A Vaguely Comprehensive / Chronological Timeline of Thought Processes Re: Cigarettes & I

Cigarettes are bad because major corporations produce them.

Smoking is a ‘fairly sure, fairly honorable way to commit suicide’ (via Kurt Vonnegut, I think.)

Cigarettes are tested on animals (?!)

Smoking American Spirit brand cigarettes is okay, because there are no additives in them and because a major corporation does not produce them.

The reason why I smoke cigarettes is because they serve as the only constant in a life full of perpetual movement, confusion, and sadness.

Cigarettes are no less an oppressor than any other more commonly accepted oppressor (i.e. ‘the state,’ capitalism, police, etc.). I am enslaved, via addiction, to smoking cigarettes.

Cigarettes are ‘the epitome’ of capitalism. You buy them, they burn away, you buy more, they make you feel good, you become addicted, they kill you slowly.

People who smoke menthol cigarettes are “fucking retarded.”

I started smoking cigarettes mainly because most of the people who I look up to smoke cigarettes.

Smoking cigarettes creates a very complex, multi-faceted hierarchical aspect of my daily life. / 1.) Purchasing cigarettes that are produced by major corporations perpetuates ‘big business’ and ‘the American capitalist system,’ ‘inadvertently’ harming the ‘lower / middle classes,’ ‘third world countries,’ and [other people.] / 2.) Cigarettes are tested on animals, like dogs and monkeys, and it is bad to claim dominance over other sentient beings, ‘simply’ because they are deemed ‘intellectually / emotionally inferior’ (especially for a commodity such as cigarettes.) / 3.) Cigarette butts / smoke is bad for the environment, affecting human beings in a negative way. / 4.) Cigarettes / the corporations that produce cigarettes have a large amount of control over my life, and by purchasing cigarettes I am enabling the corporations that produce cigarettes to market themselves, increase profits (or at least maintain steady monetary income), and perpetuate their control over my life and the lives of others.

“I know cigarettes are bad, but I don’t give a fuck.”

[Vague feelings / thoughts re ‘coolness’ re smoking cigarettes]

Anybody who smokes cigarettes, who doesn’t want to die, is “fucking retarded.”

Cigarettes feel like ‘an extension of my hand.’

Smoking has created structure / routine in almost all aspects of my life re “I ‘have to’ smoke when I drive,” “I ‘have to’ smoke at least two cigarettes before school,” “I ‘have to’ smoke at Mallory’s house,” etc.

‘We are all going to die anyway.’

American Spirit brand cigarettes taste really bad. (I ‘can’t believe’ R.J Reynolds owns ‘them.’)

Cigarettes ‘transfer’ ‘cancer of the spirit, soul, etc.’ to ‘cancer of the lungs, throat, etc.’ Most people die spiritually first, and physically second.  Smoking cigarettes ‘balances out’ the death of the two, so that when I die, I will not die an ‘already empty carcass,’ (or live for any period of time as an ’empty carcass’), but will die a ‘[something].’  [Something re good, something re bad].

I like menthol cigarettes.

I can control my thoughts (and therefore my emotions and behaviors), therefore I can choose to feel happy without smoking cigarettes, because the cigarettes (aside from my physiological addiction to them) are not what make me happy; it is my psychological affinity for them, my perception of how they affect my life in a positive way, which gives me the illusion of substantial happiness.

Cigarette smoking is an ultimately endless pursuit.

Abstaining from smoking cigarettes can increase my physical well being, resulting in a higher chance of a ‘more sustainable emotional happiness, in general.’ It can also allow me to think more clearly about things, because my thoughts, feelings, and actions won’t be ‘clouded’ by physiological or psychological addiction.

‘I don’t care about anything’ is a lie that I have been frequently using to ‘comfort myself with,’ in attempting to ‘justify’ smoking cigarettes. My choice to remain living shows that I have obvious self-interest and that I view life as desirable, to some degree. Therefore, I should try to act only in ways that allow life for the most sentient beings, for the most amount of time, at the highest quality possible (including myself). Smoking cigarettes is bad in the context of this thought process.

