The costly cigarette habit

It continues to be true that my physical tolerance for tobacco has diminished over time. I was in a restaurant parking lot last month where a guy, now 30 feet from me, had been walking, and I had to change my route because of the lingering smell of his cigarette smoke.

This summer, and into the fall, one of my brothers-in-law has been coming up to our area almost every weekend, cleaning the apartment he and his wife had rented to his sister-in-law and her husband. These are long trips he’s been making, of about 280 miles (450 km) and five hours each way. The cleaning involved scrubbing the walls, taking up the carpeting, replacing the ventilation system, and all sorts of labor-intensive tasks. His father has helped a bit; his wife tried, but the place was making her ill. I’ve only been there once, early in the process, and after three minutes in that location, I developed a raging headache that did not dissipate until I spent over an hour outside.

Yes, the tenants were smokers – heavy smokers – and they did massive damage with their toxic habit over a nine-year period. I know the couple peripherally. Right after our daughter was born, they came to visit us in the hospital, as delegates of sorts for my brother-in-law’s family. My wife and my new daughter were in bed, I was sitting next to them, and we could smell them before they actually entered the room for a fortunately short visit.

Oh, look at the percentage of cigarette butts in this list of waste products.

Tomorrow is the Great American SmokeOut. If you don’t quit smoking for yourself, do it for me, because you probably reek.

(Picture from The Bad Chemicals – how appropriate! Used By permission.)

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5 thoughts on “The costly cigarette habit

  1. Roger, I use to smoke three packs of Marlboro a day until I quite in the 70s. If I was still smoking today it would cost me over $10,000 a year to keep the habit. When I quit they were 55 cents a pack.

  2. My father died of lung cancer. He never smoked. He never lived with smokers. It’s a mystery and to why he even had lung cancer. Cigarettes! they smell so bad!!! and are so messy. Here’s to hoping the great American smoke out is nothing but successful!

  3. I think smoking is a fashion. In all old movies actors smoke like chimneys your were an outsider if you didn’t smoke ! Imagine a non smoking cowboy ! Precious cigarette holders, boxes and other accessoires were a welcome gift !
    Since only a few years the smokers are out of fashion and non smoking is in !
    Anyway people have to die one day, I think we should be tolerant. If I don’t support cigarette smell, I would only rent to non smokers and if somebody walks in front of me and the smoke disturbs me I just change my way. I don’t smoke, my husband does, he would never quit, but we have an arrangement. One cigarette after the meals officially in the living room, all the others outside on the terrace and in winter under the extractor hood.

  4. I really feel for smokers, Roger. Even though I lost my nightclub career to bronchial problems from secondhand smoke (and helped get the NYS Smokefree Workplace Act passed, lots of activism. I was done with clubs but remembered all the folks who still work there…). IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO QUIT. I tell folks that when they say they can’t. I also tell them that my mom, who kicked alcoholism cold turkey but couldn’t quit smoking, spent her last two weeks of life in the hospital, not only dying from cirrhosis of the liver and lung cancer, but DETOXING FROM SMOKING. There were no patches in those days.

    Lung cancer isn’t only for smokers. It’s for secondhand smokers like me, for folks who have worked in printing shops, at railroads, ticket booths on the freeways… and if it runs in your family, who knows?

    Me, I’m a ticking time bomb. So that’s why I talk to strangers, live every day to the fullest, and treasure friends like you, Roger. Life is too short to waste on worrying about when it will end. Love, Amy

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