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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Be cool: Smoke

    I am not ashamed to be a smoker. According to the American Lung Association, an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population smokes, and the Center for Advancement of Health says that 70 percent of smokers want to quit. These failed quitters have no pride and admit to no joy, and I blame it entirely on the fun-busters of antismoking campaigns.

    On their quest to end risk and joy everywhere, the anti-smoking fiends have placed in front of Arizona voters this November two measures intended to limit smoking indoors. But I am proud to smoke and, as my boyfriends know, this kitty has claws.

    Above all else, smoking is the most relaxing part of my life. Studies say that nicotine increases anxiety, but when I am chain-smoking like Britney Spears in a trailer park, experience tells me it is just as relaxing and more legal than bought sex.

    My second reason to smoke is the open secret that no one is ready to admit: smoking is cool. Sure, you smell bad and your breath stinks. But holding the ultimate miniphallus is a secret symbol that says you’re in.

    Smoking says you’re edgy, you don’t listen to authority (no matter how correct) and you want to try new things. It’s like being bisexual, but without the awkward gender-confusing morning after.

    Smoking invites people to talk, and holding a cigarette automatically makes you approachable. It’s like wearing one of those catchy slogan T-shirts, but it doesn’t make you look like a tool.

    You can even make new friends by bumming a cigarette or asking for a light. This is so effective that social smokers, the Appalachian cousin of real smokers, have tapped the benefits without the commitment.

    Not only are cigarettes social, but they’re versatile too, as they can be very useful in stealing some bonus alone time. Cigarette breaks provide the perfect chance to reflect and brainstorm or just escape for a few moments. It’s like stolen time that will be made up for at the end of your life.

    When I am stuck on any project or even slightly frustrated, I take a cigarette break. It’s refreshing to pause for the length of one cigarette (two if you have the same death wish as I have) and just think. Smoking is like a kiss from a muse. A burning, tumor-causing muse.

    And despite the recent anti-cigarette propaganda, there are serious health benefits. According to a variety of research, smoking helps prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and Tourette’s syndrome, among other illnesses.

    If the do-gooders of anti-smoking campaigns have their way, however, most of those reasons are washed aside. This November’s dual-fisted state ballot propositions that seek to limit smoking indoors are, above all else, anticapitalist.

    Proposition 206 is the most friendly of them all, so friendly that the tobacco company RJ Reynolds, like a dear old senile cousin, is funding it. It would wipe out current smoking bans and install a ban friendly to smokers in bars and restaurants.

    The other, Proposition 201, promoted by hermits and semifascist smoke-free groups, would create a stronger restriction, like the ones in Tempe, Sedona and Prescott. It would also allow local communities to add stronger regulations, like death by stoning for people who buy cigarettes.

    So, why have the anti-smokers embraced dictatorship? I blame the lack of any fun in their lives, but it could also be the gag-inducing smell of smoke to the nonsmoker.

    But bores who do not want to smell smoke can go to smoke-free bars; where you spend your money is the greatest influence you have. If you do not like smoke-filled rooms, first stop being a baby, then take your dollar somewhere else. It’s simple: It’s called capitalism.

    Already I cannot smoke at work, in theatres, in planes, in most restaurants and even some bowling alleys. But leave me one place where I can show off how cool, edgy and smart I am: my bar (or the smoking section of Denny’s). If you do not like the smell, then go somewhere else – you clearly have more options than I do.

    I have read these ballot propositions and I am going to vote no. Even though I will quit one day, I will still allow the space for anyone to try smoking – if not to avoid Alzheimer’s disease, then to at least be hip for a while.

    Samuel Feldman is a junior majoring in political science. He can be reached at opinions@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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