Being unemployed (and temping at my casual mindless job) has given me a lot of time to think. Probably too much time in fact. I’ve been thinking about smoking in general… and then more specific. I’m also really tired now and potentially incoherent, but hear me out. First I started thinking about how demonized cigarette smoking has become. I specify, because we don’t see ads telling people to stop cigar smoking or pipe smoking, even though I am sure there are antis out there that would tell me, “Oh, Don’t worry, we will tackle them next.” There is a double-standard out there, that smoking one type of tobacco is wrong, but it is okay to smoke cigars or pipes because people smoke these less frequently.

What got me thinking about this were various articles, from pipe and cigar smokers that pointed the finger at cigarette smokers saying they were the ones to blame for all the bans and that if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have smoking bans. Maybe this is true, but maybe not… but what was clear from this is that society really doesn’t demonize the other two types of smoking as much or we wouldn’t have some people trying to play to victim card. Or maybe someone always comes out to play the victim card.

This kind of bugs me, not because I have anything against cigar smokers or pipe smokers, because I plan to become one.  I do have a problem with finger-pointing, especially when I’m not sure it really makes a difference what kind of smoke to non-smokers. The majority of non-smokers (true non-smokers) don’t really like rooms filled with any type of smoke. I like to think that we are all out in the cold together, regardless of how often or what we are lighting up.

Which brings me to another thought I had… I mentioned true non-smokers. Due to the way our society treats smokers, it really isn’t surprising that people lie about their smoking status. People that smoke occasionally hesitate to call themselves a smoker because they are not smoking the majority of the time.  I even had trouble calling myself a smoker for that very reason: I don’t smoke all the time.  Many of us, would rather just lie and say well I don’t smoke (internalized: all the time) or I’m a non-smoker. I wonder how many “non” smokers are actually, occasional smokers, opportunistic smokers or closet smokers. Would we (and I count myself) go as far as to hide ourselves from the statisticians? What if the rate of smoking really isn’t decreasing as much as they think? How many people just aren’t admitting to smoking anymore because of the social taboo?

What started me thinking about this is a thread in the SFK forum where many people said they didn’t smoke, only to turn around two seconds later to say, that they do on occasion. Well do you or don’t you? And I’m not attacking them… because I used to do the same thing. Part of it was because in my mind I still thought of myself as a non-smoker. Funny, since I inhaled quite a bit more smoke from cigarettes last year than any non-smoker. Probably a heck of a lot less than a regular smoker, but still more than none.

I’m not sure this is as common with pipe or cigar smoking. Generally, that might not come up in general conversation unless you bring it up. To be quite honest, I would have less trouble admitting to people I smoke a pipe or cigar compared to a cigarettes. I guess it is that cigarette smoking stigma.

But I guess I won’t knock societies’ tolerance of pipe or cigar smoking too much since it is what is allowing me to venture forth with the pipe smoking hand in hand with my boyfriend. He is totally on board. We are going to visit a tobacco shop together when the pipes I ordered come in. I was thinking of ordering tobacco online, but we a great tobacco shops here and I wouldn’t mind getting the advice of the shop owner since he is well-known for being really knowledgable and helpful. Plus, then I won’t have to worry about how much duty will cost.

On that note… I will sign off for the night. Happy smoking, whether you proclaim it to the world or not. I understand either way.