Another example of wrong and bad ask me answers. July 25, 2007 2:57 AM   Subscribe

Almost all the answers in this thread are wrong and bad.
posted by Meatbomb to Etiquette/Policy at 2:57 AM (103 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The poster asks "Can anybody explain this phenomenon? Has anybody ever heard of this?"

Almost every single person who answers, answers the unasked question "Is it a good idea to start smoking?"

That is wrong and bad.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:59 AM on July 25, 2007


Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, boys!

Yes, that is both wrong and bad.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:44 AM on July 25, 2007


I agree with Meatbomb, so I answered it.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:03 AM on July 25, 2007


Whaddyoutalkinabout? There are several people who answered by saying they were raised by smokers and have experiences similar to the OP's:

I can relate

I had this

If your dad smoked around you a lot, indoors especially, maybe you did get enough of a nicotine fix to get somewhat addicted.

This happened to me too

There are plenty more.
posted by Brittanie at 4:10 AM on July 25, 2007


Brittanie: see parmanparman, zenpop, The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew, et al.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:12 AM on July 25, 2007


So 50% of the answers are wrong and bad? Is that what you mean by "almost all"?
posted by gsb at 4:24 AM on July 25, 2007


Well, 50% isn't what I'd call a shit-hot success rate.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:28 AM on July 25, 2007


If you're crapping in Antarctica it is. Stay tuned for my AskMe about gently removing frozen penguin feathers from one's nether regions.
posted by yerfatma at 4:53 AM on July 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


We don't need a 100% "excellent answer" rate. Shitty answers are human nature. But we need ~100% "addresses the question asked" rate.

Some people saw the keywords SMOKING and ENJOY and DREAM and CRAVING and just started typing, riffing on the general theme.

That is bad and wrong.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:00 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, no one can accuse you of straying from your point.

Which is good and right.
posted by Firas at 5:05 AM on July 25, 2007


Agreed.

What i find funny is that oxford blue, whose entire response consists of

"Hey, kid--this is America. Follow your dreams...But seriously, don't try and rationalize your way out of this. No "I could try just one..." Be fully prepared to start something if you do decide to smoke."

then proceeds to call out Deathalicious for his more on-topic response. Hilarious!
posted by vacapinta at 5:21 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Look if the question was "What is the psychological phenomenon behind a person's innate desire to smoke" rather than "I have really wanted a cigarette and am thinking of lighting...what's this all about?" I would have looked for the answer. But the only answer I can give this poster is the right one: Smoking is drug addiction and no sane person can condone drug addiction.
posted by parmanparman at 5:45 AM on July 25, 2007


It is wrong. Bad is relative.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 5:48 AM on July 25, 2007


Wrong is relative, bad is a figment of our imaginations. Nonetheless, there are many things that are both bad and wrong.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:50 AM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


Like Paris Hilton, say.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:50 AM on July 25, 2007



Like I said, I've never tried smoking anything in my life. Can anybody explain this phenomenon? Has anybody ever heard of this? Most people I know that have never smoked are repulsed by the smell and have never had this desire that I harbor.


Auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Is that the right answer, MeatBomb? Do I win a prize?
posted by parmanparman at 5:52 AM on July 25, 2007


My dearest and most esteemed parmanparmnan: please re-read the question (or read it, as the case may be)... all of his questions are around the theme "what is the psychological phenomenon behind...", while nowhere does he say, even indirectly, that he is contemplating starting smoking and wants to know if that is a good idea.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:53 AM on July 25, 2007


Look if the question was "What is the psychological phenomenon behind a person's innate desire to smoke" rather than "I have really wanted a cigarette and am thinking of lighting...what's this all about?"

You really should re-read the question. For example, where exactly does he say he's thinking of lighting?
posted by vacapinta at 5:54 AM on July 25, 2007


Is that the right answer, MeatBomb? Do I win a prize?

Um, no it is not the right answer. Are you pretending to be retarded?

