Yes, Virginia, Smoking Is Still Bad For You.

Y’all, I have some news for you. This may come as a shock, so prepare yourselves. No drinking hot beverages or carrying glassware for the next declaration.

You ready?

Smoking causes cancer.

Wait. What’s that you say? You already knew this? They covered this in school program after school program, when you were a kid, to the point of cramming it down your wee, smoke-free throat? Well, that’s interesting, since I have decided everyone my age is now a smoker.

Last weekend, as mentioned in my rambling post about cute professors, Mae and I went to a much beloved Texas icon, Gruene Hall. It’s, essentially, a regular bar/music venue, only with more faux-cowboys and wood floors. It’s also filled with college students and post-college twenty-somethings having a very, very good time. And smoking. I swear, every damn person under 30 lit up a cigarette at some point, including some of my very own friends.

Y’all, I’m confused. Did the CDC release a memo saying that smoking is now totally okay for young, cool people? Do skinny jeans and ironic mustaches somehow counteract cancer cells? If so, that’s pretty awesome. More leg stranglers for everyone! Only…I feel like I would have heard about that. You know, being an almost-doctor and all. Last, I checked, smoking still causes cancer, among other awful conditions. Like actual cancer, not the magic cancer fairy from Neverland. It doesn’t only exist, when people shout rousing choruses of “I do believe in Cancer! I do I do!”

So, what’s the deal? I know that our generation loves to rebel, but this seems ridiculous. DARE wasn’t showing us all those gross missing-jaw photos, just because they want to ruin our fun. Cancer isn’t something you just choose not to believe in, like Santa Claus. Smoking isn’t dressed in a red, jolly suit; it’s dressed in a tar-colored cloak of death. Like, the kind you don’t come back from, after a nice chat with Dumbledore in King’s Cross Station.

Also, that whole “I only smoke, when I drink!” thing? Bullshit. I’ve seen that movie, friends. Your cravings don’t magically appear, just because you’re holding a Cosmopolitan. The appear, stick around, and pester the shit out of you, until you’re suddenly saying “I only smoke, when I drink…and wake up, and come back from work, and feel stressed out.” Awesome. So, you’re a smoker. Even if you only did it when you drank, what’s the reasoning? You’d like a little tar breath, with your hangover? You think Ernest Hemingway was an awesome, totally not dysfunctional at all role model? No. The man could write, but he was not an ad for healthy living.

I will give you that smoking looks cool. More than most people, I grew up watching old movies. Cary Grant makes a cigarette look damn attractive, let me tell you. But in reality? Nobody wants to kiss someone with bad breath, except other people with bad breath. Is that what we want, Millenials?  We want to kiss people with bad breath? I feel like we’re better than that. We’re sure as hell better than pretending we’re all immortal.

Look, we’re all going to die. That’s the human condition. Let’s not hasten it up, just because all the other hipsters are doing it. Keep your Snidely Whiplash moustache, but – please! – lose the damn cigarette.

- Grace

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7 thoughts on “Yes, Virginia, Smoking Is Still Bad For You.

  1. YES! Well Said, almost Dr. Grace. What’s the deal with smoking? What’s the appeal? No, thank you. I don’t want to look like I’m 40 wen I’m in my 30s. Also, dipping?! Hey Handsome Cowboy, you just lost all chances (and most of your teeth) by placing that dip in your mouth… Gross.

  2. I don’t get it either. But boy am I glad that smoking is banned in public places here. Restaurants, bars, everywhere. Only thing is now, you have to wade through clouds of the smoke just getting in or out of these places!

    Maybe there’s just a general notion that the young people who are smoking don’t think that it’s going to be them. It’s not going to be them getting cancer because “they don’t smoke that much”. They’re just social smokers. Like you said, no such thing.

  3. I’m a chronic on and off smoker. It’s disgusting and my boyfriend goes through a depression every time I start again. What’s worse is the stigma laced with smoking, especially for women. Sometimes I feel so ashamed by the way people react to me lighting a cigarette.

    With that said, it is an addiction. And an expensive one at that.

  4. Smoking is a pet peeve of mine too. I’m one of those people who is always giving my friends shit about their smoking. Maybe it’s annoying, but if you should step in and tell someone when they’re in an abusive relationship and should get the hell out, why shouldn’t you bug them about their cancerous ways too?

    When did caring about your friends become “judgmental”?

  5. I was having similar thoughts about most 20- to 30-somethings when I visited Finland. Those Fins love the karaoke, extra vowels, and cigarettes.

  6. The part you’re missing is that, if you ask them, most of these people will tell you that they *enjoy* hurting themselves. I’ve been both amazed and horrified by all of the smokers I’ve met who are brutally honest about loving their own personal “slow suicide”. They do it to rebel against parents they hate, because they believe they can’t stop, because their parents did it so they feel like they should do it, because they have “anxiety issues” and that’s the only way they can think of to control it, etc. etc. etc. The excuses never end.

    Personally? I think cigarettes are disgusting. My mom smoked when she was my age, then quit cold turkey when she realized how much damage it was doing to her. (Also she didn’t want to smoke around her child.) She has been very honest about what it was like, what quitting was like, and what the consequences of smoking are. As such, I have never felt any desire to start up, and I view anyone who *does* smoke with deep suspicion. Especially the ones that insist they have no control over the habit. (or worse, the ones that insist that they need it.)

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