|We all know, these days, that smoking is bad for you. Bad
for your health, bad for your social life (most non-smokers find even
the residual smell of nicotine on the hair, skin, clothing and home
furnishings of a smoker offensive) and bad for your pocket in most
countries of the, so-called, civilized world.
It is surprising how many
sailing folk are smokers. At a guess, we would say a higher proportion
than in most land-based communities which is, considering the
inconvenience of having to go ashore and fetch in fresh supplies,
strange, to say the least.
The older generation of smokers started, in many cases, in the days
before there was public awareness of the dangers of doing so.
managed to break themselves of the habit permanently, some have reverted
to smoking after a time and some have never felt able, or willing, to
try and give it up. Why young people would start smoking is more of a
mystery. They are the beneficiaries of extensive education and
information on the subject, often raised in non-smoking households and
appearing to be otherwise intelligent and rational beings.
used to be a major factor. It was implied that, unless you smoked, you
were not a 'grown-up' yet. Is it still a factor? Does advertising cause
young people to start smoking? Is the advertising campaign that tells
parents to warn their children against smoking a subtle, and cynical,
way of provoking interest in a 'forbidden fruit'? It seems strange that
a manufacturer should volunteer to proclaim the 'badness' of the
products being made if falling sales would be the result of doing so...
Governments harvest hefty taxes on the sales of tobacco. It is all very
well that they issue warnings on the packaging of all tobacco products
but the fact is that their coffers would be severely depleted if the
public were to heed those warnings unanimously and suddenly cease using
tobacco altogether. A large number of people are involved in the
growing, processing, packaging and legal sales of tobacco. What would
they all do for a living if the world and his wife suddenly stopped
smoking? These are the excuses that are offered for making no
change to the situation.
Those who do decide to give up smoking are offered a bewildering
array of products and systems to help them in the endeavour. A nicotine
'patch' system, for example, in which you attach a patch to your skin
every day, graduating from one strength of patch to another, receiving
lower and lower doses as time goes by and, meanwhile, learning to find
something else to do with your hands, instead of taking cigarettes out
of packages, putting them to your lips and setting fire to them, costs
upwards of US$250 for a heavy smoker to acquire a sufficient quantity to
be likely to succeed.
In some countries this is only the equivalent of
around 65 packs of twenty cigarettes, so one might be persuaded that it
will soon have paid for itself, a three-pack a day smoker having spent
the same amount of money anyway in a period of just over twenty days!
True, if it works...but then again, one doesn't usually invest US$50 all
at once in cigarettes, which is close to what you have to pay for a
two-week supply of patches. This probably deters a proportion of those
who might try it. It is difficult to understand, from a layman's point
of view, quite why fourteen patches (each being, more or less, a
band-aid with chemicals impregnated in it) cost as much as more than 240
cigarettes...perhaps someone who knows will inform us.
There are nicotine 'chewing-gum' systems. Again, expensive and, from the
experiences of those we asked, tasting so utterly revolting that you
would need the same amount of will-power to continue chewing them as to
discontinue smoking without any sort of aid!
Accupuncture is hailed by some as a painless and easy way to give up,
others say it hasn't helped them at all.
Each to his own, perhaps, or 'horses for courses', but whatever system
of quitting is used, there has to be a genuine desire to end up as a
non-smoker or nothing will work. Positive thinkers say, and it makes
sense, that if you repeat to yourself, every time you think about
smoking, including when you are in the act of lighting a cigarette,
"I am only addicted to breathing fresh air", that this will
eventually become a reality in your life.
It is true that most of our
traits and habits are the result of the way we think about ourselves, so
why should smoking be an exception? It costs nothing to do it and one
is not being asked to deprive oneself of nicotine in order to do it, so
why not? Can any one tell us whether using affirmations has been instrumental in their
succeeding in quitting smoking? We'd be very interested to hear from
any ex-smoker who has definitely overcome all desire to smoke,
For those who are still thinking about quitting but lack the impetus
to get on with it, perhaps you and a friend or colleague could pick a date to
try giving up
together, using whatever system seems most likely to work for each of
you and comparing notes, encourage one another and perhaps give yourselves a
well-deserved pat on the back at regular intervals for remaining
In spite of the statistics which tell us that there are less and less
smokers in the world, a glance round any tobacconist's shop, supermarket
cigarette counter or other place which purveys tobacco to the public,
will show that the sheer number of different brands available suggests
that the market is not inconsiderable.
cheapness of local brands in countries favoured by sailors helps to
explain why, in spite of many of them complaining of budgetary
constraints, they persist in smoking!
To be a heavy smoker in most parts of Europe, people need to be pretty
financially well-off and yet, statistics show that smoking is more
prevalent amongst the poor than the wealthy, all over the world.
In most parts of the U.S.A. people need to be thick-skinned, since they will
be ejected from most indoor environments and, in some places, not even
permitted to smoke outside unless they keep moving, yet still they
Tell us what you think. Are you a smoker? An ex-smoker? If you have
given up, tell us how you did it. If you have tried to give up and
succumbed to the demon nicotine in the end, tell us all about it! Are
you thinking of giving up? Do you work in the tobacco industry or the
stop-smoking products industry? We'd love to hear from you, too! Are
you in the healthcare business? Can you cast any light on the topic?
E-mail us, whatever your opinion and/or story and share it with the rest