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I'm not really shocked by the results of the study as there seems to be a pattern of tobacco use as I get older. Many of the people who I know who smoke followed these lines of non-cigarette products:

Back in the day -- or at least when I was in high school -- chew was pretty popular. It was in wide use by high school 'athletes' and some non-athletes even picked up the habit. I remember one student brought a styrofoam cup to class and told the teacher it was for his sunflower seeds, which we weren't even supposed to have in the classroom. The area outside our lockers was riddled with tobacco spit and sometimes it made it onto the lockers themselves.

In college, students turned to hookahs filled with the sweetly flavored tobacco or shisha which they considered less dangerous. There was an additional lure because it was considered exotic and students dying to set themselves apart from others, couldn't start using it fast enough. And do I even need to touch on marijuana use in college?

Now that I'm older, more men I know smoke cigars. Am not really sure that they like cigars, but it's perceived as having more cache than ciagrettes and smoking one cigar is perceived as less dangerous than smoking cigarettes -- at least by my friends. (Well done, marketers!)

I can only assume the next stage is a pipe -- old school style -- the kind grandfathers smoke while sitting in rocking chairs and living out their golden years.

Then there's the final stage and I'm assuming it will have something to do with "froth-corrupted lungs," a breathing machine and several years of diminished quality of life ... Golden, indeed!

June 10, 2008 - 8:49pm


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