. one day, my mother found them before i did. i told her they were mine. that's when i started and i took to it like a duck takes to water. i eventually quit a three-pack-a-day habit about 25 years later. cold turkey. i'd have my moments where i'd fall off the tobacco wagon, but i'd stop again and eventually, it 'took'. what really frosts my cupcakes is that after nagging me and generally making my life miserable about the damn cigarettes, my sons both started smoking. you can say all you want about joe camel, but my kids didn't start smoking because of a cartoon. they started because of the marlboro miles catalogs. to send for a catalog, the older one lied and said he was 18. i called marlboro and told them he lied and that he was under 18 and please stop sending them. they refused to stop sending them until i went to the post office and reported it. i was told the only way i could have mail blocked is if it's pornography. i told them that i thought peddling cigarettes to children was pornography. they saw my point and we never had another marlboro catalog at our house. son2 has since quit, but son1 is still smoking.
Comment: #78
Posted by: alien07110
Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:15 AM
Re: Shirl

Well gee whiz, are you sad, or are you mildly amused? Let me know next time you swing by to make yourself feel better about your life.You might want to try volunteering; it is a great morale booster!
Comment: #79
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:46 AM
@Zoe -- I'd like to say that I meant no offense when I said anyone who starts smoking (present day) is a complete moron, but obviously, it's hard to suggest that there's ever a way to use the word "moron" in anything but an offensive way. So, I'm sorry that I offended and certainly can't blame you for being offended. It was judgmental name-calling on my part. But... in essence, I stand by what I said.

I do understand that teenagers think they're invincible -- it's why they try some of the stupidest things on earth -- like laying down in the middle of a busy street to see if they can replicate a stunt scene they saw in a movie without getting hurt. But just because they think they're young and "it can't happen to me" and all that jazz doesn't mean they don't CHOOSE to smoke. Sure, they don't think of it as CHOOSING to get addicted or CHOOSING to get cancer (though I'm sure not all smokers get cancer -- some of them, for example, end up dying in a bizarre car accident because they tried to replicate a stunt scene they saw in a movie). But the fact of the matter is, they ARE CHOOSING to smoke, and you can't tell me they aren't fully aware of what the potential dangers are. It's just that through the miracles of magical thinking (something adolescents are particularly good at) they think it won't happen to them. Sorry, I hate to offend, but that's stupid.

Congratulations to you, I guess, that you are able to occasionally smoke without getting addicted. I would suggest that you are playing with fire, and I respectfully (and I'm not being facetious -- I really AM saying this respectfully) would suggest you think long and hard about why you would continue to play with fire. A friend of mine and his wife were both long-time, heavy, chain smokers. One day (after they had children) they decided to try to quit together. The husband just stopped smoking -- and like magic, he was a non-smoker. It was easy as pie for him to quit. His wife, on the other hand, had a major struggle, like what you normally hear about when it comes to quitting, but she did quit. Some years later, the husband was in a stressful situation and had a hankering for a cigarette. Since it was so easy for him to quit before, he figured there was no harm in grabbing a quick smoke, and then he would just quit again. Well, that was more than 10 years ago, and he's been smoking like a chimney ever since and has tried to quit several times and just can't do it. [The wife, on the other hand, is still clean.] He knew the risks, and he's not a stupid man (nor is he a teenager) -- but I have told him, to his face, that he's an idiot. And guess what? He agrees and was not offended. He'd be the first to tell you that was an idiotic CHOICE he made.

So, while I understand that teenagers, who have the excuse of being stupid by virtue of being teenagers, can know the risks and just magically think it won't happen to them and start smoking, I would submit that's still a choice, and in the interest of being non-offensive, let's just say the choice is not a smart one. And I would submit that it's an even less smart choice for a full-fledged adult to make.