I want to be a healthy ‘role model’ re little brothers.

My life is a series of ‘phases,’ that either include or do not include smoking cigarettes. Each phase is, I guess, equally as arbitrary as every other phase, so, I guess, all that matters is that the phases seem – during the moments in which I am existing within these phases (or the moments in which these phases are existing within me) – to be ‘the best for me’ (re emotions, goals, life in general, etc.).

– When I believed that I wanted to die, what I really wanted was a major change in my life.

Smoking cigarettes habitually would negatively affect my ability to pay rent, pay for food, etc., which would result in my having to put more effort into these things than I’d like to, which would result in less time to read or write. Seems important, somehow.

I just like, don’t really want to smoke cigarettes I guess, I don’t know…

click here to read my blog post about other things involving myself and cigarettes

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JORDAN CASTRO (b. 1992) is the co-author of poetry chapbooks, Assuming Size and think tank for human beings in general (self-published, 2009). He is the author of No Ceilings (e-book, wtfpwm, 2009) and Orientation (e-book, Pangur Ban Party, 2009). He has been published widely on the internet. He maintains this blog. He can also be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and YouTube.

26 responses to “Thoughts I’ve Had Re: Smoking Cigarettes (2008-Present)”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    Yep, smoking is cool- alright.

  2. ben says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LstW4RmPGf0 this is the reason i started smoking again

  3. Marni Grossman says:

    I am- to many- that friend who nags you about quitting. The best reason, I think, is that smoking is fucking expensive. Moreover, when you go out and smoke during dinner, you may be missing integral parts of conversation.

  4. Irene Zion says:

    So Jordan,

    Man up and quit, already.

  5. JB says:

    Maybe apathy’s a bigger problem than smoking.

  6. My mom smoked two packs a day until she was in the hospital for cancer.
    She would beg me to sneak cartons in to her. She was so addicted.
    And all she cared about while dying is that she couldn’t light up.
    One of the nurses said to her,”You should quit” when she was caught smoking next to her
    oxygen tank.

    And do you know what she said?

    “I’ll quit when I’m dead.”

  7. Lorna says:

    There are many positive reasons to stop smoking. I enjoyed smoking, but I didn’t want it to be my cause of death….like Stephanie’s mom up there. I believe people when they say nicotine is as addicting as heroine. I must have tried to quit at least a dozen times before I was finally successful. I know I’m still a smoker at heart. Like an alcoholic, one drag and I’m back to a pack and a half a day. It’s been eight years since I smoked my last cigarette. I don’t care to go back. I think one of the best benefits to quitting is that I can take a really cool vacation on the money I save and my sense of smell seems to have increased by ten fold…..of course that can be also be offensive, depending on the smell. But I don’t want to go back. I sort of enjoy being able to breathe without coughing of black chunks of phlegm.

  8. Anon says:

    Coincidental timing. Took a coworker with me for coffee this morning and he opined that he “kind of wished he still smoked” but knew it was for the best that he’d quit because “it’s bad for you”. Playing devil’s advocate, I taunted him with, “So’s drinking but you still do that.”

    Great response: “Yeah, but I can still run more than ten yards when I’m drunk.”

  9. Kip Tobin says:

    Great post. Smoking pervades my own thoughts way too much and in probably every facet of my life. I’ve tried to quit many times in the past two years, another attempt is coming up here very shallowsoon.

    I recently have been rolling my own, using either DRUM or American Spirits. I find that I smoke less and enjoy them a little more, but I don’t harbor any illusions that they are healthier for me. I was going to write a post called “How to quit smoking after 17 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and a day” but then started smoking again. I will write that blog when I have some time under my belt.

