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A Brief Rant [Dec. 20th, 2013|12:19 pm]

leather_lungs
Even though this community has been pretty dead for quite a while I thought I would articulate and post some thoughts that have been running through my head the last few days. I have been attending a series of day-long workshops this week and have come in contact with several people who have expressed surprise and only lightly muffled scorn upon learning that I am an unrepentant smoker. Almost as annoying are the three smokers in their twenties who have thought it appropriate to tell me that at my age (I'm 43) I "Need to quit soon before it's too late" and have professed their intention to quit before they hit 40.

You Smoke?

Yes, I smoke. Every day, from the moment I turn off my alarm to right before turning out the light to go to sleep, I deliberately inhale massive amounts of toxic cigarette smoke into the darkest depths of my corrupted lungs. I don't stop there, either. Oh, no, I hold the poisonous gasses in my lungs several seconds so my poor addicted body can absorb even more oxygen-displacing carbon monoxide and brain-stimulating nicotine while yet another layer of carcinogenic tar coats my delicate alveoli. If that wasn't enough, I smoke 40+ high tar and nicotine cigarettes a day. I have done this deliberate self destructive thing for 32 years.

Why? Because I enjoy it. When I was 11 years old and had succeeded n beating my lungs into submission, I finished the pack of cigarettes I had purchased from a vending machine (It only cost a buck!) and told myself that now that I knew what smoking was like I wouldn't continue. After all, why would I want to keep doing something that was so bad for me. A day later I bought another pack of cigarettes and haven't looked back. I knew I was headed for physical and psychological addiction. I knew that I was headed for decreased stamina, a "smokers cough" and all the other nasty stuff my teachers had described to me in such vivid detail. I also knew that, in time, lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema were possible results of my decision to continue smoking. Now, more than 50 pack years later, I am still smoking and have no desire to quit. No, I don't have the stamina I would have if I had never smoked or had smoked less; but smoking has never prevented me from engaging in any physical activity I wanted. Yes, when I don't smoke for a while I get a slight cough (More of a throat clearing) as my lungs try to get rid of the mucus they have secreted in a futile attempt to fend of the damage I have inflicted. It is annoying and I put an end to it by lighting another cigarette as soon as I can. Chronic sinusitis exacerbated by smoking gives me an impressive morning hack fest and I have to muster all the raw lung power I can to clear the crap out so I can breath without rattling. I can live with all that and intend to as long as I can.

So, yes, I smoke. Yes, it's probably going to kill me. I can live with that.
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Hey! [Dec. 8th, 2013|01:16 pm]

happy_egg
Hey I just found this community a few days ago and read through many of the entries. I have to say, I already love this community! I started smoking when I was 17 and have been smoking for a year or so. I realized, though, that this journal has been pretty dead.

No matter, I have something to share, to whoever might come across this entry. All my smoker friends told me about the stories of their first cigarettes and how they hacked and coughed at the first puff. When I tried mine, I expected myself to too. However, the smoke went down smooth (my first ciggie was a Marlboro Menthol anyway). I didn't cough, not even a little. It was like my body already accepted that this day would come.

For my first cigarette, I didn't inhale. I was a little nervous and couldn't concentrate on listening to my friend's instructions on how to inhale. After finishing the first one, I wasn't proud of myself. I had to do it right. Thus I bummed another immediately off my friend, and then smoked it right this time. This was no coughing. I assumed that my mind and body were ready to accept the smoke without any hesitation (I've been wanting to try smoking for a while then). Anyone with similar experiences?
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Quick story about a "courteous" skunk [Aug. 20th, 2013|03:28 am]

reliklaerek
Tonight while I was sitting out in the front for a quick smoke, I heard some faint rustling in the bushes. I didn't really pay it much mind though since my neighbor has a number of cats that roam about at night and like to come up to people and hang out in everyone's lawns. But the exact moment I was putting out my cigarette, a skunk pops out of the bushes, naturally startling me, and thus startling it, and so then it does this little maneuver and poises itself to spray me. It did take me a second to realize that it wasn't a cat since it was so dark out, but I don't think I've ever jumped up so fast in my life nor struggled so hard to open an unlocked door! lol

