By Eric Dehm
I served in the Navy for 13 years and saw the benefit of smoking.
Yes, the benefit.
You see, while smoking certainly wasn’t encouraged by the commands I served under, there was one way it made the workday better for those who partook. It was obvious to smokers and perhaps even more clear, and irritating, to non-smokers.
Smokers worked fewer hours. It’s true. Let’s say you took four 15-minute cigarette breaks a day. That’s 5 hours a week you weren’t working when the non-smokers were.
When you walked outside of your workspace and the boss asked where you were going, you were good to go as long as you said “smoke break.”
On the other hand, if you said you took a regular ol’ nonsmoking-related break, you may as well said you and your best bud Jane Fonda were headed to a quick anti-military rally led by Saddam Hussein.
There were people who actually graduated to become what I called “Smoke Kings” too, and you know exactly who I’m talking about. E-6, holding court, giving advice and telling sea stories every time you hit the smoke deck. He’s there when you arrive, there when you leave, and you know damned well he’ll be there the next time you come out.
The benefit might have seemed nice at the time. Honestly, who doesn’t want 15 minutes (at any job, let alone one as stressful as the military) to chill every couple of hours?
But that lone benefit from back then is far outweighed by the drawbacks you’ll come across later.
Drawbacks might even be short-selling it considering we’re talking about things like cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and death.
Even when you know that’s what awaits you, quitting isn’t easy, you’ve built up a routine throughout your years of smoking and breaking a routine can be rough, and smoking cessation classes, nicotine gum and all the rest might be free in the military, but often come with a cost once you’re a civilian.
But there are free programs out there, including the impressive Become An Ex website launched by the Truth Initiative. The site offers support, advice and a substantial amount of info to help make the move to non-smoker status.
We spoke to Dr. Amanda Graham about BecomeAnEx, the Truth Initiative, and some of the programs they offer along with advice she has for those looking to kick the smoking habit. That full interview is available below.
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