Monday, May 02, 2011

Bleg: Tobacco Management

I’m thinking of taking up smoking.

I hear tobacco elevates the mood and concentrates the mind.  I need those things right now.  A lot.

Mainly, I’m just trying to get through this deployment, but given that nicotine is supposedly more addictive the marijuana, I’ve got to be prepared for the possibility that I won’t be able to stop once I get home.  However, my reasoning is that, at 42, I’ll probably die of something else before the lung cancer catches me.

But I have some questions:

Where do I go to learn how?  Is there a class?  Can anybody recommend a beginner’s brand of tobacco?  What kind of platform (pipe, cigar, cigarettes, bong, etc.) is easiest to get started on?

How do I manage the side effects?  I’m concerned about the smell.  Only smoke outside, obviously.  Can cigarette smell wash out of clothes, or should I plan on having an outfit dedicated to smoking?  Is it safe to wash my smoking outfit with regular clothes, or should I keep the laundry separate?

And what about smoker’s breath?  Stained teeth?  I’m pretty sure Mrs. Φ doesn’t want to kiss an ashtray.   How do prevent or mitigate these effects?

Any advice would be appreciated.


mickeypavic said...

Hand roll your own with loose tobacco (much superior to packaged cigarettes) and a hand roller, forget pipes takes forever to learn.
Try filter free as the acetate filters seems to be a cause of many lung issues

Cigars are the best but are quite pricy, Macanudo cigars are a great starting cigars, very mellow

Grim said...

The after smell of cigs and cigars is caused mostly by ash. Smoking a pipe greatly reduces ash spread and will not stink up your clothing. I smoke my pipe in my small apartment and I don't smell any smell as I do with cigars and cigs.

If you're looking for a quick nicotine hit for memory and pick-me ups I would suggest the nicotine gum instead. A big part of smoking is the ritual and the bonding that comes with smoking with friends but does not sound like what you're after.

Anonymous said...

You cannot possibly be serious, Phi. Is this a joke, or some kind of Rorschach post? You just want to see how we react?

I've been known to say that I would probably smoke a pipe (I love the smell) were it not for the health effects. I like Mangan's site, and I am about as big a skeptic of mainstream science as you can find among folks who actually work in a scientific field. However, even I think that the evidence that smoking is horribly bad for you is pretty convincing. Maybe it's just the number of people I've seen with advanced lung disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, pregnancy difficulties, you name it. You'll “probably die of something else” before the lung cancer catches you? Again, I can't tell if you are serious or not. Firstly, this may not be true, depending on how long you live and how much you smoke. Perhaps more importantly, it's not just mortality that is the issue – it's quality of life. You're planning to maybe take it up for a few months and then quit when you get home? Some people quit surprisingly easily. But for the bulk of folks quitting tobacco is a terribly difficult struggle.

I think it's pretty clear where I stand on this one.

Anonymous said...

I would heavily discourage smoking. If you do need a new stimulant, though, nicotine gum has similar stimulant effects while letting you avoid much of the lung disease that comes with it.

Anonymous said...

I've been writing up a research summary on pharmacological approaches to quitting smoking. Of people enrolled in these trials, only about 10% of people who try to quit cold turkey are successfully smoke-free in a year. Even with the strongest drugs (and the ones with the nastiest side effects) to help them, the one year abstinence rate is only 30%. So I'd really really downgrade your estimate of your ability to quit smoking when you decide to stop.

TheRedSkull said...

Search the forum posts of Nightlight around various forums to get the science on why it's so good.

Go handrolled, long cigarettes, use a holder or a toothpick stuck through the cig. No filter.

My favorite tobacco is marc baren's original choice, extremely smooth. others may be harsh. And I use zig zag papers and a rolling machine.

Increase moisture to reduce harshness. You can dampen the paper with saliva.

It'll seem a little harsh at first but that'll pass after a week.

- Joseph Dantes

Dr. Φ said...

Mickey / Grim / Joseph: thanks for the pointers.

CF: Well, thought I had prepared for the chance that I was taking up a lifelong habit.

Samson: I was actually a lot more serious about this when I wrote the post a month ago than I am now. I have suffered from a very-nearly crippling depression during this deployment. Some of this is a function of my disposition, some of it is related to the circumstances of the deployment, some of it is probably related to my uncertainty about my post-military future. I've tried half a dozen medications, none of which are worth the side effects. Nicotine, by all reports, offers immediate relief.

That said, I have a strong cultural-class aversion to tobacco. I don't like the smell, and I don't have any friends with whom to "bond" (indeed, the entertainment value of my blog friends far exceeds almost anybody outside my immediate family). So the gum is the way to go.

But I'll probably chicken out, seeing as how the end is in sight.

trumwill said...

My (apparently unnecessary?) response here.

Anonymous said...

If you are trying to cure depression, get a girlfriend instead. Hopefully one whose tour end dates are near your own.

Dr. Φ said...

Prof Hale: easy for you to say!

Trumwill: thanks for the info about the smell. Perhaps being a nonsmoker, I'm especially sensitive. Early in my stay here, my room was converted from a 2-man to a 3-man room. I was offered another 2-man, but when I visited the room I discovered that the stench was so bad that I opted to keep my existing room even though it was now more crowded. As it happened, one of my new roommates smokes, and his clothes reek, but at least when he's out the room smells fine.

TheRedSkull said...

If you're depressed, switch to a paleo diet. Smoking will help but the cause is probably your food.

- Joseph Dantes

Sheila Tone said...

This spring I tried to smoke regularly (one or two a day). I was working around a couple of other people who did, and I'm very suggestible. After a few weeks of maybe four or five cigs a week, I had a couple of bad colds in quick succession. This took away my desire for a long time.

It did help keep me alert, but also increased anxiety. It is better for focus than coffee, that's for sure.