Sure it’s going to kill them, but you’re not going to live forever either. In fact, one of those sorry-looking souls huddled in the cold inhaling her addiction as you stroll by with your granola, green tea and superiority–she’ll be around puffing long after you’ve bit the dust. That’s the way it goes. But for all the hacking coughs, emphysema, stained teeth and taste bud obliteration, there are the joys of smoking. At one time almost half of Americans smoked–and it wasn’t because cigarettes don’t offer certain pleasures.
The poet and musician Leonard Cohen recently announced he’d decided to take up smoking again, now that he’s in his eighties. Hallelujah, he was heard to say as he sparked up–after decades away from the filthy yet sublime habit. (See Cigarettes Are Sublime.)
Here are 7 Things Smokers Do Better Than You:
1) Enjoy The Moment: For a real smoker every cigarette feels like a little vacation, a tiny yoga session. There’s a reason they call it a cigarette break. Plus when you know you’re shortening your life, every minute counts. (Each cig is estimated to take 11 minutes from a life.)
2) Let Go Of Stress: Yes, cigarettes kill, but so does stress. Smoking relieves stress. It’s the kind of twisted smoker’s logic that helps one start smoking in the first place.
3) Speak Chinese: This is just a likelihood, not a fact. But more than a third of the world’s smokers are Chinese.
4) Remain Unaffected By TV Advertising: Cigarettes are by far the most popular product that is never advertised on television. The last cigarette ads to appear on TV ran on January 1, 1971–after which it became illegal to advertise the killers on the tube.
5) Routinely ingest poison: Every cigarette contains arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. And that’s just a start. Superheroes are felled by less. And you worry about egg yolks.
6) Commiserate: To “express sorrow or sympathy for; empathize with; pity,” smokers–especially American outcast smokers–show a remarkable ability to bond with fellow smokers over their plight and pariah status.
7) QUIT SMOKING: This most satisfying of all self-disciplines–to eliminate the slow suicide caused by lighting up–is available only to smokers.