But yes, you do win a prize. Today is your special lucky golden day. The prize is that you are the special guest star of this MetaTalk thread.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:57 AM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


My dearest and most esteemed parmanparmnan: please re-read the question (or read it, as the case may be)... all of his questions are around the theme "what is the psychological phenomenon behind...", while nowhere does he say, even indirectly, that he is contemplating starting smoking and wants to know if that is a good idea.

Really?

I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. Recently I've been having dreams where I'm smoking a cigarette and REALLY enjoying it. It makes me feel very relaxed (which is what they supposedly do right?). When I wake up I have what feels to be the taste of cigarettes in my mouth, and an intense craving to smoke one.
posted by parmanparman at 5:57 AM on July 25, 2007


and you can't even spell my name right.
posted by parmanparman at 5:58 AM on July 25, 2007


All dissent is rewarded by your choice of yoghurt. All it takes is one moment of weakness, and bow! The vegetarians have won. I'm looking at you. As I reminder, I have copyrighted various vowel sounds and they may not be used against me. I'm looking at you, vacapinta!
posted by oxford blue at 6:02 AM on July 25, 2007


I'd say the right answer, if one insisted on answering, would have been "No, I can't explain this phenomenon. No I haven't ever heard of this."
posted by Partial Law at 6:02 AM on July 25, 2007


I am a former smoker and perhaps MeatBomb is too. I have sometimes been struck with the intense craving to smoke, especially if I have been drinking. Even though I have been clean for five months, I also have dreams where I'm smoking a cigarette and really enjoying it, wanting one when I wake up.

If a dream is an open-ended scenario with many outcomes in reality, then as a sane person I can only offer some outcomes of the scenario if he were to act on his desires.
posted by parmanparman at 6:04 AM on July 25, 2007


Parmanparman, I'm pretty sure that if you engage in a (admittedly harmful) recreational activity twice a year out of your own volition, you're hardly considered an addict.

But don't let me deter you from your crusade.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:05 AM on July 25, 2007


Can I get a wink from everyone with their head up their ass?

Butterfly kisses!
posted by carsonb at 6:08 AM on July 25, 2007


Of the Askme thread and this one, which is more like Paris Hilton?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:09 AM on July 25, 2007


Slimepuppy. I quit smoking in one day reading a book by Alan Carr. He makes no distinction between a person who smokes a hundred a day or one a year. The smoker who only lights up once a month is still keeping up an addiction to nicotine. It might not be a classic interpretation, but it's the truth.
posted by parmanparman at 6:11 AM on July 25, 2007


I'm off to buy a house on Capitol Hill. TTFN!
posted by parmanparman at 6:14 AM on July 25, 2007


Fantastic. Do you apply this to everything in life?

One drink makes you an alcoholic, one cupcake makes you a fatty, one joint makes you drug addict, going over the speed limit once makes you a reckless driver... I'm sure this is helping you quit smoking and all that, but it ain't really helpful to the question at hand. Nor a hard and fast rule as such, more of a technique to help you cope with quitting the habit. The fact that an author calls it 'the Truth' and you agree with him doesn't necessarily make it true.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:18 AM on July 25, 2007


Dear parmanparman, I do hope you'll forgive me for the slip in typing your (most excellent) username. I have already forgiven your improper capitalization of my name, indeed I wasn't even intending to mention it, because that would be a derail and move away from the tightly focused theme of this thread into an irrelevancy...

Holy shit, I am sensing a theme here!
posted by Meatbomb at 6:19 AM on July 25, 2007


Yeah, there's a pretty damned specific set of questions there, and none of them are "should I start smoking? Because I think picking up a serious smoking habit is a really great idea..."

I know it's a touchy subject—smoker's regret and the desire to keep people off a path you aren't glad to have gone down yourself or watched someone close to you go down—but it's not the question, and unchecked morality policing anytime someone talks speculatively about smoking isn't cool.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:23 AM on July 25, 2007


I'm pleased to see that the mods have cleaned out some of the "Don't ever smoke!" non-answers. But in fairness, there's still several "give one a try; you won't get addicted from just one" comments there which don't answer the question any more than the "don't ever smoke!" comments did. They should go too.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:28 AM on July 25, 2007


as a sane person I can only offer some outcomes of the scenario if he were to act on his desires.

