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Friday, May 20, 2016


A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with limited expertise on the topic opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome but are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid head!

I am pleased to announce that I am now five years without smoking (does an occasional cigar count?)  I am a bit of an expert on quitting smoking; this is the second time I have quit for longer than five years.  You might ask, “Do you have any advice to people that want to quit smoking?”

No, I do not…well I do but I would rather offer advice to people who want someone to quit smoking.*

First of all, every smoker wants to quit.  Every smoker wishes he had never started.  Every smoker knows smoking is not good for his health.  Every smoker hates the inconvenience they go through because of their addiction.  Every smokers are aware that this addiction is very expensive. (Almost) Every smoker feels awful that his addiction makes others uncomfortable and may even put their health at risk.

So, people who want someone they know to quit smoking, stop telling him that smoking is not good for him, that it is expensive and that the smoke stinks.  He knows this and he wants to quit.  Remember smoking is not just a habit.  Habits are difficult to quit, especially when the habit is shared socially by others.  Smoking is also an addiction.  It is a powerful addiction.  Quitting a habit and an addiction is not easy.  Most smokers try to quit as soon as they put out their last cigarette.

My friend Frog’s mother was a heavy smoker right up until she had a heart attack at age 85.  At the hospital the doctor asked her if she smoked.  She said, “I used to, but I quit.” Frog took the doctor aside and told him, “She quit six hours ago, after she had the heart attack.”

Point is, quitting is hard, when you tell a smoker things he knows, when you remind him that he should quit or that he is killing himself and is an inconvenience to those around him, you only make him feel bad and you only trigger the urge to light up another.

I particularly hated when a six year old at his parents prompting came up to me and said, “Do you know that is bad for you? You should stop!” Ah yes, words of wisdom from a little snot who is still sucking his thumb…always made me fire up a back to back double.

If you want someone to quit, you need to offer support.  Tell him you know smoking is a powerful addiction and if there is anything you can do to help or lend support you are there.  Don’t belittle him or remind him he is stupid; that causes a “fuck you” reflex.  Support gives him the incentive to stick with it.  If he is trying to quit and lights up don’t call him a failure.  Remind him that a slip does not mean he cannot beat the addiction.  

If someone you love is a smoker, do not beat him up about it.  Let him know that you understand and that if he was to quit you would offer support, sympathy, and praise.  Hate the addiction, not the addict.


You can nag him into his grave.

*This advice is aimed at people who want a loved one to quit.  If a nicotine addict inflicts his addiction on you through pure thoughtlessness, you should feel free to give him a piece of you mind.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


  1. First thing I determined was that I haven't quit.
    I've only stopped.
    I thought I quit once because I went more than five years.
    But I hadn't.
    I started again and went another twenty.
    Now it has been almost eight years since the last one.
    Wish me luck.

  2. Sage advice. I've been tobacco free for 39 years. My ex and I bet each other that we could quit, and it was game on. I knew if I smoked, she could smell it on me and I would lose, and she new the same. We reinforced each other and both succeeded in kicking the habit. My dad smoked for 60+ years and complications finally killed him. However, when I tried for the umpteenth time to get him to quit, his doctor told me that at his advanced age at the time (82) the quitting would likely kill him anyway, so just let him be. He died sickly, but happy. *sigh*

  3. I remember one of the times I quit. I was standing at the bulletin board and a still-smoking friend came up to me. I was amazed at the odor that came off of his clothes. I finally (after several previous attempts) made the break from cigarettes 25 years ago. Congratulations on your accomplishment and I hope you can stay smoke-free.

  4. I quit many years ago and it was the hardest thing I ever did. The best thing too.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  5. I've never smoked, so I only have a faint grasp of how difficult it must be to quit smoking. Congratulations on being smoke-free for five years!

  6. I'm a quitter and you make solid sense in this post. It is beyond tough to quit and if I hadn't had an operation go bad and was in the hospital with a shot of Demerol coming every 4 hours for 21 days, I might still be smoking. Big time congrats on 5 years Cranky.

  7. My addiction is sugar and i know how hard that one was to kick, i imagine nicotine is worse. No, i don't nag people to quit, i just offer kudos when they are trying to do so, as you suggest.

  8. My dad used to say that quitting smoking was simple--he'd done it 100 times!!

  9. Congrats on your nicotine sobriety. I've tried to smoke, but I never could. There's a story there somewhere...

  10. Well, good goin'. As an emeritus member of the ATS, you have our best wishes.
    Here's the funny thing, and I know we haven't always seen eye to eye on thing, I feel fine about telling you this.
    I started smoking in 2004. Late 50's, I started smoking. In Germany, and that's the excuse I always use: Germans lured me, etc. In truth, it was a couple decades after my wife Cary's death, and it had been on my mind recently.
    Anyway, I quit when my cardio guy I was going to be cath'd.
    Turned out not to be much of an addiction for me, one of the odd ones. I never had an urge, even with coffee in the am.
    Best to you,

  11. Ive been smoke free for 25 years. Just quit cold turkey and never went back. It can be done but your post is right on.
    I found that a eating habit is way harder to end.

  12. Congrats for being smoke free for those many years. Might have said it here, but a doctor I typed for years ago told her patients the best gift they could give themselves was to stop smoking.

    You brought up valid points here on how not to "encourage" someone to quit, but how to be available to help them should they decide to finally take the plunge to do so.

    Can't tell you how many reports I typed of people who quit smoking the day they had their heart attack or lung cancer, etc.


    1. My dad didn't give up when found to have lung cancer, he said there was no point, since he was far enough gone that therapy wouldn't help.

  13. You've just reminded me; our four year old once walked up to an Army General and told him he shouldn't smoke because it's bad for him. He actually smiled at her and put out his cigarette! We hadn't prompted her at all, but her own dad had recently given up smoking; I guess she was trying to help others.

  14. Congrats on 5 years smoke-free. That is a hell of an accomplishment. I quit smoking in 2007 and it changed my life.

  15. I had several attempts at giving up smoking but eventually gave up for good. That was in 1988. I feel so proud!

  16. Good job! I have a friend who has been trying to quit for years. She's now going to a hypnotist.

  17. OMgosh I read this post. I remember my own quit days. Now I sort of feel guilty. In dealing with the insanity of a son addicted to heroin, I have on occasion had a cigarette. I swore it was to calm my nerves. Now a pack of smokes is a lot lighter to lug around than that big ole box of wine with a straw. It was the day that I realized I had the bathroom window open blowing smoke outside just like the days when you're sneaking it from your parents and I thought OMG!! What have I resorted to? I'm 52 years old and sneaking a smoke. :/