“I like to think of fire held in a man’s hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind–and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression.”
~ Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged
I know the evils of cigarettes, all too well. I am a smoker, and have a love/hate relationship with the whole thing. I’ve tried patches, pills, hypnosis and the latest tool, the e-cig to combat my addiction with varied levels of success. I just know, somewhere deep in my soul, I will always smoke, if only just a little. I aspire to smoke like the author in Misery. Stephen King developed this unforgettable character, Paul Sheldon. The character allowed himself the pleasure of one smoke upon completing a novel. It’s a goal to work toward, and as I sit here and think about it, I’m glad I write short and flash fiction;-)
For me, there is nothing better than sitting back, contemplating the world with a smoke between my fingers. The rhythmic inhale and exhale like some sort of meditation exercise. I think of the Ayn Rand quote above, and revel in the fact that I have the dangerous force tamed between my fingers. That the point of light that glows as I take a drag matches the glow of thought in my mind. So romantical.
Then I consider some of the ‘why’s’ of my addiction. I know it’s not just the nicotine. I can replace the nicotine in several ways. I still crave the cigarette. Part of it is mental, the desire to quit, but I think a bigger part of it is the additives and chemicals included in every puff. And that makes my justice bone jump erratically.
When I went to write this blog post, I typed in the title to see what other people were talking about around this topic. I found David Sley, founder of an all-natural, quality smoke Hestia had plenty to say in his article with the same title:
“I learned that over 95% off all cigarette brands are just imprints of four multi-national conglomerates known as “Big Tobacco.” I learned that these companies use a host of chemicals and burn-accelerants on their tobacco, and even dice up the stalk and add it to their cigarettes, to save a few cents. I learned that the government requires them to use fire-safe paper to counteract these burn accelerants. Chemicals to neutralize chemicals! And this applies to “all natural additive-free” cigarettes like Big Tobacco’s Natural American Spirits, too.”
Two thumbs up and a peace sign out to this guy. His ire was so jostled he started his own company making quality smokes with no additives and quality tobacco. I will definitely give them a whirl.
David’s talk about the additives in smokes made me a bit more curious. What level of documentation is there on these additives? What do we know? More google and found this report by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. This report’s abstract makes me seriously scratch my head:
“Our findings indicated that more than 100 of 599 documented cigarette additives have pharmacological actions that camouflage the odor of environmental tobacco smoke emitted from cigarettes, enhance or maintain nicotine delivery, could increase the addictiveness of cigarettes, and mask symptoms and illnesses associated with smoking behaviors.”
What? And this is legal? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m beginning to think the government has it’s own plan for population control. Between the GMO’s in our food sources and the lack of regulation for companies like Monsanto, to this knowledge; my conspiracy theory may hold water! I mean really, there is SH!$&T in our smokes that contributes to our addiction, and I guess that is just okedoke.
Now I know, all of it could be avoided if people just didn’t smoke. The anti-smoking campaigns in America have been highly successful. Adult smoking has decreased big time. John Oliver reported in his segment on the Tobacco industry that “Adult smoking rates have fallen from about 43% in 1965, to about 18% today. He then goes on to show how, in turn, ‘Big Tobacco’ has reached it’s tentacles into other parts of the world where there is no education about the dangers, and no regulation what so ever to make up for their US losses.
So what do I do? Get mad at ‘Big Tobacco’? Watch out Phillip Morris, Ann Case is pissed off about what you are doing to her smokes. I mean really. The best thing I could do is quit. The second best is to boycott their products and go to a more natural product. Consider that DONE.
What do you think? Smokers and non-smokers alike?