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Runway Shenanigans

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Trotsky

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I've really liked your previous articles but I have to say: This kind of tone will not convince a single smoker to quit.

Now it's been years since I smoked cigarettes. Switching to vaping has resulted in major health improvements for me, I can notice it in things like that I can climb 6 flights of stairs and feel totally fine, where before I would be breathless, and that I can swim underwater for over a minute rather than for 20 seconds as it was a few years ago. Quitting was the best thing I ever did for myself and whether someone goes cold turkey or takes up vaping or uses any kind of other healthier alternative to breathing in tar, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, I am totally for it. Quitting is scientifically and objectively good for any person and there is nothing wrong with advocating for it.

You echoed the idea that smoking is about looking cool. Maybe for some people, sure. There was certainly an advertising push in that direction for many decades that worked just like any other form of consumerism. It just so happens that looking cool with cigarettes is a lot deadlier than looking cool with Nike sneakers or Ray Bans.

But there is something that not a single nonsmoker understands: Smoking feels good. It feels SO good. And this is not me saying that's a good reason to smoke, it's not. But that's the reality. Yes, it largely feels good due to relieving the craving in your addicted brain. But even if you scientifically explain comfort, it feels the same.

I don't think telling people "think of your loved ones after your dead" is effective. Because the thing is, that's a negative emotion you're putting into someone's head. And people react to negative emotions by seeking comfort. If I were in a fight with my family, I'd smoke twice as much. If they said something judgmental toward me, I'd smoke three times as much. And when I would up and leave the house and light up a cigarette before I left the driveway, that was so unimaginably comforting.

If I were trying to convince someone to quit, I'd tell them: you deserve to feel better, right? You deserve to be healthier and do more things. You deserve to not feel the stress of waiting for your next break at work so you can have a cigarette, you deserve to not spend that hour in psychological agony with your mind incessantly begging you to comfort yourself. You deserve to get on an airplane and not feel like it's hours of torture. You should quit for yourself. 

Indeed, studies have shown that smokers who try to quit for the sake of others fail at a much higher rate than people who quit for their own sake.

Please don't take this as an attack on you, because you are a good writer and I know you're personally impacted by this. It's not you. Truth be told, and it's a harsh truth - no one except an ex-smoker is qualified to help a smoker quit.

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