Smoking was a hobby that enjoyed much of the 20th century being regarded as modern, sophisticated and sexy. Iconic glamorous movie starlets helped to make smoking seem sexy & sophisticated, most notably Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn (in that image from Breakfast and Tiffany’s) and Marilyn Monroe. Such big celebrity names enhanced the allure of smoking, making it an appealing pastime for all who wanted to be fashionable, attractive and seen as part of the ‘in-crowd’.
Moving into later years, more recent stars such as Mia Farrow, Madonna and Lady Gaga took obvious inspiration from the older starlets and used the popularity of the iconic images in their own photography and artwork.
It has only been in the past couple of decades that we have seen the long term effects of smoking become apparent and a source of black humour in popular media, such as the ever puffing Dot Cotton from Eastenders or gravel voiced Deirdre Barlow from Coronation Street. Even the soaps can’t keep the unsexy, darker side of smoking shielded from the public for too long. As the newer generations need healthier, more aspirational role models, smoking has slowly left our screens in popular dramas and soaps, especially for actors and actresses who are presented as inspirational and attractive.
Towards the end of the 20th century and moving forwards into the present, 21st century, we all too slowly realised – thanks to the wonders of science and medical research – that smoking is an incredibly bad habit. Bad for your pocket, bad for your body and increasingly, bad for your street cred. Bad for your health is the main issue, rather than denting your household budget or your reputation thanks to halitosis and the relegation of smokers to outdoor spaces at pubs and clubs throughout the UK. There are undeniable links between smoking and cancer, lung cancer in particular.
As information was revealed about the dangers of smoking, the advertisement campaigns surrounding sales of cigarettes inevitably had to change. Cigarettes were no longer promoted by doctors as good for your mental and physical health, nor were they advised as an anti-depressant or stress relieving medication. Television adverts for cigarettes were banned, and restrictions on billboard and other poster style advertising soon followed. You can read more about the UK’s restriction of cigarette advertisements & promotions here.
Despite the health risks, there’s an aspect of smoking that many still find alluring and sexy. There is a ‘smoking Mistress’ fetish for a start, and the presence of cigarettes has an undeniable rebellious appeal and denotes a badass attitude. There are ways to still incorporate the ‘sexy’ aspects of smoking into your sex life or alternative fetish or tease session, without the negative impact on your health. How? Well for a start there are many e-cigarettes now available (know as personal vapourisers or ‘vapes’) and other inhalation machines which don’t present the health risks of traditional smoking habits.
Millions of people around the world are still addicted to traditional cigarettes and other forms of tobacco smoking. The UK government’s Department of Health has started an annual campaign to help people quit smoking for good. Stoptober is the initiative running throughout October 2014 designed to support those who want to give up smoking.
Stoptober begins on 1 October 2014 and runs for 28 days. Why? Because research has shown that if a smoker can quit smoking for 28 days, they are 5 times more likely to give up for good.
- You will both feel and be healthier inside and out
- Your breathing will be easier
- Your singing voice will likely improve
- You will smell better – both meanings!
- You will no longer subject those around you to the harmful risks of passive smoking
- You will save cash that you can put towards special days out, treats or spend it on friends and family
- Try nicotine cigarette alternatives, such as e-cigs/vapes, nicotine patches and mouth sprays
- Make a list of things that you will be able to buy with your saved money
- Build a support network – let people know you are quitting and quit with a friend if possible
- Treat yourself to something special (not smoking!) with every goal reached, ie. at the end of every week without cigarettes
- Break those conditioned habits. Recognise your craving triggers – in particular, alcohol – and do something different. Drink alcohol with your meal, or skip the pub for a night at the cinema.
- Stay busy and keep distracted.
Just one more thing…
Think positive. You’re not ‘trying to quit’ you are stopping smoking for good. Make a conscious decision to stop, then stop. Even if you need to use alternatives, or you have bad moments, don’t let it derail you from the main path of stopping smoking. You will be thankful for it in years to come, as will all those who truly care about you.
Good luck to everyone who makes the serious commitment to quit smoking for good with the help of Stoptober. Stay healthy, get sexy! Smoking is what you are, not what you do.