Finally Kicked The Habit

I thought that 500 of these buggers meeting up in Glasgow was enough. But it seems that there was another antismokers’ bash just yesterday in Dublin: The 2nd International Conference on Tobacco Control, sponsored by Pfizer.

In advance of the conference, Pfizer commissioned new independent research amongst smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers on their attitudes to smoking. The research found that 90% of smokers believe they are addicted or would find it very hard to quit smoking, reinforcing the need for more support for smoking cessation services. It also found that smokers have actively tried to quit a number of times, with current smokers citing an average of almost four (3.95) quit attempts.

Pfizer commissioned new “independent” research, eh? I bet nobody would say that if a tobacco company had sponsored it. In no way is Pfizer “independent”, of course. They want to sell smokers their useless nicotine replacement products.

Do 90% of smokers believe that they are addicted? Quite possibly. They’ve been told they are enough times, after all. Alcoholics are told that they are addicted to alcohol. No doubt golf players are being told that they’re addicted to golf too. But, no, wait. Golf is a sport. And sport is healthy. So they can’t be addicted to anything. If you smoke and drink, you’re a drug addict. If you play golf, well, that’s just something you enjoy doing. And it’s a fine thing to sweetly strike a golf ball out of the middle of an iron, and watch it arc away into the sky, and drop to earth just in front of the green, and roll up to within a foot of the hole. For a few seconds you feel like you’re Arnold Palmer or Gary Player or Jack Nicklaus. It’s a high. It’s the ‘hit’ that golfers get. And if there’s a ‘hit’ to doing it, then it’s probably addictive, no? Like heroin.

And anyway, what does it matter if 90% of smokers “believe” they are addicted? What’s belief got to do with it? Everything. You have to believe that smoking is killing you before you’ll want to give up. And you’ll have to believe that you’re addicted before you’ll buy Pfizer’s nicotine patches. Well, you wouldn’t buy them if you didn’t think you were addicted, would you?

Research has proven that support services can play a significant role in helping people quit smoking. As 70% of smokers want to quit there is need for a comprehensive and uniform approach for stop smoking services nationwide. Such services would encourage and assist the one million smokers currently living in Ireland to quit and reduce the unacceptably high level of tobacco related deaths.

I often wonder where that 70% figure comes from. I’ve been hearing it for years. Maybe 70% of golfers would like to give up golf? But unfortunately they’re addicted. Anyway it’s certainly not my experience of smokers. At any one time I’d have said that less than 10% of them wanted to give up smoking. And even those didn’t really “want” to. It was just too expensive. Or they coughed too much. Or somebody else didn’t like it.

I’ve never wanted to give up smoking. Just like I’ve never wanted to give up drinking. Occasionally I cut down a bit. Like when I have a cough or the flu or something. I cut back on alcohol too now and again.

Perhaps it’s that over the past 50 years, 70% of smokers wanted to give up smoking, because they were worried they’d get lung cancer or something. And 70% of them did give up smoking, which is why the prevalence of smoking has fallen from about 90% (in the British Doctors study) back in 1950 to about 25% now. That means that 72% of all smokers gave up smoking. And so 72% of smokers must have wanted to give up smoking. So that’s probably where the 70% figure comes from. It’s an historical figure. It doesn’t actually mean that 70% of smokers at any one time want to give up smoking. It’s probably much less than that. In fact, to fall from 90% prevalence to 25% prevalence over 50 years, only a bit over 1% of smokers will want to give up during any year.

One worrying statistic the research also reveals is that there is a opinion amongst smokers that they ‘fit in’ socially with 36% of smokers claiming this opposed to just 27% of non-smokers. Despite their belief in fitting in socially, smokers may not be a popular as they believe, especially in the workplace, and there is a significant difference in how smokers are perceived as workmates in terms of their productivity. When asked if they think smokers are less productive than non-smokers as they need to take breaks, over 63% of non-smokers agreed, unlike just 39% of smokers who concurred with the statement2.

