What's with everyone smoking?

Last modified on October 11th, 2007

Today I made the long trek to work, but instead of having my head down with my iPod firmly attached, I decided (mainly because my iPod was dead) to keep my head up and look around. Being a single guy, my gaze routinely fell on cute girls and, to my complete disappointment, nearly all of them had a cigarette firmly attached between their fingers.

Photo by Liz Kasameyer on Flickr

Now for some reason, I always thought Vancouver was a fairly healthy city. When I moved away in 2000, I don’t think a single person I knew smoked. And now, coming back, everywhere I look there are people who are puffing away on cancer sticks. When I go to pubs with work people, there is always a group of people that gets up from the table every 20 minutes or so to go have a smoke outside.

When did it happen, or was it always that way? There’s nothing more unattractive in my mind than a cute girl that smokes. I remember one time, after a few beers, when my ex-girlfriend started smoking. I was like “what are you doing?” It was a habit that she slowly restarted, and while she never made it a primary habit again, I had to put up with it whenever we were having a few drinks. And like to old saying goes, it was like kissing an ash tray.

Granted, I probably have a few stupid habits that some girls wouldn’t find entirely attractive either, and that’s fine. But I just don’t understand why girls need to smoke. It’s unhealthy, it stinks, and it makes everything around it smell.

14 responses to “What's with everyone smoking?”

  1. Rebecca says:

    i’ve noticed an increase lately as well… and i’ll sure be glad when it’s not allowed in public.

  2. Meg says:

    Tons of my female and male coworkers smoke, and even more so when they’re drinking or out at night. Most of my away-from-work close friends don’t smoke, with the exception of a cigar over poker now and then. I just find it leaves people out in the rain a lot, smells not great, and — most importantly — is putting a dent in their longevity. I hope it goes back out of “vogue” again soon.

  3. Here in Belgium, the government just banned smoking in restaurants, but it’s still allowed in bars, as long as they have a non smoking area. They are planning to extend the ban in all public places, but apparently it doesn’t seem to decrease the amount of smokers. It seems to have the opposite effect, as people who do not smoke join the smokers outside and eventually start smoking themselves…

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve noticed it a lot more lately too. Suddenly, I’m the only non-smoker in my close group of girlfriends, and these are girls who are just starting now at 25 or 26 years old. I understand that it’s an addiction for people who have been hooked forever, but why start now? I just don’t get it!

  5. tiffany says:

    I realize that smoking is unhealthy and not the greatest habit… but we ALL make our own decisions. There are those of you who eat red meat on a daily / semi-daily basis… how many people in Canada die each year from heart attacks and heart disease which could very well have been prevented by having chosen a better diet? People who eat red meat have double the risk of getting colon cancer. Did you know that there are more than 3000 chemicals in your average piece of red meat off a grocer’s shelf? Cigarettes have about 450. This is a moot argument, I realize, but I’m just trying to make a point…

    There would be an uproar if students / professionals were told that they couldn’t have their laptops or PDA’s in public because Wi-Fi signals were causing cancer. Do you think that girls with tans are unattractive? Skin cancers kill lots of people every year. You, yourself, drink lots of diet coke; aspartame has been proven to cause headaches, and brain lesions and they’re still investigating the possible connections to tumors and lymphoma. If everyone in the world stopped doing everything that was bad for them — no one would do anything! The global economy would collapse.

    I’m being a bit dramatic here, I know… but I’m not going to apologize for it. 😉

    As a side note, I’m not arguing for OR against smoking. I am a smoker, yes. And when I choose to quit, I choose to quit. And quitting is certainly something that I will eventually do. When that day comes, I will still feel the same; we all have every right to do with our bodies what we please. If we’re not affecting anyone but ourselves, than it’s our prerogative.

    It would be a shame to avoid your soul mate because she had a drag of a smoke with a glass of wine from time to time…

    (I had to stop myself, or you would have had an essay on your blog! But let me know if you want several other arguments / examples… I got ‘em.)

  6. Duane Storey says:

    Well, it’s sort of pointless to argue. I really could care less who smokes, I’m just saying I don’t find it attractive. And I’m sure those smokers could care less what I think. Lots of people probably don’t find me drinking a can of diet coke attractive, and I could care less. My point wasn’t really about how bad it was for people, I just think it looks stupid and it causes everyone around the smoker (assuming they are smoking around you) to pick up the smell (something that me drinking a diet coke doesn’t do, or someone eating a piece of red meat). Obviously you and other smokers don’t think that way.

    For me, I just can’t stand the smell of it. Would I date someone who smoked? Probably not, because having my clothes stink like smoke and kissing someone and tasting cigarettes just doesn’t do it for me. I know people who have been long time smokers who have given it up, and months after say “oh my god, did I really smell like that all the time?”

