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Saturday, January 28, 2006

My Smobriety: Odds and Ends and Illness

Posted by on January 28 at 17:15 PM

It’s been about three weeks now, and I haven’t really wanted a cigarette at any point in the process. I did have a dream, about three days ago, that I was smoking, and my immediate response was panic: “Oh, fuck, now I’m gonna have to quit again.” Also, just last night, I developed the worst cold I’ve had in years. I’ve heard from most nonsmokers that a flu or flulike cold is usually nature’s reward for quitting smoking, and I think that this is, in fact, said reward (thanks, God.) It’s definitely the first sore throat that I’ve had since I started smoking, twelve years ago. I’m sure there’s a weird scientific explanation for that, but I can’t find it on Google.
But blogging is one of those things that one can do when ill, and there are two things I’ve been meaning to post:
Three days ago, the Goddamned Useless Seattle Times chimed in on the non-smoking bandwagon. Turns out a G.U.S.T. staffer has created a web page where you can climb the Space Needle using all the cigarettes you haven’t smoked. Which is one of the most Goddamned Useless things I’ve ever seen. Is anybody in Seattle as obsessed with the Space Needle in the way that Puff-Piece Journalists desperate for any kind of local color are obsessed with the Space Needle? Why would anyone want to climb the Space Needle with all the cigarettes they haven’t smoked? Do journalists who are having colonoscopies in South Dakota keep track of their enemas by comparing the output by volume with Mount Rushmore?
And, secondly,this potential law in California declaring that secondhand smoke is an air pollutant is a major sign. A major sign of exactly what remains to be seen, but it certainly does mean that today, I can imagine a United States where smoking is illegal, whereas yesterday, I couldn’t. I’m against making cigarettes illegal—I was against the smoking ban, even though I voted for it because it would make my smobriety a little easier, and yes, any smokers reading this can hate me for it—but, frankly, if one state were to declare them a toxic substance, we’re not that far off from a total ban, are we?

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I had the same experiences when I quit cold turkey ten years ago. I had tons of dreams where I somehow accidentally smoked a cigarette and then thought, "My God, what have I done?!"

And the fluishness, that too. It sucks, but it all passes soon enough. I think it was around the three-month mark that I felt like a real non-smoker instead of a smoker posing as a non-smoker.

It seems amazing that people didn't just push for a cigarette ban in the first place, since that's what anti-smokers wanted all along... until you realize that would set a precedent which would shoot down the legalization of marijuana that many of those same anti-smokers are hoping for... in which case the hypocrisy makes perfect sense.

getting sick. i've never verified this since, but a doctor told me that the tar from the cigs coats your sinuses, bronchs, and lungs, making it more difficult for viruses and bacteria to penetrate/ survive/ multiply. in addition, she also said that cigs are such toxic shit that nothing kills bacteria and viruses better, so they are often dead before they land.
then of course, when you quit your lungs a hacking wounds just begging for little viruses.
enjoy being inhabitable.

A best friend from high school and college days, who now lives in Laos, once told me that, "Tobacco is harder to give up than marijuana."

At that time, circa 1983, he would occasionally give up marijuana, if he was broke; but smoking tobacco was always a given.

In those days, many of us still slept with a mattress, directly upon the floor. My friend did; and he told me he had things set up, so he could simply roll out of bed, grab "a smoke" and light it up - before even a cup of coffee. He had to had to have it, admittedly.

You are one-hundred percent correct about how silly the suggested use of the Space Needle as some sort of numbering device is, when trying to stop smoking tobacco. But keep trying, if you can.

On a note related to your comment about "puff piece journos", it is worth saying, as a mentor of mine once said to me, "The Seattle Times is an example of how many people working together, can come together and produce a really mediocre paper."

You breathe far more air pollutants each day you walk down the street that are emitted by automobiles than you do from cigarettes. If air pollution is the concern, then address the issues of cars.

The tie-in to marijuana legalization is pertinent. I've often complained to friends who smoke cigarettes that they have a stake in marijuana legalization because some day people will turn to cigarettes and want to ban them as well. I was laughed at for such statements. Now, it's coming true. The sad thing is watching friends who favor legalization of pot support cigarette bans. They see it as a totally separate issue. It's not and it never has been.

The flu like symptoms are your body's way of purging the toxins aquired through smoking. I went through the same thing, on and off, for about a year after I quit. It gets better as time passes.

As for cigarettes becoming an illegal substance...I too can see the writing on the wall...I wonder what they will make illegal after cigarettes...booze? Porn? Big brother is watching, I guess.

I am so glad to finally learn something about the flu-like symptoms, which I just finished going through 2+ weeks of. I too couldn't find any real info about it on Google and was wondering WTF was wrong with me. Plus, all your happy posts during weeks 1-2 about how great and easy it was to quit smoking, while I was in physical and existential hell without my cigs, were making me want to drive over there and slap you.

What's funny is that, compared to cigarettes, smoking marijuana does very similar damage to your lungs. It's just a matter of volume: people smoke entire packs of cigarettes a day, whereas marijuana is only smoked every so often.

But people will insist the legalization of pot and the criminalization of smoking are apple and orange issues.

While I totally supported the smoking ban in bars & restaurants (keep your second-hand smoke to yourself, thank you very much), I think it is the height of stupidity to try to ban cigarettes entirely. Does anyone remember prohibition? Banning alcohol didn't stop people from drinking, it just drove it underground and created a whole new group of criminals. If you outlawed smoking entirely, smokers would just be smuggling them in from Canada for 10 times the price. It would be even more retarded than our current "war on drugs". And less effective too.

Paul, both smokers and nonsmokers can hate you for your idiotic vote for the smoking ban. How are you any different from the Democrats who are against Alito but vote for him anyway because it will make their lives a little easier?

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