The thing is, I know there are skunks in my neighborhood and I've seen them (from a distance) on several occasions, especially at night, so that was kind of a lesson to me... Although, I do appreciate that the skunk was nice enough to wait until I was finished before popping out :)
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(no subject) [May. 21st, 2013|04:14 pm]

reliklaerek
Hi all. I know this community has been pretty quiet lately, but I think you guys are awesome. I'm glad that a community like this even exists. It's just a shame that it's not more active :(

Anyway, I just wanted to share my little story of how I "came out" to my boyfriend. He's a smoker himself, but I didn't pick up smoking until pretty recently. So far, he's the only one who really knows.

I tried vainly to hide it from him. I guess I didn't really expect him to get after me about it, but I figured he might at least tease me.
He didn't.
I asked if it was ok for me to go outside for a minute. He said "sure" and I hid a cigarette and my cheap lighter in one hand.
I stood on his porch, fumbled with the lighter in the dark. I couldn't close the door all the way.
His roommate had his window open. He was watching Family Guy.
I took a drag, and aside from Peter Griffin, it was quiet.

I came back.
"Everything ok?" he said.
"Yeah....Don't yell at me"
He didn't understand until the next morning -- I left my pack next to my purse when I'd pulled out my meds.
We parted ways, him to go to work, me to go home. I blasted the A/C, trying desperately to cool down my car, when I heard a knock on my window.
"Give me one of your cigarettes. I don't have anymore of mine."
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doctors [Mar. 19th, 2013|11:56 am]

wilmet_forsyth
Hi everyone, long time no see. I hope some people are still kicking around here, and doing well. I had a little anecdote I wanted to relate...

So I just called my doctor's office about a bill I received in mail, related to my annual physical in January. The bill said I owed $20 for "Smoke Tob Cessatio". I sensed something was wrong about this as I've never asked my doctor for any advice or help related to smoking, though she does always ask me about my smoking habits, I answer honestly, and she then proceeds to lecture and badger me continually for the rest of the visit about how I must quit immediately.

Anyway, the receptionist claimed it was for "Smoking Cessation Counseling" which I apparently received from my doctor. Apparently her asking me about smoking and bullying me about it counts as counseling? Anyway I politely disagreed that I had received counseling, and she put me on hold for about 5 minutes then came back on and said that I can disregard the bill, that I was "billed in error."

This got me to thinking, about how the extreme antsmoking atmosphere that reigns nowawdays has, I think, affected our trust and rapport with our physicians. I always try to be honest with my doctor about everything in my lifestyle, but her extreme stance about smoking and this incident makes me want to just start lying about my light-to-moderate habit.

How do you all handle doctor's visits? Do you think that your physician is unreasonable about smoking, and does that affect your relationship with them?
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Missing the Point [Nov. 2nd, 2012|11:24 am]

leather_lungs
Earlier this week, my job had me driving into the very rural hinterlands. I mean, it was the middle of nowhere, out past where god lost his sandals. Anyway, after about three hours I reached my destination, conducted my business in about twenty minutes, and was ready to be on my way. Since I was hungry and out of cigarettes, I asked for directions to a store and followed them. Said store was a crossroads family-type joint where I got some chips and a cup of coffee. When I asked for a pack of Marlboro eds, I was informed that all they sold were Marlboro Golds/Lights and a couple of menthol varieties of Camel. "We just stock what people around here smoke."

Well, even though I'm willing to put just about anything in my lungs at least once, I refuse to defile them with menthol, so I took the Marlboro Lights. As the clerk pushed them across the counter she said, "These are better for you anyway."

Say what? Do people still buy the notion that "light" cigarettes are significantly less harmful? As far as I'm concerned, people should smoke whatever they want; but to claim that pumping a bunch of crap in your lungs from one kind of cigarette is less harmful than from another makes no sense whatsoever. Two of the three people I have known who have died from emphysema smoked Carlton for God's sake!