That's not really what AskMe is for; I won't comment on your sanity because I don't know you. However, if you think any idiot in America or elsewhere doesn't either know or know where to get information on the dangers of smoking enough so it has to be part of an AskMe derail, I'd say that's bordering on crazytalk.

I removed both your answers as well as about 50% of the other ones in that thread. I even did a close read on the OPs question to see if he/she was looking for advice about smoking, warnings, discussion or anything else and I didn't see that. People who said something like "maybe your parents snoked when you were a kid" I usually left in
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:28 AM on July 25, 2007


It might not be a classic interpretation, but it's the truth.

"There's no real evidence for it, but it is scientific fact."
posted by flashboy at 6:28 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oops, looks like the mods are one step ahead of me. Ignore previous comment.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:30 AM on July 25, 2007


It might not be a classic interpretation, but it's the truth.

So does that mean the classical interpretation of addiction is wrong?
posted by jmd82 at 6:31 AM on July 25, 2007


In the end, everyone wins.
posted by oxford blue at 6:32 AM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


"I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every Panda that wouldn't screw to save its species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all the French beaches I'd never see. I wanted to breathe smoke."

Chuck doesn't smoke either.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:34 AM on July 25, 2007


and bad.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:40 AM on July 25, 2007


Isn't part of the charm of AskMe the ability to answer any question you want, regardless of whether or not it was actually asked? This thread reminds me of the time I asked about different types of RAM and got a lot of answers telling me what computer to buy.
posted by TedW at 6:46 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe someone could be nice enough to ask the question people want to answer. I'll post "Hey, I've heard smoking is harmless and fun and I'm thinking of taking it up. Is this a good idea?" if someone else will handle "Should heroin junkies seek rehab?" and "Astrology: is it totally real?"
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 6:54 AM on July 25, 2007 [8 favorites]


I think I'm just going to start answering all questions as relationship questions:

"How do I open ProEngineering files in Solidworks?"

Seriously, Pro/E would be better off without you. Who needs someone that is just going to use them and then move on to another CAD program at the drop of the hat? Just do Pro/E a favor and dump them. Oh, and make sure she gets her shit checked for viruses.
posted by Loto at 7:22 AM on July 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


Almost all the answers in this thread are wrong and bad.

Well, at least they aren't bong and rad!!!! HA. Duuuuude.
posted by The Deej at 7:27 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The smoker who only lights up once a month is still keeping up an addiction to nicotine.

Wow wow wow.

I understand how powerful the addiction to nicotine and other substances must be, and how powerful the desire to prevent suffering in others, but this statement (whoever wrote it) is utter nonsense and completely eviscerates the meaning of the word "addiction".

Furthermore, as hard as it is to believe for someone not so programmed, there are a lot of people out there, a lot more than one would think who can and do sporadically consume addictive substances, even nicotine, cocaine, meth, heroin and cheese doodles. These people aren't better than those who are more prone to addiction, but they aren't all fooling themselves, either--hopelessly in denial of their deleterious addiction to a weekly/monthly/yearly cigarette, line, or doppio machiatto. They're just lucky.
posted by kosem at 8:24 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


maybe your parents snoked when you were a kid

When I was young I caught my parents snoking. I have been scarred for more than approximately 50% of my life.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:31 AM on July 25, 2007


I can't quit you, shitty AskMe answers!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:41 AM on July 25, 2007


I am considering taking up the pipe. I want to learn to blow smoke rings, and I like the smell of some pipe smoke, and I think it'll make me look cool and scholarly. Should I do so?
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:43 AM on July 25, 2007


One drink makes you an alcoholic, one cupcake makes you a fatty, one joint makes you drug addict, going over the speed limit once makes you a reckless driver... I'm sure this is helping you quit smoking and all that, but it ain't really helpful to the question at hand. Nor a hard and fast rule as such, more of a technique to help you cope with quitting the habit. The fact that an author calls it 'the Truth' and you agree with him doesn't necessarily make it true.

