Friday, November 14, 2008

Kissing an ashtray

The habit of smoking has declined significantly over the decades. According to a story in Reuters, the number of adult Americans who smoke dropped below 20 percent in 2007 (to 43.4 million people), from a high of 42 percent in the 1960s (which is when health officials began tracking the numbers). That's great news!

For, there really isn't ONE positive reason for smoking. It's disgusting. It kills you. It's very expensive. It's inconvenient. It turns off non-smokers. It stinks up your car, your house, your clothes. And, it's highly addictive. -- Which, of course, is the reason so many people still indulge in the habit.

People such as Matthew. And it's become a bit of an issue between us.

When I met him, he did not smoke. After we had dated for a few weeks, he told me he had been a smoker most of his adult life, but had quit a year ago. And then, slowly, he picked up the habit again, starting with cigars (yuk!) and quickly accelerating to a pack a day of Camel nonfilters (super-yuk!)

Now, he has always been a fairly polite smoker -- taking his cigarettes outside, gargling with mouthwash after he smokes, etc. However, the smell still lingers -- it's impossible to eliminate completely. Plus, there's the whole health issue.

So, I asked him to quit, as a birthday present to me. And he did -- for a while. I applauded that, and admired him for it, because I know just how addictive the habit can be.

But he has backslid again. And I'm back to kissing an ashtray (yuk!).

Now, to be fair, I DID tell him that I'd like him to quit by his birthday, which is Dec. 1 -- and he recently indicated that he's still aiming for that goal. So, I've backed off on giving him grief over it (which, frankly, is not easy to do!).

Still, it's hard to see his cigarette consumption continue to climb, because it will just be that much harder for him to give it up. Which, I'm assuming, he DOES plan to do.

But if not .... well, then that's a much bigger issue ...


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