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I think the stress it puts on people's lives comes largely from how much we've demonized and ostracized people who smoke from normal society over the years. We call them "addictive" (which we used to not do even decades after the first U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking and its health risks), and then smokers call themselves "addicts" with no control over their habit. But the truth is, you do have control. The act of lighting up is a conscious one, and you wouldn't do it in that moment if that wasn't what you wanted to do, even as you're thinking to yourself "I want to quit". I wonder how many smokers out there live with self-fulfilling prophecies of failing to quit from being told "you're an addict, tobacco is more addictive than heroin, it's the hardest habit to quit in the world, take these pills and gums and patches since you can't help yourself, oh shit that doesn't work because pills and gum fucking blow compared to having a cigarette". Keep in mind the majority of smokers quit cold-turkey according to government surveys, although vaping might soon overtake that if it isn't driven into the ground by draconian regulation.
Here's some random advice on quitting smoking: first, stop treating yourself like trash for it. Then think hard about what it is you get out of smoking, why you continue doing it, because you get *something* out of it; you have to be, unless you're literally insane and have some mental disorder, or you wouldn't continue lighting up. You would stop smoking just as easily as people can stop themselves from eating a pound of cookies every day in spite of how tasty and sweet they are. From there, I suggest you look into low-risk alternatives like vaping or snus. Try moving onto something safer that you can actually enjoy while you contemplate quitting tobacco and what you would gain/lose by doing that (keep in mind the incentive to quit nicotine falls off hard when you take it through a much safer route like vaping, snuff, snus). The cold-turkey quitters and people who actually manage to quit with shit like Chantix and nicotine patches have already decided they're not getting anything else of tobacco, whether they're conscious of it or not. But if that shit isn't working for you, and you're struggling to quit, you aren't one of those people. You still enjoy something about smoking, which keeps you coming back. This is why vaping is such a miraculous invention; it retains almost all the qualities of smoking people enjoy (the nicotine, the exhaled aerosol, the taste and flavors, branding, added bonus of having a modular gizmo you can tinker with or a sleek and pleasing device like Juul - all qualities that are lost on shitty pharma quit-smoking products) while being so low-risk, it's really unlikely vaping will ever kill anyone. This is how I helped my older mid-30s brother, at the cusp of serious life expectancy reduction from continuing to smoke, quit cigarettes. All he used to tell me was "I'm addicted, that's why I can't quit", and drilled down from there.
Anyway, it ain't stressing the health care system, either. In fact, smokers save society money. Why? Life expectancy reductions. Because life-long smokers tend to die earlier than people who don't, there are many costs associated with getting old and decrepit that are totally foregone. Pension funds, social security, future Medicare - all of that money that might be spent on a smoker in his 80s is cut out because he died in his late 60s from smoking. If anyone's a burden on health care, it's healthy/lucky people living to be 90, taking 5 meds a day for the numerous illnesses of old age, soaking up social funds to continue living without a job, needing various technologies and therapy to heal injuries from falls or strokes or heart attacks. All of that is foregone because the smoker is expected to die 5-10 years earlier than would be his time if he hadn't smoked his whole life. Meanwhile, tobacco users contribute literally billions in tax revenue on their fucking own.
Smokers more than pay their dues to health care by dying earlier than non-smokers. They also pay for a lot of other shit because of excise taxes. If everyone stopped smoking tomorrow, in a few decades health care would become increasingly more expensive as more money is needed to take care…
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