Put that butt out and kick the smoking habit

CARBONDALE, Ill. (U-WIRE) — As if we smokers needed yet another reason to quit, the American Cancer Society released a study last week that shows smoking increases the chances of contracting — get ready for this — MALIGNANT CANCER OF THE RECTUM! This joins a long list of other horrendous maladies that have been linked to smoking, including emphysema, impotence and, in some cases, full-body paralysis.
Scientists have now concluded that nicotine is the cause of everything, the black plague of the modern world. I have been wanting to quit for some time now, and actually have eight different times in the past four months. But nothing is quite as persuasive as the new possibility of having a giant tumor growing out of my rear end. This is a situation I usually try to avoid.
Anyone who has tried to quit can tell you that it is no easy task — it is an addictive activity in many different ways, and it has been around since the dawn of time. History says smoking originated in prehistoric times, when a socially inept caveman found an odd plant and, as with most odd things he found, decided to light it on fire and put it in his mouth. Almost immediately, the plant made him feel cool, and he no longer had to resort to beating women over the head with a club in order to get them to have sex with him. I will admit that I expected similar results when I started, and so far haven’t been disappointed, except for the fact that women still won’t sleep with me.
In addition to apparently giving a person the sex appeal of a trout, smoking is also expensive — I understand you can buy a small yacht for the price of a pack of cigarettes in Chicago. Sometimes I think I would save myself a lot of time and health problems if I just drove by the gas station and flung a wad of money out the window in the general direction of the building. Also, cigarettes have the unique quality of making anything within a 25-foot radius smell like burning hair. And if nothing else, it’s no fun to accidentally take a drink from a soda can in which you just disposed of a cigarette butt.
Throughout my efforts, all the major quitting aids have been of little help — the gum has been talked up as a perfect way to eliminate the mental addiction, instead focusing your mind on the fact that you are gnawing on a Chiclet that tastes similar to grass clippings. Other aids have yielded similar results. Having begun to hang out with future journalists is not a help, either. As a rule, journalists will ingest anything into their body that can lead to inebriation.
I am sure I am not alone in wondering if anything can help to break this habit short of the surgical removal of my lips, which also has the distinct possibility of reducing sex appeal. From what I can tell, a smoker wanting to quit just needs to face the music, admit that starting probably wasn’t the brightest of ideas and just put out all the flames for good. And then spend two days twitching in the dark, trying to ignore that your teeth feel funny.
But as I try again, I am sure I will be able to take some new encouragement into the dark with me. I really don’t think cancer of the rectum is the pain in the butt that I want to have to deal with.
Geoffrey Ritter’s column originally appeared in Southern Illinois University’s Daily Egyptian on Dec. 11. Send comments to [email protected]