The title of this article, a quotation by G. B. Shaw, is an apt one for those who are slaves to smoking, for there is not a single thing about smoking in itself that is attractive, and many smokers actually dislike tobacco.
The man or woman who takes it up for one or the other reason, mainly psychological, soon acquires a mental habit which, in time, becomes a purely physical addiction. To say that the body craves the tobacco in any form is a gross insult to the inherent intelligence of the body cells. Tobacco contains 19 poisons, each one of them more damaging than the others, to the living cells. The body repels and abhors tobacco, as it does all poisons.
The first puff of a cigarette by a nonsmoker shows how alert the body is in its defensive capacity. An all-out defensive action is started at the first contact of these poisons with the living organism and continues throughout the life of the smoker.
With each succeeding smoke, the defensive action of the living cells gets less and less until all vital activity of the ells concerned is reduced, and the organism is prostrated with exhaustion in deep stupor. The so-called “tolerance” of the smoker to his particular brand, like the pet sedative of the drug addict is but a mask hiding the true state of the living organism—complete enervation and exhaustion.
The natural resistance of the body is lowered and the body compensates by not reacting violently as when it was vital and vigorous. In other words, in precisely the proportion to which one becomes accustomed to the use of any poison, is his system depraved and his defensive powers reduced. The ability to smoke like a “man” without being sick is an evidence of cell weakness and physiological depravity. Hence the reason why a stronger and stronger dose is required before an addict actually gets acutely ill.
To deprive him of his smoking means resting his system which as it gets stronger and stronger asserts its power in the form of active symptoms, in resistance against the cumulation of the drug, and this being disturbing and distressing like the usual fever or running nose, the smoker seems to crave his smoke, this hubby-bubby so that he can silence the waking sentinel again. The real effect of the next smoke is to renarcotize his nerves which can only cry out and reveal his true condition when they are no longer under the influence of the drug.
Some of the 19 poisons are the deadliest in their toxic effect, e.g. pyridine, nicotine, prussic acid, and carbon monoxide. Here is a short list of some of the most poisonous matter present in your particular manna from heaven.
Each one vies with another to be the first to show you the portals of the post-mortem existence somewhere beyond the clouds:
- Carbon monoxide – prevents oxidation of blood.
- Nicotine – half a drop is fatal.
- Formic aldehyde – a strong irritant.
- Carbolic acid – burns your throat.
- Furfural – responsible for “short windedness” and tremors.
- Acrolein – degenerates the brain cells.
- Saltpetre in the paper keeps the cigarette burning.
One cigarette causes a rise of 10-15 points in your blood pressure, i.e., increasing the work of your heart by 10%. Let alone its connection with lung cancers and hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) smoking destroys inclination for marital embrace and the ability to copulate and to reproduce. Children of habitual smokers die early, are prematurely born, are stillborn, or are miscarriages.
Dr. Lucas, physician at Guy’s Hospital, London, observed that testes dried up, atrophied, and shrunk to the size of a pea and sometimes also the sex organ. Tobacco impotence is steadily rising in the middle ages and 30% of women are frigid due to the tobacco habit. Women working in tobacco factories seldom have children. Yes, don’t believe it now, but every smoke is a tiny drop of old age creeping on you unnoticed.
Fully three quarters of the cigarette smokers begin with the resolution of controlling their indulgence. But how many succeed? The answer is practically none of them, because poison demands more poison. Compromise plans won’t work. All sorts are tried. A friend of mine conceived the idea of smoking so much a day and no more. It didn’t work a week with him. Another wanted to smoke only in the evening after dinner and work. He stuck to it for a month and then gave it up as he was smoking more per evening than in the whole day previous to his embarking on this new compromise.
Yes, dear reader, they all fail, these so-called half measures. A few that succeed in rationing themselves thus, are relatively few and mostly those who “smoke” in order not to offend the boss or the company director—as if he really cared. And even if you are one of them, the difference between you and the smoker who goes the whole hog is only a matter of degree—the effect is still harmful and never beneficial, and it always will be.
Stand firm in an unqualified refusal to indulge in this bad habit! That is the only plan that will succeed. If you smoke to please, what about your nonsmoking friends! Keep your self-respect and your health at the same time.
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Even the “tapering-off” plan when a smoker decides to quit, nearly always fails. There are two ways of getting into cold water for a swim—a headlong dive or a gradual wade in. Similarly, there are two ways of quitting tobacco— sudden stoppage and the tapering-off plan. If your heart is sound, the dive is your better course at the pool. The same applies for the tobacco—and especially if your heart is a bit wanky.
The wade-in system is an acceptance of failure, of self-doubt, and this attitude is really what defeats the one who wants to quit tobacco. Decision, not doubt, is what you need most. Why prolong the misery and play with temptation. “DIVE IN.” It is the easier of the two in the long run. Your friends can’t get at you with “have you had your quota today?” “One more today, two less tomorrow,” etc.
Be firm and active—that’s the only plan with smoking. Burn the bridges behind you; solemnly declare to yourself and others that you have quit once and for all and see the strain lift from you. See the relief, both mental and physical, in your eyes. Stick to it and a time will come when you will be proud of such an achievement. If you don’t do it this way and now, you’ll never be really free from it with ( any other plans, because the desire to quit is not strong enough.
An uncompromising decision, as above, will establish self-confidence and self-respect. The inconvenience will be much briefer and maybe a little more keener than on the one-by-one plan.
So there you have it all. Health for all is there for you too. So light your match and burn the cigarette at both ends. Then the fire burns and the fool with it too. The wise one stands back and smiles.