What does it mean to ‘fit in’ socially? I don’t ‘fit in’ socially with antismokers. In fact, I don’t want to know them at all. I don’t want to know people who demand that other people not smoke. Next they’ll be demanding that I not eat meat. Or drink beer. Or whatever. And anyway, what’s ‘worrying’ about it?

And I can well imagine that smokers are less popular in the workplace than they used to be, now that they have to skip outside for 10 minutes every now and then. That must be annoying. But exactly the same would be true if people were made to walk 50 yards to have a coffee break. I bet coffee drinkers wouldn’t be much appreciated either, as they forever skived off to drink the brown liquid to which they are hopelessly addicted.

I wonder whether these antismokers have ever tried to give up trying to get people to stop smoking? It seems to be an addiction of theirs. They just can’t leave people alone, it seems. But perhaps the government will soon be encouraging them a bit by slashing the taxpayers’ money that it’s been showering on them for years. I wonder how many of them would carry on once they got fired as professional busybodies? Only hard core addicts, I suppose. Did you know that 70% of smoking cessation counsellors would like to give up counselling?

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that I’ve finally kicked my golf habit. I haven’t lifted a golf club in 10 years or more. It was a filthy habit, of course. The heads of the clubs keep getting covered in mud and grass. And if you spend a lot of time in bunkers (as I did), the sand gets everywhere. I often used to have to shower afterwards. It’s really great now to not have to shower afterwards now that I don’t play golf any more. I still dream about it though. Me and Arnold Palmer and Gary Player teeing up at Augusta…

About Frank Davis

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5 Responses to Finally Kicked The Habit

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good Stuff Again
    If society demands that you be a vegan, and you don’t want to be a vegan, does that mean that you’re “addicted” to meat?
    One can get as many hours out of the day by rising at 3AM and going to bed at 7PM. If it were demanded that people do this, and they found themselves uncomfortable with making such an adjustment, what are they then “addicted” to?
    If I’ve enjoyed watching football for years and follow the sport and keep track of the statistics, would it be surprising if I were depressed and angry if all of this was taken away from me? Would I be considered an “addict”? If you compared the massive amount of hours I’d spent following football over my lifetime to the life of someone who didn’t care at all about football, would you then say that I was wasting my time being “addicted” to football, and that I should I quit my interest and devote my time to more noble pursuits?
    Moving on. Anti-smoking’s claims regarding worker productivity are infuriating. First, because smokers aren’t taking breaks to break rules, but to comply with them. Second, because everywhere I’ve ever worked formally has provided guidelines regarding break times. It’ really quite simple: if your employer perceives that you are abusing your break time, your employer will tell you. If your employer thinks that you are employing your breaks in a prudent way, your employer will say nothing.
    Some people just don’t take breaks. Otherwise, they don’t have to go outside for their break. They go to the bathroom and stop by the vending machine or water cooler. What else is their to do? I see a lot of people at my job doing a lot of gratuitous reading of bad novels on their break time, either in the break room or at their desk. People attending school often try to get some homework in. Should we charge them for lost productivity?

  2. Anonymous says:

    70% of smokers would like antismokers to stop being sanctimonious, swivel-eyed gits but have quit hoping.

  3. timbone59 says:

    Saw an advert on telly tonight. Said that nicotine inhalators are the closest you can get to really smoking a cigarette. Doesn’t trade description apply if you compare the ecig then?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I get off on fighting the NAZIS.Their lies and the govmnt nannies are so laughable anymore. A wise person should do as they have always done and ignore the health nazis and the safety nazis.Their studies and promotional feel good tactics are simply ploys to force more criminal laws down our throats. EAT what you want,smoke what you want and especially wherever you want…..ignoring THEIR law is what we each should do……..let freedom ring! Definance is our tool.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is a case where a study serves to act as both a propaganda tool and a plug to sell nico-gum.
    And if you ask me, an average of almost four (3.95) quit attempts for something as pleasurable as smoking just to please a nannized society is not bad at all.

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