    One thing that I think is grossly overlooked by many a non-smoker is that smoking is, for some, pure pleasure. It epitomizes gratification on so many shallow physical and immediate emotional levels. Granted, smoking over a long period of time will most likely give you a slow and painful end, but for those who toil with given meaning to their lives, it is one solid solace.

    I think that few things equate to having a cigarette after intense coition, a great meal or even after a long wait.

    I no longer think that “smoking is bad, and you therefore should not do something that is bad for you”, but “smoking is bad, and if you are okay with that and truly realize that it could have some disastrous consequences for your future, then smoke up.”

    • nice re american spirits, what is your experience re ‘DRUM’

      seems sweet re “hot to quit smoking…” / ‘pure pleasure’

      i think, for me, it was hard to ‘realize’ that smoking could have ‘some disastrous consequences for [my] future,’ because, even as i thought i realized it, my actions / ‘true feelings’ seemed to be ‘dictated’ by physiological and psychological ‘addiction’

  10. Brad Listi says:

    There’s no such thing as a smoker who doesn’t want to quit, somewhere deep down. That’s my gut feeling. Including the people who “smoke to the death” or who loudly and defiantly state their refusal to quit. But I may be wrong.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I’ve actually been working on a piece for a different project that touches on that mentality exactly. I may post an edited version of it on here soon.

    • Becky says:

      Difference between “wanting to quit” and feeling/knowing/supposing it’s best to quit.

      I think very few smokers or at least certainly not all want to quit. I mean, who wants to put themselves through discomfort? Besides masochists, anyway. You quit smoking despite not wanting to, in many cases.

      They always say, “you have to want to quit X-addiction in order for you to quit.” Well, yeah. You want to quit because you need to, because you have to, because you don’t like X consequence. Not because you don’t like smoking.

      Semantics, maybe. But I sure as hell don’t want to quit. Going to try anyway, but it would be much easier to just go right on smoking.

      • good luck

        when i quit, i was in california. i think that made it easier, because my routine was ‘abolished’ to some degree (i.e. smoking while driving, smoking before school,) for an entire week.

        also, i really think i wanted to quit then. i feel like almost anything can be made ~89-99% easier/better via cognition.

        • Becky says:


          But not when you’re nuts.

          And I would never move to California, because that’s where the crazy people are.

          I don’t need any encouragement. Or Communists.

          But thanks for the well-wishes. I mean that.

  11. Simon Smithson says:

    I tried American Spirits my second night in the States because I figured ‘Hey! I’m in America!

    That’s not a cigarette, it’s a light snack.

  12. Phat B says:

    My Dad quit smoking when my brother was born, some 32 years ago. He still smokes cigars, but the only time he touches cigarettes in when we’re camping. The air is cleaner, he reckons, and he doesn’t go camping more than 2 or 3 times a year, so no chance to become hooked again. I dunno. Cheating I guess. I only shoot Heroin when I’m out of the country, that way I’ll never get hooked.

  13. mallory says:

    this is a well written article and i smiled when i read it. philosophical!

  14. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Cigarettes. Yeah, I know. At least I gave up pot. I don’t bar-b-que. That’s gotta help, right? Joined AA(Arsonists Anonymous). Canceled vacation to Smokey Mountains.

  15. Random Dude says:

    This represents the relative thoughts i had when i started smoking cigarettes. I’ve never smoked for more then a 6month period before i quite, because i always end with, i hate this shit.

    Now I’m smoking again, because i felt it would help me cope, but this quote best describes the epitome of cigarette smoking on my soul.
    “Abstaining from smoking cigarettes can increase my physical well being, resulting in a higher chance of a ‘more sustainable emotional happiness, in general.’ It can also allow me to think more clearly about things, because my thoughts, feelings, and actions won’t be ‘clouded’ by physiological or psychological addiction.”
    I feel ultimately if we follow the path of conscious thought and respond to our emotions, we will live a happier more fulfilled life. Cigarettes hinder that, in some ways, of course it varies for everyone. But think about this, where would your thoughts have lead you if you hadn’t smoked that cigarette?

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