Smoking: What draws you to it?

This is possibly one of the most interesting articles I have ever read. Ever. Here: http://www.esquire.com/features/learning-to-smoke-0308

Have you read that? It’s a bit long I admit, but for those who want the TLDR version here it is: Writer for esquire goes and starts smoking at the age of 46, trying to reach a 1 pack a day level within a month. Accomplishes it, and writes all his thoughts. Oh and quits at the end of it.

I have often wondered why people would smoke, and how they started. In this day and age smoking is known to be damaging, we get bombared with ads both promoting it (in magazines/stores) and denouncing it (radio and tv). While I do not smoke, I have enough respect to not harp on people who do. I grew up around it. My father smoked, my mother smoked, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, every one of em did it.

I never picked up the habit. Far from it, I stayed as far away from it as I could. Never have smoked and never will in fact.

But I have often wondered: My parents are fairly intelligent. Why did they start smoking? It took a heart attack to get my father to stop. He has not smoked for a good 15 years now. My mother however wont stop, and is now plagued with Asthma and High Blood Pressure among other things. Doesn’t help that my mom is a stoner either but I digress.

I get why people smoke things like weed/crack ect. It produces a chemical high, a feeling of europhia in some fashion. While I don’t agree with it and have never done it, I again don’t care if others do.

But smoking? As far as I had known it did nothing.

After reading that article however I can start to see another side of the coin. A different world. I have always watched it from afar really. Smokers seem to be drawn to each other, connected by that little stick in their hands. I have seen total strangers walk up to people and ask for a smoke, get one, and proceed to just chat while puffing away. Its like there is this world of smokers and non smokers, and we non smokers just don’t quite “get” it.

Further, it seems that the social “high” the rush of the being lawless could also be a factor into smoking and continuing, despite all the dangers. And I had no idea that smoking eventually causes the brain to release dopamine.

For those unaware: Dopamine is a chemical produced in the brain that has a variety of effects, and abnormal levels of it can cause all sorts of reactions (including ADD and ADHD, who knew? Guess I should have that checked haha)

Apparently its that chemical being released that can lead to addiction, as our minds somehow connect the smoking to releasing that. Its all very technical and I am sure as hell not qualified to talk about it. But apparently the release of dopamine can make you feel “good” and “rewarded” as if you had done something right.

So that obviously plays into addiction.

But again, why persist in it? I understand that quitting is VERY difficult but at the same time numerous methods exist in helping you get off the horse as it were.

Perhaps some of you all out there could explain to me why you continue to smoke and possibly how you even got started. Do you regret it? Do you wish you could stop? Or do you just not care and continue to do it regardless of the consequences?

And no judging each other here either.

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