That's where you're wrong. Eating is not a habit. You have to eat. Try going to 24 hours without food. It's necessary for survival. Drinking alcohol and smoking pot are not habitual activities if they are once a month or so, but neither activity is necessarily addictive. Cigarette smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine. I don't know anyone who has ever gotten addicted to pot. I know people who have had an addiction to alcohol, but the circumstances that create that addiction are so different from the addiction created by nicotine that the two cannot be compared to each other. By the way, "one cupcake makes you a fatty"? I didn't realize fatness was synonymous with addiction.
posted by parmanparman at 8:47 AM on July 25, 2007


Cigarette smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine.

Which would explain why there aren't any people on the planet, let alone in this thread, who have a cigarette occasionaly but don't sit around having cravings in the mean time.

And, for the record, eating for subsistence isn't a habit. Eating more than that habitually? Darned tootin'.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:52 AM on July 25, 2007


In parmanparmanland, cigarettes are fallac symbols.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:52 AM on July 25, 2007


My parents snoked up a storn.
posted by The Straightener at 8:55 AM on July 25, 2007


You know, I wonder how much better/worse things would get if MetaTalk were just shut down.

In other words, if you wanted to increase the uptake rate of "flag it and move on," you shut off the release valve that is MetaTalk. Why flag something and move on when you can flag something and then bitch about it, too?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:56 AM on July 25, 2007


I don't know what a fallac symbol is. Maybe you've heard of a Phallic symbol?
posted by parmanparman at 8:56 AM on July 25, 2007


I can trace my smoking back to my parents preventing me from realising my dream of being a majorette when i was young.

Perhaps the poster is similar.
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:57 AM on July 25, 2007


I removed both your answers as well as about 50% of the other ones in that thread.

Good. This is the type of moderation — more so than deleting ChatFilter and mixtape questions, even — that actually affects AskMe and helps to keep its head above water; and lately, it seems to have become more necessary. So, thanks.
posted by cribcage at 8:59 AM on July 25, 2007


I started smoking on Christmas Eve, 2004. I had just had a conversation about all the things people were giving up for New Year's, so I decided to take something up instead.
posted by parmanparman at 8:59 AM on July 25, 2007


I don't know what a fallac symbol is. Maybe you've heard of a Phallic symbol?

I have. Maybe you've heard of a fallacy?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:00 AM on July 25, 2007


See, "fallac" is a conspicuous transliteration of "phallic" that happens to bear a close orthographic resemblence to the Latin form "fallacia", and so I'm pretty sure that Flo was making a kind of pun on oh never mind.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:02 AM on July 25, 2007


Cigarette smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine.

You do realise that the nicotine flushes out of the body within 48 hours, right? And if this was the case for me, I don't think I would forget to smoke for a day or two.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:03 AM on July 25, 2007


Which would explain why there aren't any people on the planet, let alone in this thread, who have a cigarette occasionaly but don't sit around having cravings in the mean time.

::raises hand::

Unless, of course, you're saying that wanting to have a cigarette occasionally is itself a form of addiction to nicotine-- that is somehow qualitatively different than simply wanting to or feeling like doing anything else that doesn't have obvious physiological utility (or that is even a bit harmful), in which case, allow me to register my disagreement.
posted by kosem at 9:05 AM on July 25, 2007


Last I checked, MeFi was often referred to as a "community"..

Hard and fast rules be damned, communities look out for one another.

Are a lot of anti-smoking preacher zealots in it just for the self-aggrandizing feeling of telling other people what not to do? Yeah, probably. But a lot of people just genuinely don't want to see yet another person drawn into the completely retarded allure that is smoking.

And when you see something like this:

I bet I'll get reeeeeeamed by other posters for saying to try a cigarette, but coming from my personal experience of non-addictivity and general healthy living, it's a little evil that can be managed and can be avoided at will.

I'm sorry, but this is perfect tinder for the "no, smoking is bad" fire that ensued in the thread. That's an ignorant and misleading statement. There isn't a multibillion dollar industry of quit-smoking products for no reason at all....
posted by twiggy at 9:25 AM on July 25, 2007


It's no more ignorant and misleading than the onslaught of 'if you smoke a cigarette once, you'll be addicted for life'. That's the problem with generalisations and expounding your own personal experience as science fact. Especially when the person asking the question isn't looking for the pros and cons of smoking but why he has an (seemingly) irrational desire to do so.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:33 AM on July 25, 2007


So does that mean the classical interpretation of addiction is wrong?

