For F*ck's Sake, Please Stop Smoking

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Scary Mommy and Andres Siimon/Unsplash

I hate smoking. Like, I really hate it. And I’m the worst kind of cigarette hater, because I’m a former smoker. The kind who loved to smoke more than just about anything in the world. I’m the former smoker who said I’d never quit no matter what anyone said. I didn’t need to hear their bullshit, I could make my own decisions.

Well, smokers, time to hear my bullshit.

Please just knock it off! Nothing about smoking makes you look cool anymore. That shit died in high school. Once you were a rebel, the big shot with your arm out the window flicking ashes in the wind. Now you just look like a dope. No one smokes anymore! It’s banned in restaurants and bars all over the country. People want to enjoy their meals without a thick cloud surrounding them. Nothing says fine dining like a black plastic ashtray with butts leftover from the last party. It’s just gross.

Look at Hollywood! The hottest stars aren’t dragging their Marlboros in the movies. They’re using fake herbal smokes in the big shows like Mad Men, where they puffed like chimneys. Smoking is now listed as a category for rating, along with violence and nudity. Today, you actually see celebs in the tabloids when they’re caught taking a drag. Think about that. If it’s bad enough that you end up on Perez, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

I know, I know, you only smoke when you drink. But that’s a stupid excuse. Did you know that smoking and drinking at the same time actually increases your risk for oral and lung cancers? Why would you want to do that? You know the risks, yet that’s not stopping you.

According to the CDC, “Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.” Think about what you could do with 10 more years. How many of your grandchildren’s t-ball games you could attend or how many more nights you could have just cuddled up with your significant other watching TV. That’s the important stuff, not getting your nic fix.

If none of that moves you, think about how much you’re spending. Want a slap in the face? I quit smoking 11 years ago. At the time, I was about a pack and a half a day. I put some stats into the Smoke Free app, just to see what I have done for myself. Aside from the obvious health benefits, I saw a staggering number. I have saved more than $34,000 by not smoking! What the actual fuck?!?! That is some serious cash. I’m not exactly sure where it’s gone, but that’s beside the point. I’ve spent it on much better things than cigarettes.

Plus, I have kids now. I 100 percent don’t want them to see me with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. How do you tell your kids not to smoke if you’re doing it right in front of them? Practice what you preach. I’m a lot of things, but I won’t be a hypocrite. And while we’re on the subject of kids, don’t smoke in front of mine. Remember, secondhand smoke kills 41,000 people in the US every year. Keep that shit to yourself.

If looking dumb, getting sick, and becoming broke aren’t enough for you, smoking ages you like crazy. Your skin gets wrinkly and dry and old. You may have wanted to look older the first time you flicked your Bic in college, but I bet that stopped a long time ago. And what about your teeth? Do you really want a nicotine-covered smile? I don’t think so.

I implore you, just stop! I’m not some holier-than-thou bitch who thinks she’s better than everyone and doesn’t get it. I’m not judging; I’ve been there and I totally know how hard it is to quit. I get it. It sucks, but don’t you think dying sucks more? I am a former smoker, but I still have concerns about the long-term effects of smoking. People told me to quit, but I knew better. I was dumb and I was selfish.

If you choose to smoke, you’re choosing to slowly kill yourself. You’re choosing to leave your family behind. And watching you die will really be tough on the ones you love. Think about that the next time you want to light up. Whether you believe it or not, there are people out there who genuinely care about you. Can’t do it for yourself? Do it for them.

And think about what you could do with $34,000.