Sunday, February 28, 2010

Women and Cigarettes

The Wife asked me last night, did I think there would be any harm in her taking up cigarettes? It would be a 1950s fashion statement as well as a means to help lose weight.

I would love it if she did. I love the smell of secondhand smoke, the ritual of filling and emptying ashtrays, the sense of relaxation and comfort which we've lost in an age of smoking bans. I love the smell of tobacco on a woman's breath, hinting of earth and experience and daring. It's not enough to turn me on to any old floozy at the bar, but the smell of tobacco smoke on a woman makes me perk up my nose and turn my head and follow like Peppy Le Pew on the trail of a civet cat.

So, no, I didn't think there'd be that much harm. Folks who start smoking in their teens tend to develop lung cancer well into their sixties. That means it takes the disease over forty years to get started, if it's going to get started, and then another decade or so to finish you off. "I think if you started smoking in earnest now," I told her, "It might kill you when you're 100 years old."

The real reason she probably won't begin smoking in any significant way is the cost. The taxes on tobacco at this point are astronomical and criminal; the only justification for them would be a fully funded state provided health care system. Unless the state is picking up the tab for my consequences, I don't see how it has the right to collect a fee on my vices.

It seems to me the dishonest cigarette companies ruined smoking for everyone. They committed so many crimes: pumping additives into cigarettes to make smokers crave them all the time, insisting that there were absolutely no risks to smoking at all, and marketing to folks who really were too young to make an informed decision about smoking. They could have been content to sell a moderate quantity of cigarettes to a nation of moderate smokers, honestly explaining that the use of their product carried some risks but that, just as drinking and lovemaking carry significant risks, the pleasures to be had in their moderate and thoughtful indulgence lead many to conclude that those risks are acceptable.

Instead, they out-and-out claimed that smoking was perfectly healthy. They kept this up in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, and made such asses of themselves, that tobacco became the one target that any politician could go after if he wanted to boost his own image. You might not know anything about your candidate, but by golly, if they're against big tobacco, they can't be all bad, now can they?

So now you can't smoke a cigar in a restaurant, or unwind at a bar with a cigar and a cocktail. So now instead of growing up with a generation of elegant, relaxed smoking dames, I get to watch a bunch of wound-up hussies twirling gum around their fingers and chewing like cattle. So now the taxes are such that you can't get a pack of smokes for under $8.00, cigars are out of reach for many, and pipe tobacco will soon be as expensive to obtain as marijuana.

The world really needs to relax and have a nice smoke. Light up a cigar on your morning commute and see just how much road rage you can muster up at the fellow who cuts you off. Stand outside with your fellow exiles during a lunch break and swap gossip and news. (It's been shown that smokers advance more quickly in firms and corporations due to the networking they do during their smoke-breaks.) Clean, pack, and light a pipe before you begin that argument with your spouse and see if you don't spend a little more time listening to each other and less time arguing.

Anyway, I'm all for this new development. I think it'll increase our domestic happiness and make the house feel even more like a comfortable home. I just hope she won't have to take up a part time job to support even the moderate use of cigarettes.


  1. I must say I was shocked at your response with all the knowlege we have today about smoking. The habit alone of having to find a place to smoke today when every where it is banned makes it hard for those that smoke. The smell of old cigs is not as lovely as pipe smells, it out right stinks. The o2 you starve your brain is something to think about. Not to mention it is a habit that has controll over you not you over it once the habit has been established. A person who enters a home that has a smoker and that person is not, finds breathing in that home difficult.
    Having said all that, I know I could easily be a smoker. The relaxation that mentally goes along with the act is soothing, and organic tobacco does not have all the additives. The way tobacco use to be. But everyone is different and cancer can develope in some who have smoked for a year and others not untill 40 years. So here it is, is your wifes life worth the risk? If she developes breast cancer of other cancers would you be able to say it was worth the experiment? As of the 1950's I had a family that were not smokers if you were women. How about taking up a different habit?

  2. I love the smell of cigars, but the smell of cigarettes does make me gag.

  3. HE was being silly, girls. I am not going to be taking up smoking, don't worry. It is also interesting to note that the two world wars really made smoking more socially acceptable. Before the firs World War, only some upper class ladies smoked or 'women of the night' but after the wars it was not only more acceptable, but so many were addicted because the tobacco companies GAVE away packs and packs to all the soldiers. It would look good on their part but they knew they were addicting all new customers. It is true, as with anything, that moderation counts. I used to smoke cigarettes (cloves and Dunhills) but I would smoke one with a cocktail or at a party, not everyday and I was NEVER addicted. I would not smoke a pack a day more like a month. Again, if we do not let ourselves become over indulged we are safe, which is why I got carried away with food and now need to drop pounds. Oh, c'est la vie!

  4. When I first read this, I was rather shocked, because it so politically incorrect to not be anti-smoking these days, but it brought me back to my childhood. I was a child in the 1960s with a non-smoking homemaker mother, but I had a couple of rather colorful aunties who smoked and I admired it! My mother told me that as a child I insisted I would smoke when I grew up. Also, even though I loathe cigarettes, I think it looks rather glamorous in old movies. But the ladies were so much more glamorous then anyway! (Sigh)

  5. I forgot to add, I like that you are politically incorrect!

  6. Well that was just naughty, teasing us that way. You had me worried. (I was thinking that at even 100 years old, you dear wife may not want to run the risk of dying a slow, painful suffocating death IF the cigarettes did give her say lung cancer. Plus I was wanting the very best health for her just in case in the future her body might be supporting a precious little being.) I do appreciate the political incorrect-ness of the post and the unwillingness to blindly accept any type of 'propaganda' without examining it carefully. Linda

  7. i'm thinking of taking it up on my 80th birthday

  8. actually, there are new studies being done that state the use of high quality tobacco, w/out additives, may have some health benefits. figures. coffee's bad, no wait, it's good! drinking's bad, no wait, a cocktail is good for your heart. it's smoking. i personally am all for the "all things in moderation" motto.

  9. Yeah, if we make it to 80, I think a cigarette or two would be a good way to celebrate. Hell, I might even light up in a restaurant! What are they going to do, send me to jail?

  10. I too appreciate the irreverentness of the post and the in-your-face political incorrectness. It's very refreshing!

    But on a more serious note, I'm one of those who is incredibly glad that smoking is banned in most public places and restaurants. I'm very sensitive to it and I like to enjoy my meal and the company without having to fight a headache that borders on a migraine.

  11. Donna, I'm glad you say he is being silly, because that's what he is! Although I like his sarcasm.

    Smoking is hazardous to your health and it ruins your ability to really taste all the nice food you cook. Your spoilet husband should consider that too. ;)

    A year ago Denmark finally (!!!) got a law prohibiting smoking in public areas - and am I happy!?! :) Finally, I can go to restaurants and parties. I have astma and don't tolerate smoke, but it has always been the non-smokers who should show the smokers consideration, not reverse, which would have been more logic. So when I entered a restaurant filled with smoke we had to leave, not that much fun.

    And I thinkg vegetables and exercise are much better for losing weight than smoking.