A few friends of mine smoke and I just don't see the appeal. Why?

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There is none. People start without thinking about it and are often too weak to quit. 

I would agree. 

Well it is Natural Selection in action.  Too bad it doesn't work faster.

I like many others here agree with the reasons behind smoking, (I've only been smoking for 4 years) for me it is primarily a stress reliever. I started just out of HighSchool as a "cool social thing" and then equated that to stress releife.

I have cut back considerably but haven't found a good enough reason for myself to quit. I am also an advocate for moderation, as anything is potentially addictive i.e, food, porn, excorsise, etc. I hold the the philosophy that if you enjoy something why deprive youreself of that?


Are you asking what is appealing about smoking to those who smoke? Or to those who observe the smoker? To understand both you need to look deeply into social psychology, which is what I do, and I also wish I had more to say on the subject. One can assert that social expectations or peer pressure can be a catalyst for the habit in some cases, but unfortunately there are many more factors to consider. According to The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology Vol. 56, orientation towards smoking is not determined entirely by social milieu – and giving it up depends on the usefulness of the habit to his/her personal needs.  There have also been some studies on context-dependent memory and how information based phenomena can hinder one’s efforts to break a habit. Of course, and without a doubt you need to consider chemical dependencies resulting from continual exposure. I think the reasons for such habits have more to do with the individual and the circumstances surrounding them. Now, why do some people think those who smoke are cool? I don’t really know but it might warrant taking the topic back to my lab and getting the team to look at it. 




Peyton - have you never smoked?  It is heavily heavily addictive chemically - very difficult to stop once your brain gets used to receiving regular nicotine.  Also psychologically addictive, but this is easy to break. 


I agree that we used to think it looked cool, in classic movies etc., and maybe in an old movie it still does look cool.  But nowadays I don't think we view it as cool: most people just think it's a filthy habit and an embarassing sign of weakness.  We look at those poor addicts who have to stand outside in the cold every 30 minutes, and think "you mug", and they look back at us wretchedly helpless.  Give up!  Oh God!  Please!  Stop shredding your lungs!  Think of your kids! 

Yes Simon, I smoked for 2 years and then stopped because I didn't like the way it made me feel. I'll be the first one to agree that there is almost no reason to think that smoking is cool, outside of certain contexts. You're correct, the evidence supporting the addictive nature of smoking is staggering, as I said in my post, chemical dependencies MUST be considered to understand the issue properly. However, one can't ignore the psychological implications of all behaviours - especially bad habits. And to say that psychological addiction is generally easy to break contradicts what we know about human psychology. 

You know, this has turned out exactly like every other discussion I've seen on this topic.  A non-smoker starts out asking, "Why do people smoke?"  Then a number of smokers reply with their answers, which are all ignored, and the non-smokers continue to dig for the 'real answer' and go on preaching to each other about how awful smoking is and how weak smokers are and how it just doesn't make sense.  In the end, no one addresses their own consumption of deep fried foods, alcohol abuse, or coffee habits and focus instead, like a theist, on how their particular choice to abstain from the sin of smoking has assured them a place in healthy living heaven, regardless of any other vices they may have.  Pat yourselves on the back, non-smokers, and pat each other on the backs as well - you are truly saved.

You hit it right on, it's easy for people to emasculate other's experience based on their lack of experience. This is not an issue that can be resolved easily. There are deep social, personal, and biological implications to consider. It's an interesting phenomena and it's been given much attention in many areas of study. 

I see it all the time - especially with the homeless.  I used to think that homeless people were just 'weak', 'lazy', and/or 'addicts' of some sort.  When I started doing a lot of volunteer work and found the truth behind a lot of people's stories, it was really hard to accept that in many cases that I was just one catastrophic event away from living their life.  I've experimented with various drugs and not become addicted - but then I just didn't have the circumstances in my life that are usually the precursors to becoming addicted to those particular drugs.  I did become a nicotine addict, but the physical addiction has very little to do with why I continue  although non-smokers will never understand that I just plain enjoy smoking and love the ritual.

The ritual surrounding it was always enjoyable.  After a meal, with a pint.  Certain things kind of "felt" better with a ciggy.  At least you admit you are addicted though, I know some who will say they smoke only because they enjoy it and they are not in anyway addicted.  As they light up their 20th of the day.

I guess it depends on your definition of addiction. I smoke only because I enjoy it. Sometimes I feel like smoking every day for a while. Other times I go weeks, months, or even years without smoking because I just don't feel like it. I do the same thing with ice cream, coffee, alcohol, and other indulgences.


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