    I’m not a big fan of arguments supported by saying the ecomony would collapse though. Eventually, based on our lifestyle, it’s bound to collapse. Maybe not in our lifetime, but you can’t support a growing population on an economy that’s based on the exploitation of dwindling natural resources and consumerism. It’s just not sustainable long term.

    Would the world come to an end if suddenly there was a ban on Wi-Fi? Of course not, because we were once there. If tomorrow they banned all Wi-Fi, we’d just go back to plugging stuff in. If cell phones were outlawed, sure, a lot of industries would tank, but others would take their place. There are very few technologies that I really feel over a long term have improved our lives. Most of them have simply provided additional distractions and taken our focus away from things that are important, like hanging out with friends and family or establishing meaningful real-life relationships.

  7. Rebecca says:

    my right to go out in public and not have to breathe in second hand smoke is as valid as your right to chose to toxify your body in public thus polluting mine. it’s a mean tug-o-war really.

  8. Rebecca says:

    if toxify is a word hehe

  9. Kathy says:

    It is not until I quit smoking six years ago after smoking for over thirty years did I truly realized the impact it had on those around me…let alone on myself. The stench not only on my clothes, but in my house, and in my car lingered for a long time. My smoking also contributed to some of my children’s health problems. There is no doubt that I will ever smoke again…I breathe easier, feel healthier and can tell a smoker from a mile away. You’re right, Duane, very unappealing in every way! My current regret is that after spending most of his childhood and teen years trying to get me to stop smoking, my son has taken up that disgusting habit.

  10. Chris Bond says:

    I am surprised to hear someone who considers himself a drinker railing against smokers. If you are going to crusade against toxic substances that cause harm to people, why not take it to its logical conclusion and ban alcohol, too? People are always getting drunk and starting fights or killing people in car accidents.

    People who are drunk tend to stink of alcohol. They are often annoying and obnoxious. They increase the cost our health care system at least as much as smokers.

    People have been ingesting toxic substances for as long as there have been people, they will never stop, and it is pointless and cruel to try to force them.

  11. Duane Storey says:

    If I stink when I drink, as soon as I’m sober it goes away right? So it’s not like I stink all the time. Smokers generally stink 24/7 since most of them can’t be more than 30 minutes without a smoke.

    Banning alchohol probably isn’t a bad thing to do, considering four drunk guys jumped me and put me in emergency in November. And I agree, alcohol ultimately costs more probably than smoking. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the point I was trying to make. Everyone is on the defensive that I’m bashing smoking, and that’s not the case at all. I just don’t want to date a smoker.

    I’m not trying to stop anyone from doing anything. My point is I think cute girls that smoke are unattractive. That’s it. I like brunettes over blondes. It’s just preference. If you want to smoke, go ahead. If I want to drink, I’ll do that too. If a girl smokes, I probably won’t date her, and she probably won’t care. I’m not trying to get you to quit, I’m just stating that my personal preference isn’t to date a smoker for the reasons listed above.

  12. Meg says:

    I think comparing smoking to eating red meat is kind of bizarre, since smoking has no nutritional value whatsoever to compensate for risk factors. Vegetarians and meat eaters could argue about the nutritional value forever, but grass-fed, lean organic beef really isn’t bad for you, and provides a number of important nutrients: http://tallgrassbeef.com/why_its_better_nutrition_health.php

    The alcohol and tanning and chemical drinks comparison is far more apt, but the point is, whatever I consume and put into or onto MY body shouldn’t have an impact on anyone else’s body. If you smoke near me at a cafe or a bus stop or in my home or my building, what you do DOES affect my quality of life.

    If I eat a steak, you’re not going to smell like my steak because you sat near me or receive secondhand carcinogens as a result. If I get fat or sick from eating badly, period, it’s not going to make you fat or sick as a result. My tan is not going to cause cancer for you. If I drink diet Coke, you’re not going to get lesions on your brain because you sit near me at work.

    Really, the only thing close is the wifi comparison, and the jury is still out on that. Is the jury still out on smoking?

    People who live long term with smokers have ended up with cancer and breathing issues, and people who live in buildings with smokers have experienced major allergies and breathing issues as well. And there isn’t always an option to walk away, as with children of smokers. I have an allergy to smoke, and living below a smoker gave me a number of allergy and asthma attacks before I had to move. We weren’t even in the same apartment!

    I’m not rude to smokers, I don’t guilt trip my friends about it, and I certainly believe it’s your right to do it if you want to do it. But it’s certainly not affecting just you, unless you live in a bubble.

  13. Duane Storey says:

    Goods points Meg, especially about the people who can’t always walk away from smokers.

  14. raymi says:

    tiffany the point is you look stupid when you smoke, i used to smoke a lot, now i smoke rarely, when i see people on the street smoking i think they look stupid and disgusting. no one looks stupid eating red meat. drop the smoke and mirrors game it’s way lame.

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