Anyway, I made it to another, better stocked, store about an hour later. On my way to my car a guy on a prison work crew cleaning a ditch asked if I had a spare cigarette. I gave him the remainder of the pack of Marlboro Lights/Gold.
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Little rants of the week [Sep. 23rd, 2012|02:18 am]

wilmet_forsyth
This week I moved to a new building at work, and am under a new boss (though still in essentially the same position.) New boss doesn't know I smoke, because generally I don't smoke during the day at work (but use snus.) I've gotten out of the habit during work since I find it a bother to take the elevator down and stand outside on the street and be under public scrutiny. 
New boss is showing me around and somehow we get on the subject of drinking coffee and tea, and she is talking about coffee being so unhealthy (huh? apparently she is also one of the new Cult of the Body members) She then relates some anecdote about her father, when she was a kid, always having to have his cup of coffee after dinner, "along with a cigarette. GROSS!" I just chuckled in a non-committed manner and said nothing.
Tonight, as I was standing outside after dinner with my boyfriend and a (female) friend of ours, both nonsmokers, I couldn't find my lighter and she says out of nowhere, "Good! Smoking sucks!"
I'm just so over this week. 
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Anti-Smoking Education Editorial [Jun. 5th, 2012|05:54 pm]

leather_lungs
Budget cuts have forced the local school system to have most, if not all, teachers taking on some additional responsibilities. As a result, a friend of my wife's and mine who teaches seventh grade social studies will also be teaching fourth grade phys. ed. next year. part of her PE responsibilities will be teaching a series of anti smoking classes.

My wife and I had her over for dinner last night. She brought her materials with her and we had a good laugh at them and the fact that they will be taught by a thirty five year old woman who has smoked one to two packs a day since her mid-teens. I was struck by a couple of things in particular.

One was that the materials tell the instructor, if a smoker, not to deny it if a student asks if he/she smokes, but to admit it and say that they regret starting and are trying to quit but are finding it difficult. I don't agree with lying to kids. I think it would be better to tell them "Yes, I smoke because I enjoy it, but it is addictive and may well kill me; so think about that before you decide to try it."

The other thing that struck me was that according to the background materials (I paraphrase) "Children, particularly those under age thirteen, who know adults with emphysema are much less likely to start smoking if they know what caused their adult friend's breathing problems." I disagree. By the time I started smoking at the tender age of 11, I had known one adult who had died of lung cancer, and knew two adults with emphysema who, even with supplemental oxygen, had obvious breathing problems. It made absolutely no difference.

Even when I was in my mid-teens and could better understand the connection between pumping massive amounts of crap in your lungs for a lifetime and constantly struggling to breathe, the site of a friend's 55 year-old aunt gasping for air after climbing a flight of stairs didn't make me consider quitting. If anything, it had the opposite effect. I knew that she had lived a very vivacious life and that smoking had been part of what she had enjoyed about it.

It seems to me that, as with most things, giving kids accurate, straight forward information so they can make educated decisions is more effective than over the top scare tactics.

But what do I know? I'm a smoker.
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Grand Theft by Ballot Initiative - Vote No on the California Tobacco Tax [May. 30th, 2012|06:04 pm]
iessalb
[Current Music |Salt of the Earth - Rolling Stones]

Long time no post. It's the resident machiavellian power grabbing author back at ya' after an extended absence from the keyboard. I've got this crazy notion that we smokers should kind of band together in a mutual self-defense circle by voting for candidates who go easy on us with the taxes and restrictions. We should be courteous and watch the litter and not blow smoke into anyones face (including fellow smokers) but aside from that, I think the world should just leave us the hell alone.

Livejournal is an interesting alternative to Facebook and it seems like there are people from everywhere on these Communities. I'm wondering how many of you emanate from California. Sometimes it seems like everyone is either in California now, or was there, or knows Susie or Ken from Cali. There were 11 million when I was born here, there are 38 million now. I'm not at all sure now that I would go along with The More the Merrier anymore, but what the heck whadya' gonna' do? The weather in the Southern half is simply marvelous. San Diego has nearly perfect weather. It gets a bit chilly in February, but you can always drive about 100 miles south into Baja California (Mexico) and solve that problem.

OK. Here's the deal. A very angry and creepy professor from the University of San Francisco who has a huge, unhealthy lifetime obsession with terminating smoking is working the marionettes from overhead to try an squeeze another dollar a pack out of California smokers. We kicked in $905,000,000 to the state treasury just last year and got a bunch of really stupid and ineffectual television/radio PSA's out of it. Some of the money went to actor Rob Reiners pet project called First 5. He fleeced us with that ballot proposition in 1998.

