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I've been smoking cigarettes since I was 19, but I don't consider myself "a smoker." I never have a cigarette right when I wake up, and I don't get cranky if I don't have nicotine, but I do smoke just about every day. Sometimes one or two, but sometimes a bunch. It depends. Lately, due to the boredom of the pandemic, I have found myself smoking more than usual. I know it's not good for me, but I'm otherwise healthy and I don't want to quit. Am I being stupid?
Nick O'Teene (male, 48)
Dear Nick O'Teene
My beloved aunt passed away last week at the ripe old age of 91. As far back as I can remember, she smoked Benson & Hedges 120s (the extra-long ones), lighting one off the other. I used to think that the only times she didn't smoke were while she was sleeping or taking a shower, but I sure as heck couldn't prove it.
At some point, she quit — probably in her early seventies. I don't recall her making a big stink about it; she just stopped. And I don't believe she ever had any health issues related to smoking. I guess she just had good smokin' genes. Who knows? However, we do know that millions of people die annually from smoking-related causes. I won't call you stupid, but it's safe to say you're taking chances with your health.
I'm sure somebody is going to be mad at me for saying this, but if you don't want to quit, then don't. You're not going to until you really want to, so how about you at least cut down to your pre-pandemic cigarette count? When you get the urge to smoke, put it off for five minutes. Chew gum. Fiddle with a pencil. Try all those tips that you've probably heard a million times. Only smoke when it's really going to be satisfying.
Life is too short to obsess over what's going to kill you. We all have our vices, and even the healthiest people in the world are going to keel over sometime, so you might as well enjoy yourself while you're here. Just don't be a jerk: Put your butts in an ashtray.
Good luck and God bless,