I supposed one could argue (as Ms. Davie has), that I am equally "not smart" for choosing to drink alcohol, since there is a risk of becoming addicted to that, as well. I would say the difference here is that at least with the kind of alcohol I imbibe (red wine -- don't really drink anything else), there are NUMEROUS studies that show that drinking in moderation can actually be beneficial. I do not believe (but could be wrong -- again, I have not taken the time to check my facts on this) there is a single study that shows that smoking in moderation can actually be beneficial. I also believe (but again, could be wrong here) that alcohol is not considered to be nearly as addictive as nicotine, so the risk of addiction is less.
Comment: #80
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:55 AM
"f you paint every addictive substance as a DRUG and anyone who consumes it as DRUG ADDICT then we're all drug addicts."
Reminds me of one of my friends who used to call me a drug addict when I was on Tylenol extra-strength 24/7 after the accident. Now, can you GUESS WHO was screeching for relief at the hospital when she had a cyst removed and she developed a HUGE migraine? Ironically, what they gave her was a lot stronger (and addictive) than what she was calling me a drug addict about!

"Ms Davie, I don't understand you. You asked a fair and reasonable question "
I think the question Ms Davie was "asking" was really a rhetorical one, and a bit of an editorial in question form. Personally, I am now sometimes quite revulsed by the smell of smoke but, having been a smoker myself in the past, I know pretty well why people start to smoke. There are many possible reasons, as was stated by several posters. Very often, the kids to that because it makes them feel adult.

"I have heard many people say "had I known how easy it would be, I would have quit years ago!""
And I have heard many other says, "had I known how hard it would, I never would have started"! For me it was easy enough once I got past the asthma attack hurdle, but for others, not so much. Depends on the people.

2-4 cigarettes a month... You are what is called an occasional smoker. Less than a light smoker, less than a social smoker. Really, REALLY not the end of the world. Not any more harmful than just stepping out and breathing pollution.

@Mike H
"There's even a growing amount of research suggesting that drinking in moderation provides significant health benefits."
Cheeses aplenty, both on the table and into the recipe, sauces, butter, cream, pastries... French cuisine is very fattening and ought to be a one way ticket to the coronary. And yet it is not. Consistent research has it (although it cannot explain it) that it is the daily consumation of wine in moderation that offsets the French in their eating habits, especially red wine, which I seem to recall is packed with anti-oxidants. Dang - I prefer white and rose myself...

"Beer tastes like urine.."
Yeah, well, perhaps that north American commercial beer that goes flat in a minute... Irish, Belgian AND Quebec micro-brewery beers most certainly don't! ;-D

P.S.: How did you get to compare the tastes? I'll take your word for it. LOL
Joking aside, I think what you really mean is that beer tastes like what you THINK urine will taste like... re-LOL.

"I also believe (but again, could be wrong here) that alcohol is not considered to be nearly as addictive as nicotine, so the risk of addiction is less."
I haven't seen any hard data on the matter either, but the effects of whatever will vary, depending on the individual. Some people are more sensitive to one substance than to another, some people are more "addictive" than others... It's not a one-size-fits-all.

Comment: #81
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:15 AM
Re: Lisa

I wasn't offended. I've made broad proclamations of that sort before I never mean to target individual people, but rather an action, choice, whatever. I figured you were doing the same.

"Sorry, I hate to offend, but that's stupid."

It IS stupid - absolutely. But you know who are some of the stupidest people on earth? Teenagers. You can SAY it's stupid and illogical till the cows come home but they are going to ignore you because adults exaggerate the dangers of things (sex, drugs, alcohol) all the time, and don't get taken seriously. They happen to be right about cigarettes, but not much else. They know the risks of smoking, but they don't understand that addiction is hard to resist. Most teens have not grappled with real addiction to anything before and don't really understand how hard it is to go against what your brain tells you you want, so they have no concept of it, of how easy it is to become addicted and how hard it is to stop.

"Congratulations to you, I guess, that you are able to occasionally smoke without getting addicted."

