The Philosophy of Social Smoking
The idea behind "Social Smoking" is to maximise the pleasure involved through only smoking high quality cigarettes - to control when and what you smoke, and not be controlled by the cigarettes. (The principles of social smoking are obviously applicable to cigar and pipe smoking as well).|
It implies reducing the number of cigarettes smoked, being able to choose when to smoke for pleasure rather than being driven by nicotine addiction. This broadly means a consumption of somewhat less than 5 cigarettes a day maximum, at an average of 10-20 cigarettes or less per week. For cigar smokers the rate would depend on the size of cigar, but for smaller cigars this might be in the range of a max of 2-3 per day with a weekly total below 10-20.
It is interesting that an often quoted fact used to bolster the anti-smoking argument is that most smokers want to give it up, but find it difficult to do. Hence the authoritarian argument of "we'll make it easier for you by making it illegal" (It's worth noting that only 30% of smokers actually try to give up - so that means 70% want to continue).
How much better if the anti-smoking lobby could encourage people to cut down rather than promoting the all or nothing approach. With moderate exercise and improvements in diet included in such a programme, there is no doubt that any health risks would be reduced. (see Smokers Health Page)
The only people to lose from this would be the cigarette companies and the taxman.
For you to look forward to and enjoy your occasional smoke, the cigarettes need to be of good quality, taste, flavour and character - to be consumed in a relaxed atmosphere, either in good company or in quiet solitude. The relaxing effect this occasional smoking can have on the mind and body should not be underestimated in today's often stressful society. (Keeping consumption at this level will also help to reduce the addiction to nicotine for many people.)
With regard to health risk, it appears that undertaking most activities to excess is likely to be harmful in someway in the short or long term - and it applies to alcohol, eating, working, etc., as well as the infamous smoking. The sensible aim should be, it seems to me, to indulge in the activity at a level of intensity at which the pleasurable benefits are not outweighed by any substantial increase in health risk.
As an individual I reserve the right to my own freedom of choice to smoke, but accept that "Social Smoking" should always be carried out with due consideration for non-smokers.
It is easy to understand the aversion of non-smokers to incessant or intrusive puffing of smoke in all directions - I find that objectionable myself - and such inconsiderate behaviour has no doubt helped fuel the almost hysterical aversion of great swathes of society to smokers in general.
If you cannot give up, or don't want to give up, then why not give "Social Smoking" a try? It will increase your enjoyment, reduce the health risk and make you more socially acceptable too!
There are 3 key steps you will need to take:-
At present there are only a limited number of tasteful quality cigarettes available on the market, but there are increasing opportunities to buy one's own quality tobacco and blend different types to produce a range of smoking experiences. Modern cigarette "stuffing" machines and pre-made filters and tubes are readily available which make the process simple and convenient to produce your own blend of quality cigarettes, making the old automatic grasp for a regular drag on a cheap cigarette a thing of the past.
This approach would also pressurise cigarette companies to produce purer quality blends with fewer chemical additives. The unit price might go up for the smoker, but does this matter if you smoke less and enjoy them more?
To encourage this approach, Social Smoking needs the appropriate clean and relaxing smoking environment and here the current plethora of smoking bans does little to help. If people are intent on smoking, the logical approach to reducing health risks is to require adequate air extraction facilities, reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and to keep residual smoke to a minimum.
If you are intent on smoking, then become involved in the Campaign to amend the ban.
Please e-mail any views you have on this issue - for or against...!