Why Quit? 1
Non Medical Reasons
Well, we always think first of money when it comes to most everything else, so let's start with that here. It is not likely that someone gives you a year's supply of cigarettes every Christmas, so what is it costing you?
When I was in high school, my fellow students spent twenty cents a pack for cigarettes. Back in those days, even cigars didn't cost much. But now, depending on local taxes, the cost of maintaining this habit can really eat into your budget. In our area, they cost about $3.50 a pack at this time. With such prices, it is not difficult to go through a lot of money every month.
Americans are spending an average of $50 billion a year on cigarettes. No, I did not say "million," I said "billion." And it is even more than that if the total were to include cigars, snuff, and pipe tobacco.
At the above rate, a two pack a day man spends $49.00 a week, or $196 a month, or $2,352 a year to smoke. To the well to do, that is not too much. But for the rest of us, it is a bite in any man's wallet.
Yet this is only the beginning. It also takes matches or cigarette lighters, ashtrays, and cigarette boxes. Or it may involve the expense of humidors, pipes, pipe racks, tobacco pouches, pipe cleaners and scrapers, cigarette holders, and often filters for them.
There is not only the cost of all this, but the bother of keeping track of it: where it is when you need it, resupply and replacement costs, and all the rest. No longer will you ruin your best suits or dresses with burns from falling embers. Your furniture and rugs will remain in better condition. And you will be safer also. Many fires are started by smoking in bed. My father owned two rooming houses, but none of us could ever get him out of town overnight. He was afraid to leave, lest someone go to sleep with a cigarette and he lose his houses. Finally, one night that which he had expected occurred: One of the boarders fell asleep with a cigarette in his hand.
But quick work restricted the damage to only one room.
Perhaps you may think he was worrying too much (he himself didn't smoke). People with burning cigarettes need to worry more. Cigarettes, or matches tossed after lighting them, are responsible for many fires in America. Years ago, the present writer worked for a time as an assistant fire underwriter. The insurance companies maintain that a third of all U.S. fires are caused by smoking.
Whether you are a smoker or nonsmoker, you help finance all those fires in the annual insurance premiums you pay. The entire nation would save on fire losses and insurance costs if more people would stop smoking.
There are even more nonmedical factors involved in smoking:
If you are in the habit of smoking thirty cigarettes a day, you will remove half an hour to every day of your life. "Yes," you might reply, "those coffin nails do shorten my life!" That is true, but this is the nonmedical chapter; we're not talking about that. The point here is that—believe it or not—every time you smoke a cigarette, it takes a trifle over one minute. That is not the time spent in smoking it, but only the fumbling of one cigarette out of the package, getting out the match or lighter and lighting it up, once or twice putting down the cigarette and taking it up for more puffs, and then the final snuffing out. Okay, so you don't believe it; time it yourself and you will see it's true.
About fifteen years ago I stopped by a mechanic's shop to have something spot welded. With nothing else to do, I stood there as an experienced welder set to work. He wasn't the type to talk much, so I just watched. First, he lit up a cigarette. After so many minutes had passed, it was time for another one. Perhaps he needed it in order to get through the spot welding. But then, he was smoking before he started, so the welding couldn't be the reason.
Since he didn't need an arc weld for this one, he broke out the oxyacetylene rig, began to set it up, and move it where he wanted it. In order to do this, he needed both hands, so he put the cigarette in his mouth. But doing that was no help, since the smoke lazily flumed up directly into his eyes. He tried to minimize the hot, acrid fumes by squinting his eyes. But that didn't seem to solve the problem, for the smoke was too irritating. Getting nowhere, he took the cigarette out of his mouth and, being right handed, put it in his most dexterous hand—his right one. At last, he could get the rig ready for the weld. But now he only had one hand to do it with. Yet this seemed to be a way of life he was used to, for he made the best of it and pretty much did most of what was needed with one hand. When the going got tough, he put the cigarette back in his mouth for several seconds and went to work with both hands. But that could not last long, because his eyes were being smoked again. It was either two hands and a vision problem, or one hand and clear sightedness. Of course, he could have stopped, to smoke the cigarette through, but that's a poor way to spend the day: standing around smoking cigarettes instead of getting the work done.
So if you stop smoking, you will get your right hand back . . and no more smoke in your eyes. This may seem like a little thing, but when you live with it day after day . . well, perhaps it's a pretty big thing. You only have so many years; why not make them pleasant?
Here's some more:
When you give up smoking, your teeth will start looking cleaner—because they are cleaner. That yellow stain on your fingers will disappear in a few days or a week. When you get up in the morning, the inside of your mouth will not taste like a workman's glove.
