Michael Douglas: Just let the man smoke, for God's sake

Categories: Popular Culture

michael douglas smoking.jpg
Back on the shit?
Every time I go to the doctor's office, it's the same old story: I show up on time for the appointment I've made in advance and then wait for two hours, during which they make sure I'm going to pay them and provide six-month-old gossip magazines for me to read. Then they tell me they don't really know what's wrong with me -- it could be a number of things, but they don't really know -- and that there's probably nothing they can do for it but see if it gets worse, and then they send me home to hope my insurance will actually pay out. But before I go, they always take a few minutes to let me know I should quit smoking, as if they're doing me some kind of fucking favor.

What I'm saying is, Michael Douglas, I know where you're at.

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you -- it causes cancer and emphysema, aside from the myriad effects (like shortness of breath and asthma) that are more immediately apparent -- and it's become extremely unhip, too. Apparently people don't like it when there's a risk that you're poisoning them with your habit, a risk that's been almost universally embraced by the always-go-with-the-worst-possible-case-scenario medical doctor community through a variety of studies, essentially all of which have some perceivable methodological flaws. On the other hand, the only entities offering any studies to contradict the medical-establishment studies are from tobacco companies, so that's not exactly promising either.

But whatever, the point is, smoking is no longer cool. I already know that. I already know every single reason you can think of for me to quit smoking and probably a bunch you haven't even thought of, and so does Michael Douglas. There's just one problem: Smoking is awesome, and it's addictive as hell.

That's not an excuse, it's just an explanation of why I'm not quitting right now -- because no matter how many reasons I may have to quit, I'm just not going to do it until my desire to quite overcomes my dread of quitting. Even if smoking is not cool. Even if it may or may not be harmful to others. Even if I have cancer.

MICHAEL-DOUGLAS-SMOKING-THROAT-CANCER.jpg
For the approximately 6 billion people in the world who don't smoke, this fact may be hard to comprehend. "What has many shaking their heads now is the fact that, as a survivor of his stage IV cancer diagnosis, he may have once again succumbed to the very thing that put his health at risk in the first place," laments Huffington Post Celebrity, for example, helpfully adding that "We hope that the white object in Douglas' hand was just a piece of gum." (Just by the way, there's no certainty that he's actually smoking in this one image that may or may not depict him smoking -- it does kind of look like he is, but then again, that very well could be one of those quit-aid inhalers shaped like cigarettes. There's really know way to know.)

Yes indeed, Huffington Post and 6 billion other people, it may seem hard to understand, but you can stop shaking your heads now, because here's why: Like all smokers who continue to smoke despite the clear disadvantages to doing so, Michael Douglas is a man who enjoys smoking, and is also powerfully addicted to it. Put that on your stack of excellent reasons never to start smoking, but don't blame the dude for doing it. And while you're not blaming him, go ahead and mind your own fucking business, because Michael Douglas is a grown man and smoking cigarettes is not illegal.

Yet.

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26 comments
dmm
dmm

What's a desire to "quite"?

Lazeruslong
Lazeruslong

Just part of the mania that affects America and why I left for Free country to live in. They deserve whats happening to them there for being so completely stupid. Smokers have the right to smoke if upsets you tough stuff your opinion doesn't count with us at all

Scoopdig
Scoopdig

If you want to be healthy, you have to reduce your toxic load.  That includes eliminating the toxins from cigarettes.  Tough medicine?  Yes.  But your choice.  Health or disease.  You choose.

Drph
Drph

Could it be that Mr Douglas in this picture was using medical marijuana for his cancer?

Cole Durkee
Cole Durkee

"And while you're not blaming him, go ahead and mind your own fucking business, because Michael Douglas is a grown man and smoking cigarettes is not illegal."

Is that what you tell your children? About 90% of current smokers became addicted to nicotine before they were of legal age to smoke, and many picked up the habit from smoking parents.

Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga Teacher Training

Now this is saying it direct. A smoker does have their rights. Doctors advice and social pressure weighs heavily but I do empathize with your point. Michael Douglas' smoking should not be made into an issue as he is just the end-user. 

Arniekujala899
Arniekujala899

Yes, I am a smoker, one of the new social class " LOWLIFE SCUMBAG SMOKERS".  I am deluged by statements that I am poisoning other peoples air.

But, look at the main cause of air poisoning.  That is burning gas in internal combustion  engines.  Smoking produces a very small percentage of the "POISON" in the air.  It is more acceptable to blame smokers rather than drivers for the poison in the air, just as it was more acceptable to agree that the world was flat rather than a sphere.  

Barry Moore
Barry Moore

Hi Jeff - I too agree the "moral majority" should "butt out", but as a Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Hypnotherapist who has helped many people quit smoking, I'd like to point out the one sentence in your article that "hits the nail right on the head" -- "no matter how many reasons I may have to quit, I'm just not going to do it until my desire to quit overcomes my dread of quitting."  The key is DREAD of quitting... I think that for most smokers it isn't so much that they enjoy it, but that they fear quitting.  

