Just some brief thoughts for today.
I have been away from cigarettes for about three and a half weeks now and I feel pretty good and confident that I won’t be going back to them. However, a question that has come to mind is this: Is smoking a form of suicide? I thought about this a while back and it was part of the reason I wanted to quit – because the risk for early death (and a terrible death at that) is quite heavy.
The more I think about it the more I am drawn to the conclusion that it is. Even though not everyone dies from smoking (some smokers live into their nineties, having smoked heavily for 70+ years), it is a pretty risky gamble if you ask me. It’s a choice between possibly being fine, or developing some terrible cancer, COPD, or heart disease, or all three. These are deadly diseases that often don’t just go away and the possibility that they will kill you is significantly higher than other people.
When we smoke, we are inhaling more than 4000 chemicals into the organs that keeps us breathing. Why would we do this? We know the risks of smoking, so is it our own fault if we get terribly ill from it? It is like we know that if we drink bleach we will get sick or even die, but we really want to try it so we do and then we get sick. Would that be considered suicide?
If we define suicide as the intentional killing of oneself, maybe it isn’t. But we are intentionally doing something that might kill us. We smoke, get addicted, then have the hard journey of putting the cigarettes down for good, which is a huge task that one may fail at a dozen or more times. Why are cigarettes allowed if they are such a killer?
We smokers are being enabled by our own society to continue our addiction, to spend up to a low car payment a month on cigarette cartons (some cartons cost around $40 or more so depending on how much one smokes, they might buy six cartons a month which is about $240, or more if one lives up north). We spend our money and our time decreasing our life span and increasing our risk for painful and ravaging diseases. It seems like a conundrum to me.
I smoked at first because I wanted to. Everyone around me did it, and the second-hand smoke attracted me to where I picked up my own and got hooked. I was then smoking because I needed to. I get a little crazy when my nicotine levels drop too low in my body (the patch helps). It is an addiction like any other drug, and it needs to stop. Often people get pissed off when you tell them to quit. So do alcoholics and meth-addicts. Just because those kill you faster doesn’t mean they aren’t any worse in the long run.
Sure cigarettes don’t cause psychosis or impaired judgment, but is that just an excuse to keep smoking? Maybe it isn’t suicide in the strict sense, but every time a person inhales the tar, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, arsenic, pesticides, and all the other stuff, it brings you a step closer to gruesome diseases and a possible agonizing, slow death. What do you think?