And moreover, you won't have that ever increasing cough. If you're only occasionally coughing now, just think of what is ahead, if you keep smoking. That cough will become more and more raw and hacky with the passing of the years. Sometimes when you wake up in the morning you will feel like you are going to choke to death on the phlegm coming up. This is because the delicate hairs (called cilia) inside your throat and bronchioles continually wave unwanted "throwaway" substances back up into your mouth. But the cilia in a smoker's respiratory tract is gradually damaged, so that the phlegm comes up when he arises in the morning. Eventually, as the smoking continues, the small hair like cilia will stop working entirely. When that happens, the choking lessens—for the dust, coal tar, and waste products are collecting in the lungs. Did you ever hear of lung cancer?
Did you know that food can taste really good? Not if you have been smoking for awhile. Drop cigarettes for good, and the delicate flavor of food can again be yours. No longer will you be flooding your taste buds with some six to eight hundred mouthfuls of harsh, acrid smoke each day.
And that is more smoke than many professional firemen encounter in a year's time. What does life smell like? When you walk into a garden you will begin smelling it instead of just seeing it—as best as you can see it through the smoke of your latest cigarette. As soon as you step in the door in the evening you will be able to smell what your thoughtful wife has prepared you for supper.
No more ashes all over your papers, shirt, and the tablecloth. And something else—your nervousness will subside! Here all this time you imagined that smoking reduced nervousness. It did—for about 2½ to 3 minutes. But quitting the smokes entirely will reduce nervousness all the time. Now, really, that should be worth the trouble of stopping tobacco, all by itself. For "getting rid of nervousness" is a frequently given reason for continuing with them.
Ask someone who has stopped smoking how it affected him. He will tell you that he has more energy now than before. Did you know that no smoker ever wins a long distance foot race? Never. That is because smoking heavily reduces physical endurance. Both facts are well known.
Feeling so much better, you will find that you have more time to do the things you want to do. Life can be so much more enjoyable when you are living healthfully.
Somewhere here, we should bring up a matter that some folk worry about: "If I stop, will I gain weight?"
Yes, you may gain a little weight when you stop. But in most cases, this will not be more than a few pounds. Seriously, now, which is more important: keeping off a few pounds—or getting away from tobacco? All the facts, details, and collected misery over tobacco that you live with today will you face in the future; really now, is it worth keeping it going in order to avoid a few pounds? Wouldn't you really rather stop inhaling the "yellow death?"
When you stop smoking, your energy level will increase—strikingly so. And that energy will drive you to getting more things done. It is fun to work and accomplish things; and with the new fund of energy, you will hardly be able to keep yourself back from daily using it up on things you want to and like to do. In so doing, you will tend to burn away many of the pounds you may have added.
But face it: Tobacco has to stop, no matter what! That's all there is to it! You must become serious about it. Most Americans that keep at the smokes for several decades live with a miserable present and face a terrible future. The answer is obvious: Figure out some other way to lower weight (and there are other ways—we list some in a chapter near the end of this book), but don't use tobacco to do it!
Here are yet more advantages of quitting: You won't have to pat your pockets every time you go anywhere, to make sure you are carrying your little god around with you. No more early or late trips to the corner store for another pack or for the matches to light it.
Speaking of matches: Don't you get tired of bumming matches off people because you ran out? No more carrying ashtrays around with you, looking for one, emptying one, or apologizing when your ashes don't land in one. And no more having to keep alert to maintaining the routine of continually tipping ashes into one—so they don't fall on you, the desk, the floor, or someone else.
You will not have to interrupt meetings by going out for a smoke. No more loose fibers of tobacco in your pockets or purse. No more bulging pack or pouch in your pocket for your children to keep looking at . . and wonder wistfully how soon they can be old enough to be like Dad—and carry a bulging pack around in their pocket also.
You can go to sleep at night knowing that, at last, you are giving a right example to your little ones; you have thrown the stuff away and will have nothing more to do with it. And they know it, and are already beginning to rethink what they are going to decide about tobacco later on.
One man told me, "I'd give anything if my boy would never get into this stuff later!" He pointed to the cigarette in his hand.
Above everything else, when you stop using tobacco, you free yourself at last from a deadly compulsion that is slowly killing you off. You are parting company with a slow poison that formerly had a powerful grip on you. You will be able to walk by tobacco shops and know that there is nothing inside them for you.
You have just read a chapter that has told you stacks of advantages to quitting. But there is more to it than that—much more.
Most of that which was discussed in this chapter dealt with nuisance or convenient aspects. But there is more to this thing. Death or life are in the taking up or laying down of a cigarette.
Do you believe it? Read the next chapter for convincing evidence.