WAY too much has been said about the 'ill-effects' of smoking, what it could 'do' to you and other crap. The effects of smoking have been greatly exaggerated, and it's us smokers who have to face the public sentiment on this.
Anyways, what is the big deal if I smoke? People will often come up to me and tell me, "Smoking can kill you, you know?" I promptly reply with some smartass remark like "Really? THANK you for telling me!" Yeah, Sherlocks. I'm too stupid and illiterate to read the warning on the pack, let alone understand it. I have this feeling that not smoking actually makes people so stupid, they don't realize that smokers already know what they're doing to their bodies. Hey, I know my lungs have taken on a distinct coloration of black, with pink patches here and there. I know that I'll be hacking up blood in my cough, a couple years from now. Who gives a damn?

I have a hectic and inundated (translation: fucked up) life, and I'd like to take a break from it all to enjoy the relief that the cigarette can bring to me. The last thing I need is for yet another self-appointed Samaritan coming near me to tell me what I'm doing to my body, or why they object to me puffing around. It's not like I'm going up to them and telling them, "Excuse me, sir, could you please go elsewhere, you're in my smoking space." I'd really love to do that though, I don't think that they're even worthy of breathing my 2nd hand smoke.

How many of you readers smoke? How many of you are ferverent anti-smoking lobbyists? What IS your problem with smokers? Till date, I haven't seen a good answer for that last question.

I've made a list of 20 points I'd like to make for the case of smoking. If anyone can, what is the case against smoking/second-hand smoking?

Here's my spit:
  1. Increases concentration.
  2. People often go with the general sentiment on things like these, most of what you hear is hogwash. Cases of cancer are linked with smoking, but it's not proof. Only 1 in 3 of us will get lung cancer. (By "us" I also include non smokers).
  3. Smokers are a persecuted lot, since this habit has been banned from workplaces, restaurants, buses, subways and planes. You don't think they'd outlaw breathing for christ's sake.
  4. Smokers have the only real community that's left in the workplace today.
  5. Smokers suffer from less stress, since they actually take a few breaks per day.
  6. That bruhaha about second hand smoking is a load of crap. it's just a phrase made up to get normal people who earlier didn't care about it, to go and further persecute the smokers.
  7. It's cool to smoke. Ever seen a hacker or a real artist with a health shake?
  8. Smokers support the economy by paying all those taxes, which *AHEM* some of us don't.
  9. Warning:  The Surgeon General fails to warn you that non-smokers die every day
  10. Studies have shown that prolonged contact (as in several years) with second hand smoking can cause mild lung problems. Second hand smoke has no immediate harmful effects.
  11. Actually, why not just ban non-smokers? :D
  12. Too much is made of the 4000 chemicals that make up a cigarette. Several carcinogens found in cigarettes are found in peppers, carrots, strawberries, tomatoes, onions and grapefruit.
  13. Believe it or not, nicotine is actually "a surprisingly potent drug for a variety of diseases that afflict the brain, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Tourette’s syndrome." (An image makeover for nicotine: It shows promise against brain diseases, HealthCentral.com - Feb. 21, 2000) Smokers have a 60% lower risk of Parkinson's disease
  14. Nicotine has a positive effect on ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammation of the stomach lining, and this disorder affects nonsmokers more than smokers.
  15. Smokers actually recovered better from a heart attack than nonsmokers
  16. Smoking was found to reduce the risk of estrogen-dependent endometrial cancer (dunno what that means, it just sounds really cool)
  17. Schizophrenics (4 million Americans) who smoke can get enough nicotine stimulation to switch on a brain receptor that helps filter information.
  18. Stanford researchers have discovered that low doses of nicotine - a major component of cigarette smoke - appear to promote new blood vessel growth (in mice). (“Nicotine to be used to treat heart disease,” Reuters Health, HealthCentral.com - Sept. 2000)
  19. Alcohol is even more harmful than smoking. Yet not much is said against it as compared to smoking. Half a bottle of wine can supply you with 32-40 times the amount of lead a whole pack of smokes can give you.
  20. "Sick smokers may burden a country's health care system but dead smokers save governments money"
A single drive to work puts out more deadly fumes and toxins in the air, than a smoker could possibly do in one year. If you drive a car, your car puts out more deadly poisons and toxins in one drive to work than my smoking does in a year. When you go home again, that's another year. So in a couple months, you've created more deadly toxins in the environment than my smoking will in a lifetime. But it's always easier to point fingers at other people, isn't it?

If you're really concerned about your health then put your money where your mouth is. Stop buying products that are painted (all kinds of toxins put into the environment) or made of plastic (here's some stuff that's good for your health, right?) and stop driving a car. You can survive that way - a lot of people do it. But I'll bet you don't want to give up the conveniences these things offer.

I'm really tired of hearing people complain about the health risks that smokers present to them when they aren't willing to make changes to their own lifestyle that WOULD AFFECT THEM MORE than having any number of smokers quit.

I'm a smoker and to be honest, I really hate seeing butts all over the ground. But I'm also tired of seeing McDonalds wrappers all over the place. When a non-smoker sees a butt on the ground, they always say something like, "ALL smokers should have to clean these up." or something along the lines of punishment for ALL smokers. But they never say "every person who eats at McDonalds should have to clean these up."

When was the last time you heard this one:
"He went to the bar after work, had one smoke too many and went home and beat the crap out of his wife and kids?"
"That auto accident was caused by someone who smoked one too many? (we're talking about tobacco here)."

Special thanks to Cafeenman for unknowingly allowing me to quote him on the last passage. But it doesn't really matter, since if I had asked him, I'm pretty sure he would have agreed anyways...