Don’t I look smokin’ hot in this photo?
Not really. There’s nothing hot or amusing about smoking. I was just playing around with this cigar on the balcony of the hotel in Mexico. It never even touched my lips (Monica Lewinsky…see I wrote it before you thought it). The view from this balcony was breathtaking. You could see the beach and the green-blue ocean stretched out for miles.
A sight like this kinda makes you want to take a big drag off a cigarette then throw the butt into the ocean because there’s something so satisfying about that little sizzle. It doesn’t? Me either but that’s what I saw the first day I went out to walk the beach on vacation. A beautiful woman in a bright red bikini was standing ankle-deep in the water. She finished her smoke then flicked the cigarette right into the water. I thought about that sight for a long time. It occurred to me how beauty can turn ugly in an instant with just the flick of a wrist. Not every smoker is so rude of course but just the act of smoking makes otherwise perfectly fine people seem unappealing to me. It makes me want to take a step back to make sure I don’t accidentally inhale any of that filthy air.
Smoking is a terrible habit. It makes your clothes and hair stink, your mouth taste like the bottom of an ashtray, it pollutes the environment around you and as we all know it’s horrible for your health. It affects every one of your major organs negatively.
I was on the way home from Mexico when stopped to visit the duty-free shop. They had lots of great things for sale there. I bought some fresh vanilla and got a bottle of nice rum to take back. I rounded the corner to head to the register and saw a whole wall of cigarettes for sale.
Every single one of the boxes had some sort of dire warning prominently displayed. It was a real reminder of some of the terrible consequences of smoking. Still, I saw several people pick up a box or two and head toward the check out line. That’s how you know tobacco is incredibly addicting. I have compassion for people who started smoking and think they can’t quit. Like any habit it’s got to be monumentally difficult to stop. Good habits can be hard to form…like exercising regularly and bad habits can be hard to break…like smoking.
I always tell people who are just starting to exercise to take baby steps. I advise them to do a little something more than they’re currently doing, maybe add an after dinner walk a couple of times a week, because a little is better than nothing and over time they can build from a solid base. People who jump in whole hog, who go from not exercising at all to trying to create a show ready physique in a few months are almost always bound for failure (even if they do get that stage ready physique they often hold onto it for a couple of weeks then it’s back to the norm). It’s too much too fast and they get burned out, discouraged and finally quit. I think the same thought pattern could be applied to stopping smoking. It’s too daunting to go cold turkey. That’s extremely hard for most people but even the most cigarette addicted person could drop a cigarette or two from the norm each day. That’s progress and it’s to be celebrated. When that’s comfortable, they can drop another one or two a day. Slow and steady wins the race. Say they never, ever quit completely but they cut their cigarette intake by 75%. That’s still a wonderful thing. Too often we think in all or nothing terms. It lets us throw up our hands when we can’t make the goal. Sometimes an almost show-ready physique is enough and sometimes an almost ex-smoker is too…sustained over time, both are vast improvements.