If by 'classical interpretation of addiction' you really mean 'dominant US interpretation of addiction', then yes it is.

However, if you mean the version as defined by the DSMIV, which, paraphrased, amounts to 'continuing compulsive use in the face of negative consequences', then no it isn't.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:40 AM on July 25, 2007


Awww...I really liked my snarky response to oxford blue. Tiny tubes of meat in cellphane-wrapped packs? It should have been siiide-barrrred.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:47 AM on July 25, 2007


what the hell, people? It's not like a cat's getting declawed.
posted by boo_radley at 9:47 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, crimany. Lots of people up in arms on this one. I felt like most of the smoke/don'tsmoke responses came from the "When I wake up I have what feels to be the taste of cigarettes in my mouth, and an intense craving to smoke one" bit.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2007


What slimepuppy said.

Incidentally, I used to socialize with smokers in Manhattan. Out of sheer boredom, I joined them occasionally - so I was having maybe a cigarette a day on average for a year or so. When I moved to San Francisco, I stopped altogether. That was 7-8 years ago. So ... just maybe its not always addictive all the time?

In any case, the poster didn't even ask about any of this. They just asked about their dreams.
posted by vacapinta at 9:52 AM on July 25, 2007


Cigarette smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine.

I loved it when the tobacco companies' own ads, supposedly to curb smoking by minors, said "smoking is an adult custom." (Google that phrase if you want.) "Custom" not "habit" or "addiction" or "compulsion." And what better way to encourage kids to do something than to say "No no!!! That's what grown-ups do!"

I don't know why that particular phrase has struck with me. Maybe I admire the cleverness of it.
posted by The Deej at 9:56 AM on July 25, 2007


Cigarette smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine.

This is precisely wrong. Cigarette smoking is difficult to quit because it's a habit, not because nicotine is very addictive (which it is). This is why the patch or gum helps some people to quit but still has fairly high recidivism rates:
This translates into 24.8% of those who reported an attempt to quit being abstinence for ≥1 months duration of abstinence at the time of the survey.
Were the only issue the addiction to nicotine it would certainly be more successfully managed than ~25%.
posted by OmieWise at 9:56 AM on July 25, 2007


That's where you're wrong. Eating is not a habit. You have to eat. Try going to 24 hours without food. It's necessary for survival. Drinking alcohol and smoking pot are not habitual activities if they are once a month or so, but neither activity is necessarily addictive. Cigarette smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine. I don't know anyone who has ever gotten addicted to pot. I know people who have had an addiction to alcohol, but the circumstances that create that addiction are so different from the addiction created by nicotine that the two cannot be compared to each other. By the way, "one cupcake makes you a fatty"? I didn't realize fatness was synonymous with addiction.

Eating junk food is a habit, not a necessity. Cigarette smoking is also a habit. An often addictive one. Habit is not the opposite of addiction. Some people, including some researchers, consider overeating an addiction.

Weird.
posted by desuetude at 10:00 AM on July 25, 2007


Cigarette smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine.

I think this is a fascinating statement, parmanparman, because of how beautifully it shows the way that certain phenomena tend to be socially and culturally constructed.

You've said earlier that you quit with the help of Allen Carr's book. Would I be wrong in thinking that this is the view that he takes? There's a sense in which certain false beliefs about the nature of addiction may be very helpful to the recovery process. 12 step fellowships have a whole range of these -- about things like addiction being necessarily progressive and fatal, and about its being a spiritual malady. These statements tend not to be supported by the totality of the evidence, but people are often reluctant to challenge them for fear that by doing so, you may undermine somebody's faith and by doing so, jeopardize their recovery. On the other hand, experience of drugs and addiction is so subjective that when many people experience an explanation that they found helpful, they tend to insist that that's how it must be for everybody. This tendency has kept addiction treatment in the dark ages for a very long time.