But I know many who can do this - I have a relatively small network of family and friends and yet I can think of nine people off the top of my (6 family, 3 friends) who smoke occasionally (let's call it one to twenty cigarettes or cigars per year). I just think that we're socially conditioned to think in black and white - either someone is a smoker, or they aren't. There is no well described middle ground for the many, many people who can have the odd cigarette or cigar. On the other hand, if you ask someone if they drink alcohol and they say yes, you don't automatically think "dirty alcoholic!" and yet there are something like 18,000,000 alcoholics in the U.S.

"would suggest you think long and hard about why you would continue to play with fire."

I can tell you why - I really enjoy it! Same reason I like to watch Star Trek, eat Snickers bars and have the odd rum-n-diet. I'm not under any illusions that it's good for me, but I'm a big advocate of "anything in moderation". Bad habits are what you make of them. They don't HAVE to become addictions.

Your friend is an interesting example. I am far less tolerant of people who quit/resume smoking ad nauseum like a fellow in my office who, for four years, would quit for a week, then start again for a week. Each "off" week he was irritable and heck. He has finally quit, thank goodness.

I don't see the difference being the healthfullness of a habit. I have a rum and diet coke typically when I go out. I don't think there is anything too healthy about that but I'm hardly worried. I'm not doing it to be healthy, I'm doing it to have fun. Watching a movie on the couch isn't healthy, nor is having a piece of cake, but no one gets lynched for that.

Smoking can reduce your risk of Alzheimers, so that's something, I guess.

I don't think that ANYONE is trying to argue that smoking is good for you. Or that starting to do it is anything but a stupid choice. Or that it's the same thing as having a glass of wine. All I'm saying is:

- It's a personal choice
- People get WAY too upset about what other people do when it comes to smoking
- It's possible to smoke sometimes without being a smoker all the time
- Smokers cost the health care system less than non-smokers
- People of all walks of life and all levels of intelligence can start smoking at any time, and no amount of saying "but that makes no SENSE" will change that
- Smoking and fast food should be illegal because so many people can't seem to manage to do it in moderation on their own

And Lisa, you know this smoking fellow better than I do so maybe calling him an idiot is fine in your relationship, but fat people wouldn't want to be called fat and people of lower intelligence wouldn't want to be called stupid... I'm sure they aren't harbouring any illusions about themselves about it but it's not nice to hear, and it's rude to say it. That is what I mean with point #2 that I made above (vilifying anyone within shouting distance of a cigarette) - it's rude to call a fat person stupid for if you see them eating french fries, but calling a smoker an idiot is OK?

As our world gets more and more PC, we run out of villains so we find them where we can because for some reason people need to hate on something. That's why it's considered ok by some to rag on smokers for their PERSONAL choice (sometimes the raggers are obese - but somehow one is okay but the other isn't), and why all our killing movies are about zombies (not so long ago it was the Japanese, the Nazis, the blacks that ate our bullets).

But zombies and smokers are people too, you know.
Comment: #82
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:24 AM
@Zoe, far better to be supportive of smokers (and overeaters) to help them make healthier choices than to vilify them -- unless, that is, they are doing more than simply making their own choice, and if their choice affects others.

I was reminded of this on my recent trip to Asia -- we went to Hong Kong and Thailand, and smoking is more common in both places than it is here. So I encountered several instances of people smoking in public, blowing smoke near me, and dropping their butts anywhere on the sidewalk or ground.

If smoking affected no one else other than the smoker, it'd be one thing. But that's not the case, and that's partly why some people get upset. It's different from drinking or eating fast food in that respect. Someone can drink next to me and I don't get drunk; someone can eat a Big Mac next to me and I don't get fat. But a smoker smoking next to me? Definitely affects me, almost immediately. I get smoke in my lungs, in my eyes, in my clothes, and it's *nasty*.

