Smoking: indulgent and pointless

by Ellie Jonessmoking

Before smoking’s full dangers were known, or at least before they were so well publicised that they could no longer be ignored, smoking was a habit, a vice and something to break up the monotony of life. Offices and restaurants were obviously open to smoking, and surely it was better to be partaking than choking. There was something innocent and less indulgent about it in those days because everyone smoked and that was just the thing to do.

Nowadays you have to work harder than ever to become a smoker. In the last few years it has become a constant, bitter battle to have a cigarette; you’re forced not just to brave the freezing cold weather but the critical, pitying glares, along with the unavoidable knowledge that you are probably killing yourself a little bit. Such is the state of smoking, that it is hard to understand who would actually put themselves through the colossal effort of becoming a smoker.

This brings us to the question, is there something especially tragic about Durham smokers? Talking generally, the most committed or, at least, obvious Durham smokers are well-presented, designer-clad London girls in their Barbours and furs, designer bag on arm, Marlborough Lite packet in hand. Despite their appearance, these girls are incredibly hardy; braving the northern weather with bitter determination and a certain desperation.

While they may have the same hardy determination to enjoy their cigarette, Durham students differ from those who crave or require comfort from smoking. They are not beaten down by life, most have experienced very little hardship, their days are not monotonous, and they are lying to themselves if they think they need a vice.

Most students, aged 20 on average, must have worked exceptionally hard to cultivate their habit in the last couple of years at a time when smoking is more difficult than ever. In fact, becoming a smoker in the last couple of years is something of a feat. You’ve had to ignore the cancerous growths glaring back at you from your packet of cigarettes and embrace your place in a self-inflicted minority openly scorned and scolded.

The whole process is tiresome and for what? I guess because it’s fun, and a little bit naughty (but not too naughty), a little bit edgy (but not too edgy), because it becomes ‘your thing’, and eventually your image, and you get to be one of the smoking club.

Becoming a smoker today is undeniably vain and self-indulgent. But you sort of have to admire this generation’s relentless perseverance to continue something that society, on the whole, is revolted by.

8 thoughts on “Smoking: indulgent and pointless

  • Ever think people might just enjoy smoking?

  • Alex James on smoking: “It’s big, it’s clever, it’s naughty and it’s dangerous”

  • Good Lord! That rehashed ‘image’ argument. Calm down and have a fag you didactic anti-smoking Nazi.

  • few things. Firstly, you should do your research properly – it’s “Marlboro”, not Marlborough, posh girls aren’t the only ones who smoke (I smoke and I’m not posh or a girl), and people smoke because it’s nice with a drink, breaks up long periods of work, calms the nerves, and, obviously, it’s addictive. You, in fact, are the one who’s vain, for thinking you’re so much better for not smoking. 

  • your stereotype of a Durham smoker is ridiculous, as is your perception of the habit as ‘vain and self-indulgent’ which contradicts the premise of your entire article. Some people, myself included, grew up in families or cultures that have smoked and continuing the habit is less ‘effort’ than to give up entirely. Smoking is enjoyable and relaxing and maybe if you didn’t have such a clearly cosseted and narrow-minded lifestyle you wouldn’t write something so patronizing

  • Colleges being forced to go smokefree by Obama Administration

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an initiative to ban smoking from college campuses last month. This is part of the HHS goal to create a society free of tobacco-related disease and death, according to their action plan released by the HHS in 2010.

    Colleges who fail to enact campus-wide smoking bans and other tobacco-free policies may soon face the loss of grants and contracts from the HHS, according to the plan. Western receives grants through a subdivision of the HHS called the National Institutes of Health, Acting Vice Provost for Research Kathleen Kitto said.

    Obama administration to push for eliminating smoking on college campuses

    Read more: … z29zJ2V2TV

    President Barack Obama has already promised not to smoke cigarettes in the White House. If his administration has its way, American college students will soon be required to follow suit while they’re on campus.

  • Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”


    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  • This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

    Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

    By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

    Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

    What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

    “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

    Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!


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