Smoking a cigarette looks cool.
No matter how much negative publicity cigarette smoking gets, it doesn't  take
away from the fact that lighting up a fresh cigarette with a slim gold lighter
is a cool, solitary  moment. It's just you and that first lungful of smoke, held
for just a moment, before you exhale your thoughts or any problems you might
have slowly and defiantly from your lungs.

I give people who smoke
cigarettes, the most condemned act of individual decision that exists, a lot of
credit. Despite the dire warnings of developing  lung cancer, emphysema and
other dangers to their health, they continue to smoke, defying convention and
public condemnation of their habit.

We're all aware that smoking
cigarettes is habit forming and tougher to quit than heroin or alcohol. I
remember when I quit I hallucinated.. Others experience a withdrawal so painful
that it makes quitting  smoking seem hopeless. Cigarettes, unlike alcohol and
hard drugs, don't affect your motor skills or your coordination. You don't get
pulled over for driving while smoking a cigarette. And though they're
outrageously expensive, you can buy them everywhere..

Studies have shown
that smoking a cigarette can put you in a better mood, help you control your
weight, improve your focus and concentration. Despite these benefits, health
professionals say the risks involved in smoking far outweigh any pleasure or
intellectual inspiration you might experience. Research has shown that nicotine
triggers the release of several brain chemicals such as dopamine, the feel good
chemical. Over time however, nicotine receptors become desensitized causing more
receptors to grow. The longer and more often you smoke, the harder it is to

If smoking didn't make you feel good, no one would smoke. There
was a period in our history, shortly after World War Two. when nearly all adults
smoked. Offering  a cigarette to someone was a gesture of friendship. A persons
engagement with others while smoking could stimulate and clarify the
conversation making smoking cigarettes an approved accessory for social

Despite the vilification of cigarette smoking, twenty
percent of the American people continue to enjoy that singular, pleasurable
moment that cigarettes deliver . That's why quitting smoking is such an intimate
experience. It began that way and ends that way. The pleasure you once derived
from smoking can become your deadly epitaph. 

But it still looks cool.