So -- to a *degree* -- it is understandable if people get more upset over smoking than some other personal choices.
Comment: #83
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:52 PM
Re: Mike H

Sure, I agree with you on that. Like any other type of person, smokers can be very rude. I don't like it when people smoke indoors, for example. But I could say the same thing for people who wear too much perfume, or change their babies on a table at a restaurant, or idle their vans in the parking garage, or heat up left-over fish in the microwave at work. It's not the same as smoking, I know, but it falls into the same vein of "do what you want, but don't subject me to it." But even if they don't follow that golden rule, I don't feel it's okay to start being rude to someone because you don't like what they are doing.

Besides, people who are obese often have overweight or obese children, so I would argue that obesity DOES affect the people around you. Not in the same way, but you eating McDs thrice a day can be a death sentence for your child if you don't change your eating habits.

Regardless, smoking is bad, I'm not disputing that. And I understand why people are bothered. But I find someone who is morbidly obese less pleasant to be around thank a smoker. I'd rather be a smoker than obese. But I don't get to call fat people idiots because I find it frustrating when fat people eat fattening food. Each person is worthy of respect regardless of their poor choices.
Comment: #84
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:38 PM
@Zoe -- You make some excellent points, and I think for the most part, we actually agree on the big picture. I guess I don't think of saying "choosing to smoke is stupid" as vilifying them. I'm not saying I hate smokers or that smokers should be tarred and feathered, and I'm certainly not saying they should be killed or harmed in any way. I'm saying the decision to smoke is a stupid one. One that people are, of course, perfectly welcome to make, as it is legal.

And OF COURSE it's rude to call someone an idiot, but the context, both in terms of the conversation itself and the relationship with my friend is key. I would NEVER go up to some person I've never met before and know nothing about and just say, "you're an idiot." In addition to it being rude, I potentially run the risk of getting the crap beaten out of me! Perhaps I should have said, "choosing to smoke, knowing all of the consequences, is a stupid thing to do" -- same message but no name calling.

The man I was talking about is an AMAZING person. Grew up dirt poor, was the first in his family (of more than 10 kids) to get a college degree and has been incredibly successful in business and the way he has chosen to give back to his community is phenomenal. Truly, he's an outstanding person, and I both admire and respect him a lot. But like anyone, he's not perfect, and among his "imperfections" was the incredibly stupid decision to start smoking, and the even more stupid decision to start smoking AGAIN after successfully quitting for something like 10 years. When I met him, he'd already been smoking again for a good five years or more. I didn't (initially) know that he had ever successfully quit. When he told me the story, I said, "oh, man, you are an idiot!" The tone of that, however, wasn't "you stinking jerk, you are repulsive and I feel dirty just being next to you." The tone of that was, "oh, man, that SUCKS! What were you thinking?" I'm having a hard time infusing this typed message with the "tone" -- but it was honestly more a compassionate "what were you thinking" than a judgmental thing. And apparently he got that, because his response was, "oh yeah, I am a MAJOR idiot." And then we moved on to other subjects. And we're still friends. And although he knows I think the world of him in a lot of other respects, on this one topic, I think he's made an exceedingly bad choice.

Obesity -- which, frankly, probably is the much bigger problem, both in terms of number of people who are obese and the cost to the healthcare system -- is a whole other kettle of fish. There are people out there who, if they were to smoke just one cigarette, they would be addicted -- but fortunately, they don't ever have to find that out the hard way, if they simply choose not to smoke. On the other hand, no one can simply choose not to eat. Eating food is necessary to our existence. Smoking is not. No one can go through life without ever having had something to eat. You can, however, go through life without ever having had a cigarette. Don't get me wrong -- there are a lot of people out there making some insanely bad eating choices, and they are just as responsible/accountable for those bad eating choices as the smoker is for choosing to smoke.

@Mike H -- I didn't think to bring that up, and you're absolutely right. When the guy sitting next to me eats 12 deep-fried twinkies, it doesn't affect me (well, I might be grossed out -- but I don't have to watch him), but when he breaks out the cigarette and starts puffing away, it does affect me. I do think that's why people get a whole lot more riled up by someone smoking than someone eating an entire cheesecake in five minutes.
Comment: #85
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:27 PM
Re: Lisa

I dunno, I'm more bothered by fatty there eating 12 twinkies than skinny smoker smokin a cigarette ;)

But yes, I agree, we are on the same page, really. Smoking = bad!

