At the intersection of writing and life with the author of the Cameron Ballack mysteries

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fuming at the Fog

I just got my laptop back from my employer after a few days of updates, and--as I have no patience for posting to my blog on my mobile phone--I am finally back in the blogosphere. People are jawing about immigration reform, new employment data is coming out this week, but to be honest I'm refraining from a political post for a couple of days, and then it will be more of a crystal ball thing about the 2014 midterms.

I'm going to start up a new foray in my latest novel soon, so it's good to have the tailwinds behind me on that, but given (a) it being a relatively slow news week, (b) people in the US are starting to (unfairly) coming off their World Cup high with the Americans eliminated by Belgium, and (c) it's my blog and I should write about what I want to, it's time to throw some verbal ghost peppers into the beans of discourse.


Specifically, smoking cigarettes.

Those who have known me for awhile affirm that during my seminary days and into the early years of my marriage, I was well-known for lighting up a cigar or my pipe. I still hope my usage will not have brought on any oral cancer, even though we're talking about a seven-year occasional activity. I would also point out that the types of smoke are different when compared to cigarettes, that one cannot speak of widespread lung damage with cigar and pipe smoke, that pipes are classy (witness the prototypical C.S. Lewis book jacket picture of the Oxford Don), and I eventually quit completely so as to save money and be a more positive influence for my children.

Back to cigarette smokers. Some of you may be my friends, but I am saying this anyway.

It's disgusting. One, you know scientifically what it does to you, unless you've been living under a rock since the 1950s. In the mass of clinical data, why would you even think about doing this as a habit?

Stress relief? Good heavens! There are thousands of more productive, more healthy ways to burn off stress. Run, walk, read, paint, draw, journal, lay out by a pool or on the deck, meditate, do deep breathing, or get one of those back massage roller mats you can slap on your easy chair!

Smoking drives up medical costs and drives down work productivity. (To wit, and that's just Wisconsin!) In no way can you make the case that smoking improves personal health or makes the workplace a more productive environment. If I ran a business, I would never hire a smoker. It's nothing personal; it doesn't mean you're a wretch committing nonstop mortal sin. It just means you're not the person I want representing my business.

It's not a victim-free activity. It affects people around you. Secondhand smoke sucks. You bring that smell to the universe around you as the nicotine and crap attaches itself to your hair, clothes, and other corpuscles. 

Neal Boortz is one of the best at "stirring the pudding" about smoking. One time on his talk show in Atlanta, right around high school prom weekend, he queried live on the air: "Fathers, do you have a daughter who smokes? And is she going to the prom? Well, early tomorrow morning, when she takes off her prom dress after she gets home, it'll be the second time that night it's come off."

As punchy as Boortz can be, the Talkmaster is correct. When I was in high school in central Maryland, there was an unwritten code by which male students could identify the "easy" girls, the females given more to sexual promiscuity. 

How could they tell? By seeing which girls smoked.

Because if you're willing to engage consistently in one risky behavior, you're insanely more likely to engage in another one.

My point is, why would you even want to take that step?

Non-smokers are healthier, tend to live longer, and on balance engage in more productive personal and professional lives. 

And if you puff away, it's not too late to quit.

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