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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Smoking and Astrology

Okay, okay, I admit it. I am a smoker. I sit before the keyboard today and tell my dirty little secret. I smoke. I try to make it okay by explaining that cigarettes such as Marlboros and Camels have over 255 chemicals that make them burn faster (so you smoke more) and are very unhealthy. BUT, I, the elevated and enlightened, smoke "all natural" cigarettes. I even go one step further and wow them with my knowledge that some brands of "all natural" cigarettes don't put chemicals in the tobacco, but that doesn't mean they don't put them in the paper... to make them burn faster. They burn faster so that you smoke more. I point out that I can smoke one cigarette to every two or three of other brands. Three if the smoker inhales generic brands... Yes... They have even more chemicals in them, which my cynical mind feels is a way of killing poor people faster.

I started smoking later in life and at first really watched how much I smoked. Maybe only 2 or 3 in a usual day. If I went over that, I cut back the following few days. Then, it happened. I moved into a house with a chain smoker. It was their house, so I couldn't insist that windows be open and heads thrust outside. That visual cue, cups of coffee and stimulating conversation around the kitchen table, did me in. I still don't smoke a whole pack a day, but it's much more than I ever intended when, I the Non-Smoker, became me, the Smoker.

I have tried to quit, more for others than myself, so the attempt was never full throttle with all my will power behind it. I poo poo people's warnings, although I have seen the health hazards for myself. I use many come backs, not because I feel others are wrong, but because I rebel when people impose their thoughts and opinions to evangelize others into their way of thinking. It doesn't even matter if I agree with their opinion. I always find myself playing the devil's advocate for the other end of an opinion, just to try and spark a little bit of free thought.

My doctor once asked me if I had a list of symptoms, usually associated with smoking. I had none of them. He told me that less than 30 seconds after finishing a cigarette, your blood pressure skyrockets. I challenged him to prove it would be the same with me. He took my blood pressure and marked it down on a note pad. I explained I usually did not smoke an entire cigarette at one time, but for this I would make a point of it. I went outside and dragged down a whole cigarette. I went back into his office and he took my blood pressure. It was in the same range, but a little lower than before. He waited a few minutes, then took it again. It was still in the same range, but a little lower. What could he say then? I agreed to have him explain the patch to me, but when I looked at the content of the lowest patch and compared it to what I took in each day, I found that the patch had 5 times more nicotine in it than I took in smoking. They have gotten better since then, but ever since a friend of mine chain chewed Nicorette gum and ended up in the hospital, I just don't feel that substituting one application of a chemical with a different application of the same chemical is all that it's cracked up to be. I am sure that the pharmaceutical companies who make millions of dollars off the backs of those who feel otherwise would disagree with me. How many Stop Smoking campaigns are financed by the corporations who profit off of the act of quitting? If it were that easy, wouldn't we be giving heroine addicts heroine, instead of methadone? They say that quitting smoking is harder than kicking heroine.

Here are some of my favorite justifications:

> Native Americans used tobacco to clear up bronchitis and tight chests.

> People who get sick from smoke do so partially from smoking, but also from a predisposition to certain illnesses. There are many smokers who live to a ripe old age and others who get ill young.

> If second hand smoke were so bad, don't you think smokers, who take in both first and second hand smoke, would be even sicker?

> The doctor asks everyone if they smoke. No, it's not because you live with a smoker.

> I have no other vices. I don't drink alcohol a lot and don't do drugs. I have to have some fun.

> That's just how my inner Scorpio death wish manifests with my Moon in Pisces addiction. It doesn't help to have a Neptune conjunction to my Sun either. Other than speeding occasionally, it's my only way to dabble with danger.

> They are all natural! It's the healthy way to die.

> How can you eat fast food all the time and animal carcasses and tell me I am being unhealthy?

> Everything in moderation.

> Freud would describe it as either a late oral fixation or a high thanatos... or both.

> Alcohol kills more people each year than anything else. That is combined deaths from accidents, trauma and health issues. Why aren't you trying to close down your neighborhood pub? (This goes down very well in Oregon, which is known for having the largest number of brew pubs per capita.)

> The average human has more carcinogens in their body from household chemicals than from cigarettes. Remember the Scotch Guard you put on your carpet, your car upholstery, your shoes and your couch? Maybe you need to build a new, all natural house and then lecture me on carcinogens.

> Did you know that Teflon pans release carcinogens if you use them over higher than medium heat? Or if you have a scratch on the Teflon? Do you see a skull and cross bones on your pots and pans?

I am sure I have come up with others. Share some of your favorites too! I admit that there is some truth in all those excuses. But I also am a person who heavily believes in owning their stuff. I smoke. It's not healthy. I know it. And just because there are other things out there that people lend a blind eye to because millions upon millions has not been spent advertising it's bad for you, doesn't excuse my behavior and choices either.

What would an Astrologer's advice be to smokers? I found that in the 4 A's to Stop Smoking smushed between Aromatherapy, Acupuncture and Ayurveda.

• Aries – Most likely to quit cold turkey. When the initial ideas hits you to quit; throw away your lighter and cigarettes and just go for it. You have the will power to quit.
• Taurus – Taste oriented people so concentrate on the bad taste of cigarettes; especially in the morning. Reward yourself for being stubborn enough to want to quit. Chewing gum may help you.
• Gemini – This sign rules arms, hands and lungs. Need I say more? Keep yourself constantly busy with things other than smoking. Carry things, wear more jewelry on your hands, have manicures, just keep your hands busy.
• Cancer – Does smoking make you feel more secure at home or did your parents smoke? Work on your emotions on “why” you smoke. Fight the urge to smoke after a meal. Promote the notion of a long healthy life.
• Leo – Does smoking make you feel part of the crowd, or do you look good doing it? Smoking is publicly admonished so it isn’t a way of fitting in anymore. It stains your teeth and you smell bad. Now what is looking good about that?
• Virgo – Very health conscious so heavy smokers are somewhat unusual. If trying to quit; realize the reality and practicality of smoking vs. not smoking. You should be able to quit smoking easily as you are very adaptable and flexible.
• Libra – Your life is all about balance, so make a list about pros and cons of smoking or not. When the cons outweigh the pros, it won’t be hard for you to see how to stop.
• Scorpio – Your desires are key to quitting smoking. If you totally make up your mind to stop, it is a no brainer that it will happen.
• Sagittarius – You feel like you are lucky person; but smoking may make you feel like your luck has run out. Concentrate on the dangers and the unhealthy signs from smoking. Be mindful of details and how many cigarettes you smoke and concentrate on your sense of humor.
• Capricorn – Do you think smoking makes you more professional? You are very success oriented; so your practical reasoning sees that this is a dead end. Setting examples is important; so concentrate on what message you are sending others if you continue to smoke.
• Aquarius – Use your intelligence to stop smoking and help your friends stop too. Become the reform leader. Break the smoking routine and try quitting cold turkey.
• Pisces – See reality and not fantasy. Smoking is dangerous to your health so face the music. Find a motivational force and decide to quit. Try increasing your artistic talents and keep your hands busy too.

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At 8:38 AM, Blogger Twilight said...

Great post, VB!

You're not ready to stop - that's all there is to it.

I think that one day you WILL be ready, and you'll know it. It happened to me and both my parents.
You'll know WHEN. :-)

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