I once heard someone about food addiction say something like: you can quit a drug or alcohol if you want to, but try quitting it if you have to consume a small amount of it each and every day.

I had never thought of it that way before. I almost feel bad eating a cupcake now but it's so small I think it's okay.
Comment: #86
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:29 PM
Re: Zoe-
'Smoking can reduce your risk of Alzheimers, so that's something, I guess.'

huh? unless it's because smokers may not live long enough to get alzheimers, i'd like to know where you heard this. please understand, this is not said in a snarling, confrontational manner. i'm really interested in knowing more about this. i worked so hard to quit and now smoking really nauseates me, but if it really does reduce the risk of alzheimer's, i might start chewing nicorette.
Comment: #87
Posted by: alien07110
Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:59 AM
@Zoe Post #82
Everything you said is perfectly true. The only thing I might want to add is that the reason why fat people, alcoholics and unintelligent people may be a lot less vilified than smokers is that obesity, alcoholism and a low IQ are not conditions the sufferer automatically forces on his entourage.

Every time a smoker smokes next to me, he's forcing ME to smoke as well. I'm all for smokers to exercise their right to personal choice - as long as they don't drag me into it. Just like your right to stretch stops at your neighbours' noses, your right to smoke stops at their lungs.

"I don't feel it's okay to start being rude to someone because you don't like what they are doing."
Depends on what it is they're doing. If they're doing something detrimental to their neighbours, then THEY are being rude (and selfish, and destructive), and I don't see why they should deserve to be spared.

"Besides, people who are obese often have overweight or obese children, so I would argue that obesity DOES affect the people around you. "
Be careful about that, you just made an error of logic - faulty cause-to-effect relationship. It is the sedentary lifestyle and eating habits of obese people who will affect their children, not their obesity itself. Standing next to someone obese will not affect you - not unless their morbid obesity is so cripling that they haven't washed in a month, but that's another story! ;-)

This being stated, we're all basically on the same page here. Whatever is being said is just for the sake of argument.

Comment: #88
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:22 AM
Since I had my son (3 yrs) whenever I bloat (that time of month, etc.) I CAN look pregnant. Just the other day I was having one of those days [ :( ] and I was having a smoke at our local shop, I had an elderly lady pull me aside and gave me a lecture on smoking whilst pregnant..... I looked her dead in the face and said "I'm not pregnant just fat you fool" she then stumbled around an apology...then gave me a lecture on eating right. I said to her "you DONT know me! please stop, you look like an idiot" she walked away. I eat healthy, and I go to the gym three times a week, and dance in my loungeroom every other day. I DOUBLED my weight whilst pregnant (it's in my genes, unfortunatly). and I am only NOW starting to see some weight loss. I HATE it when people laugh at me in the street because of my weight (i only weigh 100kgs guys) and I have witnessed some kid watch me eat a carrot stick (yummo) then say loudly to his friends "why is she even bothering? we all know she just goes home and eats burgers" which just isnt true. Everyone needs to mind thier own fucking business. What one puts in one's body is THIER concern NOT yours.
Also my partner tried the e-cigs.he tried the nicotine-less ones, didnt work.
Comment: #89
Posted by: FireGiggles
Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:27 AM
Comment: #90
Posted by: FireGiggles
Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:56 AM
Re: FireGiggles

When I was still mensing, I found that wearing a tight girdle on these days not only looked better but (more importantly) made me FEEL a lot less bloated.

Comment: #91
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:32 PM
I wear one when I go out, but I dont clasify the 30 second wlak from my house out :p they definitly DO help! haha
Comment: #92
Posted by: FireGiggles
Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:35 AM
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