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Friday, November 20, 1998
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 64

SA Prez Addresses Students' Concerns

Staff Editorial

Letters to the Editor

About the Cougar

'Why quit something you enjoy?'

If smoking is happiness, there's no reason to stop

Brandon Moeller

The other day, I attempted to quit smoking. This might have been the stupidest thing I've ever attempted to do in my life -- except for that time I attempted to walk across the water of the fountain behind E. Cullen. That hurt. I guess I have done a lot of stupid things, but trying to quit smoking was one of the most pointless.

Of course, I know smoking is bad for my (physical) health. Please don't bother to tell me this. But -- and smokers everywhere will agree with me -- not smoking is worse for my health.

When you talk about a person's health, you need to consider the whole picture: physical, emotional and mental health. If you are a smoker and you quit, you immediately become an emotional wreck. Well, at least that's what happened to me.

I must be honest, readers: I didn't quit cold-turkey. But, I drastically reduced the number of cigarettes I smoked. So drastically that I couldn't hang out with my smoker friends anymore. So drastically that I had to hide my own pack of cigarettes, because just looking at them would make me want to end my quest to stop smoking. I was on the edge of having a mental and emotional breakdown. 

The worst thing about it was that my friend successfully quit smoking cold-turkey. He woke up one day and drew the line -- the unspoken line that every smoker dreams of drawing, but never quite can. And I applaud him. But he misses it. I can see it in his eyes. And I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want to be a victim of a society that says, "Smoking is bad."

Yet I am nicotineis bitch. If you're a smoker, then cigarettes rule you like an oppressive dictator who is only there to hold on, I'll be right back. I need a cigarette.

So one day my mom picked me up and we went to see grandma. Grandma "B" has been smoking for a very long time, and her physical health shows it. Mentally and emotionally, however, she is as keen as ever.

We were sitting there at the kitchen table when "B" shuffled through her pack of Marlboros as if she was looking for the worthiest of all smokes and lit it like it was the last thing on Earth that could make her happy. We lit up together for the first time. My mom, who knows I smoke, was appalled at my being so daring. Even though my mom disapproves of it, she knows that it is my decision to smoke. And she still loves me.

So, as I was talking to Grandma, I brought up the question of why she hasn't quit the habit. She looked at me like I was a young child who had only experienced life through the television that was playing in the background. She smiled, as if my naive comment was instantly forgiven, and said, "I've had a miserable life. This is the only thing I have left to live for. Why quit something you enjoy?"

I've thought about Grandma's statement ever since. And I gave up on my attempt to bring even more misery into my life. Nothing will keep me from happiness.

Moeller, who is on a cigarette break
right now, can be reached at

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