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Still Smoking

July 16, 2017

I’m surprised and disgusted now when I see people smoking.  Don’t they know that smoking causes lung cancer and a whole host of other diseases?  Two tradesmen came to my house last week to replace a couple of windows.  When they parked in my driveway, they got out of the truck and had a smoke in my front yard.  It was only after the smoke that they knocked on my front door.  Part way through the work, they went outside and had another smoke break.  At least, they didn’t smoke inside a customer’s house.  I was still surprised and disgusted to see that, though.  Here were two people who didn’t value their own lives.

When I’m driving, I often see people in other cars who are smoking.  They shake ashes off their cigarettes out the window.  They blow smoke out the window.  Don’t they wonder why cars don’t have ash trays anymore?  This morning at my parent’s senior’s home, one of the residents stopped his scooter outside the entrance and proceeded to smoke a cigarette.  Didn’t they know how dangerous smoking was?

Smoking causes many ailments, but only in the distant future, and it only increases the chances of acquiring that condition.  It’s not a certainty that you will die of that ailment.  The big one, of course, is lung cancer.  Many people have died before their time because of lung cancer caused by smoking.  Shouldn’t that be enough to scare people into avoiding smoking?  There are other ailments too.  I know a fellow who used to go to many ballroom dances.  He told everyone that he didn’t need a chair.  He said that he was up dancing all of the time.  It’s true.  He was.  The last time I saw him, though, he needed a chair.  He could only do half a dance before he had to sit down.  He told everyone that he had COPD in his lungs.  He said that he should have quit smoking earlier, but it was too late now.  I expect he will be dragging around an oxygen cylinder next time I see him.  Smoking also affects your circulation system and your heart.  It does damage everywhere.  How could anyone smoke now?

Steven Pinker, in his book How the Mind Works, calls it “discounting the future”.  When I started smoking, I did not even consider how I would be living 40 or 50 years in the future.  I wanted the benefits of smoking right then.  Fortunately, I quit smoking after a year or two.  It’s something I can’t imagine doing now.  It’s something that surprises and disgusts me when I see other people smoking.

Unfortunately, many people are just like I was a long time ago.  Cigarette packages have shocking pictures and scary slogans now.  People know that smoking is bad for your health.  Smokers are the outcasts of society.  Still, they rationalize those things away.  The lure of smoking wins people over, at least some people.  There’s not much more can be done.  We can’t force people to make the right choices.  The wrong choices may be right for them at the time.  Ultimately, people have to choose for themselves, even if they do seem to be making the wrong choices.


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