Nailing us is a political slam dunk. It is 85 against 15 going into the fray to start with. I'm surprised they haven't stuck us with the entire state budget by now. But something amazing happens sometimes. People who don't smoke actually get a twinge of guilt at ganging up on a captive, out-of-favor minority and vote some of these down. It happened in 2006. Rob Reiner barely eked out 50.01% with his heist.

Anyway, mad political scientist/smoker/amateur mathematician that I am, I'm going to bore you with some numerical predictions here and ask to you help vote this Proposition down.

Here's the boring numbers and predictions:

Using past June California primary elections as a guide and applying some of my own homegrown mathematical adjusters, I predict that roughly 5,400,000 will show up on June 5th. The Republican primary has lost its significance now that Romney has prevailed. It would have helped us if the race was still undecided.

There are about 4 million smokers in California.

The magic number is 2,700,001 No votes for the win. If motivated smokers turnout at 50% above the average June primary rate of 30% and a 45% turnout materializes, we’ve got 1,727,550 smoker voters to work with. Let’s say that 80% vote No and, unbelievably, the remainder masochistically vote Yes. That gives us 1,382,100 No votes. We still need 1,318,000 non-smokers for the win.

This represents 36% of the non-smoking electorate or a little over one-in-three. California now has a 60-40 progressive slant. We need to peel off some of their votes along with some stray RINO Republicans to pull this off. It will be close. Every vote counts.

Incidentally, the 1,382,100 smokers voting No would represent about 40% of the overall California tobacco community. Do you think we can get 4 out of 10, in other words a minority within a minority, to step up to the plate? If not, there is no hope for any of us. We are doomed ultimately to outright criminalization for the mere possession of tobacco.

Pass this on to anyone you know who lives in Cali. If you live there personally, by all means set aside some time on Tuesday, June the 5th and go down and vote. Don't sit this one out. And just one more thing. Talk to your friends who don't smoke, particularly if they're of the progressive persuasion (California has been super progressive voting since the 90's) and ask them to vote No on Prop 29.

When you type "No on Prop 29" into a search engine you'll find a lot of editorials and opinions on this. Not one single solitary one I could find was authored by a smoker, except for mine. If you'd like to read how I am reaching out to the progressive, non-smoking California voter click on my avatar and go from there.
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Death by Potpourri [May. 27th, 2012|04:37 pm]

leather_lungs
I seem to be the only person in these parts these days; but since I have some time to kill and in case anyone is still out there, I thought I'd relate a recent experience some might find interesting.

Yesterday afternoon I learned I'm not invincible.

My wife and I attended a friends wedding, and the hall in which the reception was held was a sort of high-style Victorian ballroom with fancy rugs, antique furniture, and crystal chandeliers. And lots of potpourri. Thick doesn't begin to describe the air. I smelled it as soon as we entered, and by the time we reached the newlyweds fifty feet away I felt like I was suffocating. It was like my esophagus was collapsing on itself. I sounded like someone with advanced COPD when I breathed and got outside as soon as possible. My wife drove us to the hospital where she is a nurse and "borrowed" an albuterol inhaler. After a couple of blasts things opened up and I stopped expecting my life to flash before my eyes. It was another couple of hours without smoking and a few more inhaler blasts before I could fill my lungs easily.

I've often joked that I'm willing to put just about anything but menthol in my lungs. In fact, looking back over the years I'm a little surprised at the variety of stuff I have put in them both recreationaly and otherwise. In addition to more than forty pack years of smoking and countless amounts of pot, a partial list includes aerosol alcohol, helium, nitrous oxide, assorted glue and other fumes (I was an adolescent huffer), benzine, cement dust and assorted chemicals with which I've worked like xylene, toluene, methane, acetylene, chlorine, etc. None of it has ever had any effect on my breathing. My standard explanation/joke is that my lungs have a protective coating of tar.

So, my advice for happy lungs: Stay away from potpourri. Breathing that shit will kill you.
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