Generally though, today when we talk about 'addiction', we understand that we're really talking about a biological/psychological/social phenomenon that's explicable by several competing theoretical models -- none of which are really accepted as being the one correct explanation, and sophisticated researchers and clinicians now tend to recognize that when we talk about a human behavior as complex as this, the diversity of experience means that it's much more effective to be able to choose the useful bits from all of these competing models, rather than insisting of the absolute correctness of any particular view.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:18 AM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


desuetude: If habit is so close to addiction, why'd you take issue with my comment that he might be "a little addicted" to second hand smoke? He certainly acts like he is.

Good morning, freakoutparty. Nice to see I'm still unbaleeted.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:22 AM on July 25, 2007


has anyone seen languagehat? parmanparman seems to be singalling him.
posted by shmegegge at 10:37 AM on July 25, 2007


I can trace my smoking back to my parents preventing me from realising my dream of being a majorette when i was young.

*twirls baton*
posted by quonsar at 10:46 AM on July 25, 2007



Maybe someone could be nice enough to ask the question people want to answer. I'll post "Hey, I've heard smoking is harmless and fun and I'm thinking of taking it up. Is this a good idea?" if someone else will handle "Should heroin junkies seek rehab?" and "Astrology: is it totally real?"

Sounds like a pitch for Mefi Jeopardy. A bizarro inverse of AskMe where people randomly post answers to unasked questions and others supply the appropriate question:

AT: The answer is "Dump the no good too timing SOB."

*buzzer*

AT: Contestant 1?

C1: What is "My baby daddy disrespects me, does our relationship have a future?"

AT: Judges? ...I'm sorry, that's incorrect. The correct question was "My cat disappeared for a few hours and came home declawed and circumcised, what's going on?"

posted by juv3nal at 11:00 AM on July 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


Also, on a more serious note, the idea that smoking one cigarette is fueling an addiction is ridiculous.

Twice a year, during fall and spring finals, I purchase a softpack of Kools. For me, it is a custom. The nicotine is a stimulant that helps keep me awake, no smoking laws force me outside to take a break, the smell (which is why I choose Kools) reminds me of my father which helps calm my nerves, and I find the act itself relaxing. Does this make me an addict? To me, it is a custom. Just because you are an addict again after one puff doesn't mean everyone is.
posted by Loto at 11:17 AM on July 25, 2007


I also quit smoking using Allen Carr's book. It is a book for people already addicted to nicotine and who have a smoking habit. It works by redefining your relationship with smoking. That it isn't actually an enjoyable, relaxing experience. It is just you feeding an addiction which you don't need, want, or even find pleasurable. For this method to work, you can't believe that just one cigarette every now and then is okay. It's important that someone who is addicted/habituated to smoking not think that casual use is a reasonable goal. His actual examples are of people who only smoke once or twice a day and claim they aren't addicted, not the people who smoke a couple times a month when drinking with friends. But he also has to make it crystal clear that as an addict, you can't think you can become one of those people who smokes occasionally. You will start your habit again. So maybe he's taking a broad definition of addiction, but it is a necessary definition for his audience and for his method to work.
posted by team lowkey at 11:20 AM on July 25, 2007


desuetude: If habit is so close to addiction, why'd you take issue with my comment that he might be "a little addicted" to second hand smoke? He certainly acts like he is.

An addiction is a habit on which one is terrifically dependent, physically or emotionally. I don't see how the OP could be considered to have either a habit or an addiction.

How is he acting like he does? Because he's dreaming about smoking? Perhaps his dream-self, the same self that likely does other never-in-the-real-world things, is addicted to dream smoke (which contains no chemicals, has no negative effects, and is only experienced when he is unconscious.)

Nicotine only stays in the bloodstream of a current smoker for 3-4 days. The physiological effects of that exposure to secondhand smoke as a child are long gone.

