Smoking Cigarettes

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 338
  • Published: June 24, 2012
Read full document
Text Preview
Close to 1.3 billion people currently smoke cigarettes, setting aside all the nonsense they hear about how many chemicals are in them. None of the much flaunted appeals of cigarette advertisers, such as superior taste and mildness, induces us to become smokers or to choose one brand in preference to another. Despite the emphasis put on such qualities by advertisers, they are only minor considerations. Smoking is as much a psychological pleasure as it is a physiological satisfaction. It really isn't the taste that counts. It's that sense of satisfaction one gets from a cigarette that they cannot get from anything else. What is the nature of this psychological pleasure? It can be traced to the universal desire for self-expression. None of us ever completely outgrows his childhood. We are constantly hunting for the carefree enjoyment we knew as children. As we grew older, we had to subordinate our pleasures to work and to the necessity for unceasing effort. Smoking, for many of us, then, became a substitute for our early habit of following the whims of the moment; it becomes a legitimate excuse for interrupting work and snatching a moment of pleasure. You sometimes get tired of working, and if you sit back for the length of a cigarette, you feel refreshed afterwards. It's a peculiar thing, but I wouldn't think of just sitting back without a cigarette. I guess a cigarette somehow gives me a good excuse. Most of us are hungry for rewards. We want to be patted on the back. A cigarette is a reward that we can give ourselves as often as we wish. When we have done something well we can congratulate ourselves with a cigarette, which in a way tells us that we have been "good boys." We can promise ourselves: "When I have finished this piece of work, or after I have written the last page of my english paper, i'll deserve a little fun. I think i'll have a cigarette." The first and last cigarette in the day are especially significant rewards. The first one, smoked right after breakfast, is a sort of anticipated recompense. The smoker has work to do, and he eases himself into the day's activities as pleasantly as possible. He gives himself a little consolation prize in advance, and at the same time manages to postpone the evil hour when he must begin his hard day's work. The last cigarette of the day is like "closing a door." It is something quite definite. Smoking is often merely a conditioned reflex. Certain situations, such as coming out of the subway, beginning and ending work, voluntary and involuntary interruptions of work, feelings of hunger, and many others regulate the timetable of smoking. Often a smoker may not even want a cigarette particularly, but he will see someone else take one and then he feels that he must have one too. While to many people smoking is fun, and a reward in itself, it more often accompanies other pleasures. At meals, a cigarette is somewhat like another course. In general, smoking introduces a holiday spirit into everyday living. It rounds out other forms of enjoyment and makes them one hundred per cent satisfactory. To explain the pleasure derived from smoking as taste experience alone, is not sufficient. For one thing, such an explanation leaves out the powerful erotic sensitivity of the oral zone. Oral pleasure is just as fundamental as sexuality and hunger. It functions with full strength from earliest childhood. There is a direct connection between thumbsucking and smoking. The satisfied expression on a smoker's face when he inhales the smoke is ample proof of his sensuous thrill. The immense power of the yearning for a cigarette, especially after an enforced abstinence, is acknowledged by habitual smokers. Frequently the burning down of a cigarette functions psychologically as a time indicator. I've heard that in some countries, farmers report distances in terms of the number of pipes, as, for example, "It's about three pipes from here to Smithtown." A cigarette not only measures time, but also...
tracking img