At the risk of offending you and/or causing you to worry, I will begin with a confession: I smoke.
I have smoked for more than quite a few years, and although I stopped for a while twice, the stopping didn’t take.
When I did stop, though, it wasn’t all that difficult, and I believe the ease with which I quit (however temporarily) was directly related to my strong desire to do so. I am eminently stubborn. I do what I do when I want to do it. That includes smoking, and that includes quitting.
I’ve been a little off-put (a “little?” – make that, A LOT) by all the recent legislation that puts us smokers in the realm of second-class citizenry. Yes, I know it’s bad. (How could I not know that?) But, banning smoking from outdoor areas of Los Angeles restaurants?
Imagine the scene:
“No, sir,” the West Hollywood waiter says, “I’m sorry. You can’t smoke out here. But, when you’ve paid for those five martinis, the valet will be ‘round with your car. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy inhaling the exhaust fumes from Sunset Boulevard.”
In my opinion, there are three things wrong with that picture. I defy you not to agree with me about two of them.
And recently, I also was dismayed to learn that my beloved New York City has nary a smoking section. Not in the whole city!
God, I must be a dirty, awful person. I don’t even know how I get out of bed in the morning!
Okay, so the latest is the plan for cigarette packaging. I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. Beginning on some date in the not-too-distant future, a full third of cigarette packages will feature graphic photographs of the ugly truths: mouth cancer, chest incisions, tracheotomies. I’ve been thinking ahead, and my plan is to do one of two things – cover the photographs with duct tape or transfer the cigarettes into tamer packages that I’ll start squirreling away as the launch date approaches.
Seriously, I’m not carrying those photos around with me. I could just as easily tape a photograph of a bad car wreck onto my steering wheel…
So, yes, I’m one of those stubborn people who isn’t going to quit when the new packaging comes out.
And, yes, I’m not alone.
My knowing I’m not the only one was confirmed several weeks ago during the final segment of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. The show’s host, Peter Sagal, posed a question to the three panelists – a question they would answer after the break. He asked (and I’m paraphrasing here): When the graphic cigarette packaging doesn’t get people to quit, what will they try next?
The panelists’ responses were fairly amusing, but not so amusing as to make me remember them... Besides, I was a little distracted in the moment. Because, just in that moment, I realized what would make me quit.
Bush and Cheney.
If the tobacco companies put photographs of either George W. Bush or Dick Cheney on cigarette packages, I would not buy them. Because the idea of paying money for a picture of either of those two bastards absolutely riles me.
I just couldn’t do it.
I just couldn’t.
And so, my non-smoking friends, if you’re worried about my habit and want to take action to put me on the road to recovery, write letters to the appropriate persons-in-charge. Suggest the Bush/Cheney packaging. It may not do the trick for other smokers, but I guarantee you, that’s the sure-fire way to get me to quit for good!