Photo: Getty Images
Every smoker can tell you of the pleasure of that first drag of a cigarette every morning, or the one with coffee after lunch or how great those ciggies go down while out for dinner and drinks. While it’s harder and harder to find a place to smoke inside anymore, as more and more states rightfully make it illegal, the truth is that many of us still smoke. We like it, and we need it. The addiction of nicotine is strong; in fact, far stronger than many of the street drugs that get so much attention. I should know, it dictated my life for 18 years before I finally stopped and took the control of my life back from a little stick of tobacco that had a grip on me for far too long.
Considered by addiction experts to be one of the hardest drugs to quit (and some say the hardest), there seem to be far more reasons why it’s harder to quit than other addictions than just the addiction itself:
Smoking is still socially acceptable.
Yes, it still is, no matter how people frown on it or laws try to stop it. The fact is that America still has over 40 million smokers and even in a nation of 300 million people, that’s a sizable chunk. While smoking indoors is not legal in many states, it is in others and smoking in general is viewed as a part of life and certainly part of our social life. Smoking and drinking go hand in hand, many say and most smokers will agree. People who are not daily smokers will often light up if drinking.
The cool factor
Smoking still has some kind of “cool factor” in movies and in pop culture, where being a bad-ass often includes a sultry look with a cigarette hanging from the mouth. Stars like Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Twilight star Robert Pattinson, Eva Mendes, and Lindsay Lohan are only a handful of the many Hollywood stars who smoke and regardless of silly it may sound, people really do emulate the stars they love, although obviously smoking is a individual choice. Hollywood bigwigs have said they are showing characters smoke far less in movies but in R rated movies, that’s not the case (although smoking on prime time TV is uncommon). Cigarette companies still sponsor major events where young people flock.