Many articles have been written showing a relationship between smoking and illness. To many people, this is a good enough reason to stop smoking. To other people, this appears to have no effect. Since everyone has read the many articles linking smoking and illness and still many people persist in the habit, let us look at some of the reasons that have been given for smoking.
Psychologists claim that a person’s character traits are shown by his smoking habits. They attach considerable meaning to all of a person’s habits, and the habit of smoking is one of their favorite targets. They claim in the first place that smoking is an element that remains of a person’s childhood. Since the child finds it necessary to suck on some object, so the adult finds satisfaction in sucking on his cigarette without receiving criticism. As the child has a strong urge to play with fire, so adults satisfy this urge by holding the glowing torch of a cigarette in front of them. Smokers also seem to derive a tremendous satisfaction from watching the smoke curl from the end of twenty cigarettes daily, at twenty-five cents a pack.
The psychologists also claim that the smoker who has done a job well needs the psychological pat-on-the-back that the cigarette gives him. He takes a cigarette as a reward when he feels that he has done a job well. So, smokers, beware; psychologists are trying to prove that you are indulging in nothing but a childish habit.
Smoking becomes a means for young people to test their maturity. Does the child sneak off behind the garage with some of his playmates because he likes the taste of corn silk or ragweed? The high school student imagines that he looks much older when he is smoking; the college student takes on a sophisticated look as he puffs on his pipe. The ability to smoke proves that a young person is now grown up and fit to take his place in the world of adults.
Have you ever noticed the strange and unusual characteristics of the smoker? When he loses his temper, he needs the smoke to relax himself. When he becomes depressed, he needs a cigarette to lift his spirits again. When he is confronted with a problem, he needs the cigarette to solve it. And he desperately needs that cigarette to calm his unsteady nerves.
We have considered the relation between smoking and the smoker, but smoking also has an effect upon the non-smoker. Supposing your neighbor had a habit of burning tires. We could well imagine our indignation with this neighbor for his lack of consideration. But if the neighbor puts it in a handy roll or a miniature furnace, it is looked upon as influenced by custom; it is considered as one of his rights. The lame excuse that he enjoys the odor would appear ridiculous from the tire-burning neighbor. One person’s pleasure may prove to be the discomfort of a large number of other people.
When anything is said against smoking, smokers come shouting to their own defense. But the surprising, and inconsistent, part is that they forget that, only yesterday, they had firmly resolved never to smoke again. But the smoker always forgets that this pack is always going to be his last.
But let us non-smokers practice tolerance toward the smoker. Remember that we also have irritating habits, and we will probably never be able to reform all the confirmed smokers.