Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day 2231 - Second hand smoke

Confession: I used to smoke


As with so many women my age, I have smoked.

I was never a very convincing smoker.  To be honest it gave me a headache.  I'd simply do it to "keep up with the Jones's".



I started when I was a tween by stealing my mother's used butts from the ashtrays.  Then I bought a packet when I was around 14.  I was so fraught with guilt and fear that I gave that packet away within a day of the purchase.

I then smoked at uni simply to fit in socially. Everybody smoked.  I never bought my own, but rather smoked someone else's when we were out and I would then buy them a new packet the following day.  They got the cigarettes back with interest.  I figured if I didn't actually own them myself then I wasn't really a smoker. Was I?

When I headed overseas after uni I would smoke to meet people. When you're catching a Greyhound bus around the USA the best way to start a conversation is to ask for a light each time there was a rest stop.

I never actually liked it. But I did get to meet people.

One day in my early 20's I got incredibly upset with my mum for smoking.  She'd done it her whole life and after battling Leukaemia (and beating it) I was annoyed she still chose to smoke.  The day I exploded she put out her cigarette and hasn't smoked since.  Her ability to do that was inspiring.

Derek smoked when I met him.  While I was going to take on the whole "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" mentality I quickly remembered I couldn't smoke with him because of the whole not actually liking it thing. Instead I encouraged him to stop. He did. If he snuck one in from time to time I could smell it from 20 paces.

I became incredibly sensitive to cigarette smoke.

Now that public places are smoke free, I am even more sensitive.

In Vegas a few years ago we were in a casino that didn't have very good air flow.  These days, even though smoking is allowed in the casinos, they are fitted with special systems to draw the smoke away. But I was in an old part of town and I got a face full of cigarette fog.  I was presented with an instant migraine of the vomiting kind.

Right now I am sitting in a hotel room that has central air conditioning.  Even though this hotel is supposedly "smoke free", the smell of cigarettes is coming through the vents.  My nose is irritated.  There is a pain in my sinus. I am gagging.  I have become that sensitive.

I have gone from being a once-part-time-smoker to being extremely adverse to it.

You often hear of people who have eaten certain foods, smelt certain smells or been in certain environments for much of their lives and then become "allergic" to their surroundings.

It's interesting how the body works like that.  How it just one day decides to reject something.

It got me to thinking - how much of it is actually a physical thing, and how much is it a trick of the mind?

Could I be so anti-smoking now, that the mere thought (or smell) of it makes me sick?

Is second hand smoke actually the enemy, or am I?

Or is my body so aware of the dangers that I get sick as a way to ensure I don't take it up again?

It's baffling but not entirely unwanted.  It's a pretty decent defense mechanism.

Tell me:

Are you or have you ever been a smoker?

Is here something that you have suddenly become intolerant of?

Is it physical, or could it be a matter of the mind?





26 comments :

  1. I did for quite awhile - I was always giving up....No temptation now tho. Too much money anyway...I've no idea how anyone affords to smoke these days....

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  2. I love smoking. It's terrible. But I am very good at it. Love the smell, too. I still love a cheeky ciggie when out having a few drinks- but I should ditch it altogether, having had lung cancer in too many family members. I can't understand why they don't phase it out.

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    1. I don't understand why they don't phase it out either. I think there would be many smokers who would applaud that decision to be honest ...

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  3. This reminded me of an old episode of Friends when Rachel took up smoking at her new job, so she could be part of the conversation on smoko :) I can't stand cigarette smoke either and it does make me feel queasy. Possibly because I'm just not around it anymore. My in laws were massive chain smokers. When my Father in law died of a heart attack and the results came in, my mother in law quit. She hasn't smoke since and that was after smoking since she was very young.

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    1. Oh, I remember that episode of Friends! Yes, Just like that.
      Well done MIL!

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  4. Never been a smoker and have never liked smelling cigarette smoke. I try and hold my breath if I walk past someone smoking. It can be a bit hard when on a construction site.

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    1. I'm with you ... I do the holding of the breath thing too.

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  5. Yes, I was a smoker too. Started when I was 18 - bullied into it actually because I was apparently uncool. It was cool to smoke back then. I gave up when I was pregnant and when the kids were little but ended up taking it up again as life became more stressful. I finally got rid of the habit about 8-10 years or so ago. Geez - I can't remember the exact year I quit? Just so bloody glad I did!!

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  6. I've never been a smoker and came from a non-smoking family so I'm the same when I smell smoke. It might just be someone walking on the footpath outside but I can smell it from a mile away.

    I get frustrated now if there are smokers staying in my complex. I spend most of my day at my desk in the front of my unit (just off the verandah) and smokers will usually go out onto their verandahs to smoke so it wafts in. I'd LOVE to make our complex completely non-smoking but not sure others would agree!

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    1. That is one reason (of many, like dogs) why I couldn't do apartment living. How annoying to own your own home but have to put up with other people's toxic crap.

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  7. I find it funny that people used to smoke to be included socially, now people quit smoking to be included. There has been such a huge turn around, which is great!

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  8. I was a smoker or about 20 years. I quit when I realied that I was pregnant, a little over 4 years ago, and have never looked back. I can't imagine smoking now, paying those exhorbitant prices just to sabotage my own health.

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    1. Well done Dani. Yeah, the cost of a pack is extreme! I see people buying them and I do wonder how the hell they afford them.

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  9. I think it's definitely true that the mind can make you feel things like that, certainly as a defence mechanism. I was the same after I quit smoking, the smell would make me feel so ill!
    #teamIBOT

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  10. I've never smoked. Both my parents smoked growing up and then Dad had a minor heart attack when I was ten and stopped cold turkey. I don't remember my mum ever trying to give up and she died from throat related cancer when I was 15. Needless to say, I will never smoke.

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    1. To have that happen to your parents when you were so young ... yes ... a valuable lesson (the hard way)

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  11. I saw an allergy specialist a few years back to deal with my extreme hay fever and one of the things I came up as allergic to, was cigarette smoke - so it's definitely a thing. I tried smoking at about 13, pinched some off my mum who smoked occasionally. Tried it, hated it, that was the end of it thank goodness! I've seen how hard it is for other people to quit so I'm glad I never got hooked in the first place!

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    1. Oh wow! So you can actually be allergic to cigarette smoke? Then I have that for sure then. For sure ...

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  12. I've never smoked at all. I never saw the appeal. I'm very sensitive to it as well, so if someone walks past me or smokes at a traffic light, it gets all up in my sinuses. My husband smoked very rarely when we first met (like many people, with friends) and I said no. That it just would not happen and I would not see a smoker.

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    1. That's pretty much what happened here too. It's me or the smokes. And when he started it up again socially I would make him sleep in a separate room when he'd come home. In the end it was the kids that got both him and my MIL to quit. They would cry after seeing the ads on TV and say "please stop, I don't want you to die" so they did.

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  13. I used to hate smoking ever since I can remember. My Dad has been smoking for years now but I just couldn't make him stop because it has been part of his system for a long time and I'm scared of the possible repercussions if I forced him to stop (I heard some have really bad effects after they quit). Just the smell of it ruins my day. But when I started going to Uni, my friend made me do it and I realized that it wasn't so bad. Although I only smoke just to "fit in" and not because of its effects, I didn't hate it as much as I did before. But now, because I developed acid reflux, I had to stop.

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    1. It's always interesting to me how or why people take it up and how or why they quit. Maybe the acid reflux was your body's way of asking you to stop. Definitely interesting!

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