Unfortunately the "addiction" is much less chemical that the media would lead us to believe.   If it was really about "nicotine" the "nicotine replacement therapies" wouldn't leave people so badly still wanting to smoke.  From what I've observed with my clients, it's more about the habit and the  "emotional" connections that they have associated with smoking.  

Ask most smokers to really pay attention to how it feels as they smoke for about a week, and they will realize they really don't like it, but rather that they are hooked to it.  That hook is the unconscious associations that they have associated with smoking which is why hypnosis (when done correctly) can be so effective in helping people quit.

While I'm not one for running someone else's life, I will say that the "stigma" attached to smoking is likely saving a lot of lives.  "I feel like an outcast" is the #2 reason (right behind I'm experiencing some heath problem) that people come to see me to quit smoking.  It's ironic because many of those same people became smokers to be accepted by a peer group in school.

Barry Moore, MNLP, CHSmoking Cessation Specialistwww.smokefreenow.ca

Lynne
Lynne

Great writing Jef and although I am a non smoker, I think everybody should just mind their own business.  It is absurd that a person is so judged and under a micrscope constantly if they're in the public eye.   Minding other peoples business and judging and opinions seem to be the soup du jour these days and it's making ME ill!  Just sayin....

Tigertail5432
Tigertail5432

I too found myself addicted to cigarettes. Until that is until I started (vapeing). I quit smoking on Dec.!st 2010. and haven't even taken a puff off of a cigarette since. Vapeing  is a way of using an electronic device to create a nicoting vapor that you inhale. It is not harmful, no really, and it contains no carsinogens,no flame,no ashes,no butts,no smell, no smoke. It has been a glorious gift to myself. The hand to mouth habit is hard to break. Now I don't have to! And I have saved over 3 grand since December.   Stop smoking and try Vapeing. Please

Jhmc
Jhmc

Michael Douglas has been cured of his cancer but we cannot yet call him a survivor.  I get sooo sick of all these assholes bitching about smoking.  If he enjoys smolking and knows the risk it is his business.  Get over yourselves people; we are all going to die.

roneida
roneida

smoking can't be bad for you.

our beneficient government subsidises its,growth and manufacturing.  Our government would never allow anything bad to be sold to us, not even light bulbs that give off too much light. or potato chips, or soft drink.

Lowrider2003
Lowrider2003

I am an ENT doctor with 30 years experience diagnosing and treating tongue cancer.  It is documented by research that quitting smoking after diagnosing cancer helps decrease the chance of cancer recurring or a new cancer (second primary) occurring.  Mr. Douglas chose a young wife and chose to create new young children and now has an obligation to try and be there, especially for his second young family.   I think he's selfish and irresponsible not to do everything he can to increase the odds of him being there for his young family.

epocs
epocs

Um, love this! Definitely no way to tell that's a smoke in his hand though for sure, ahemcoughcoughachkblech. 

Errel
Errel

What does it all really matter anyway?  The whole world is being lit up with giant match to the end of a nuclear fuse that's gonna smoke the whole planet!

David M
David M

Is that why you type so well?

Barry Moore
Barry Moore

Nicotine is FAR from safe it's actually more toxic than both strychnine and cyanide! Check it out on Wikipedia.... LD50 (amount of nicotine required to kill 50% of people) is lower than for strychnine and cyanide!  Yes it's better than smoking and less obnoxious, but it's still delusional to think that it's not unhealthy for you.  

steff
steff

It is true that it is a safer alternative to smoking, but there is no certainty that it contains no carcinogens, and nicotine itself is harmful to you.  I myself vape instead of smoking, however I am not in denial that although it is safer, it may not be completely harmless.

HelloKiersten
HelloKiersten

Kill yourself if you want, I just don't want to smell your smoke.  It's putrid like your breath, and second hand smoke kills too.

Mil10ler
Mil10ler

Oh don't we hate it when someone makes so much sense...

Lilypod301
Lilypod301

Being an ENT gives you the credibility to judge the actions of another person? 

SST19
SST19

If you never smoked, how can you comment on this. It is bad for your health, but for some it is impossible to stop. He is making his own choice. I also know plenty of people with bad breath who dont smoke.

Barry Moore
Barry Moore

No, but it does give credibly to the statement " It is documented by research that quitting smoking after diagnosing cancer helps decrease the chance of cancer recurring or a new cancer (second primary) occurring. "

Lilypod301
Lilypod301

Thank God the ENT was here, otherwise I would have never figured out smoking hindered cancer recovery. And launching into the moral diatribe makes so much more sense now. Thanks Barry.

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