He didn't say that after a dream, he runs out to the nearest corner bar and breathes deep. THAT would be acting like he has some sort of addiction to second-hand smoke.
posted by desuetude at 11:43 AM on July 25, 2007


I'm too involved to be clear-headed on the issue. I consider cravings symptoms of addiction because they're all I experience. I know you're correct, but I guess it seems important to me map cravings, whatever their source, somewhere relative to addiction and habit in the big picture.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:54 AM on July 25, 2007


I'm too involved to be clear-headed on the issue. I consider cravings symptoms of addiction because they're all I experience. I know you're correct, but I guess it seems important to me map cravings, whatever their source, somewhere relative to addiction and habit in the big picture.

Well, I think cravings are relative to addiction and habit for someone who has actually had a habit or addiction. But not for our dreams-smoking-only dude.

And sorry if my response seemed harsh on you personally, Ambrosia. I was aiming for funny-and-a-little sarcastic in the description of dream-smoker, not mean-sarcastic.
posted by desuetude at 12:18 PM on July 25, 2007


Me? I'm a second-hand smoker.
posted by Floydd at 1:09 PM on July 25, 2007


des- But he was exposed with some frequency, so it's long-ago ultramild usage + cravings in times of stress. That's what I meant by "acting like" addiction, this is somewhat akin to relapsing to something he never really started and never really quit.

If nicotine's as addictive as some people have said, and I don't ague that it isn't, I've seen it go both ways, then why can't second hand smoking cause some physical addiction even in the absence of the habit?

No offense taken whatesoever, I was just glad to have the chance to follow up with you in here.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:07 PM on July 25, 2007


twiggy: Sorry it was flamebait, but calling something I wrote which was cleary qualified as my own. personal. experience. "ignorant and misleading" is a little like a reaming, no?

and another one for you, des:

Some people, including some researchers, consider overeating an addiction.

Weird.


There's dopamine and seratonin in big starchy meals, and maybe more of it for some of us. At least, that's what I hang my overeating on.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:18 PM on July 25, 2007


hmm i suggested smoking somehow from reading the question and the rest of the answers. Then i read the question again. then i actually answered it. Maybe the way it was written leads one to think the OP wants to start smoking?
posted by captaincrouton at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2007


des- But he was exposed with some frequency, so it's long-ago ultramild usage + cravings in times of stress. That's what I meant by "acting like" addiction, this is somewhat akin to relapsing to something he never really started and never really quit.

I think that the exposure and the cravings are still at cross-purposes, though. He wasn't calming his stress as a little kid with nicotine...he was passively exposed, whether the situation at the time was stressful or happy. Since he doesn't seek out smoke while awake, I don't think that we can frame this as being at all akin to dependence.

If nicotine's as addictive as some people have said, and I don't ague that it isn't, I've seen it go both ways, then why can't second hand smoking cause some physical addiction even in the absence of the habit?

I can't find a reference now, of course, but I don't think that secondhand smoke is a good delivery system for nicotine? Anyway. I could agree that it's possible that stress is bringing on a specific sense-memory of the smell of smoke, which he may associate positively with childhood. But since he doesn't dredge up this memory consciously, it's not a habit. Since it's not based on any actual tobacco exposure, it's not physical addiction. And I think it pushes the definition of "addiction" waaay off the page to use it to mean the enjoyment (especially while asleep!) of the memory (and related associations) of a particular odor.

Also, we remember the dreams most recent to waking...for all the OP knows, he's commonly an anti-smoking activist in the dreams he had earlier that night.

On preview, Ambrosia: The "weird" wasn't for overeating being an addiction, it was my reaction to the comment of parmanparman's to which I was responding.
posted by desuetude at 2:41 PM on July 25, 2007


Dreams! That's where I'm a-smoking!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:51 PM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm confused. Part of the question was 'has anyone heard of this' followed by asking for why it might happen. I have heard of it, it happened to me too. So I wrote about that and tried to describe how it affected me. I can't answer why it happened exactly but tried to get across that it's obviously psychological somehow and how strong the urge was (given I smoked way too few for there to be a physical addiction). I certainly didn't say anything about whether the OP (or anyone else) should smoke or not, yet my answer was deleted. If the question is 'has anyone heard of this' then why delete answers where people say yes, they have?

I agree that a bunch of the other stuff was getting off track and that I probably could have worded mine slightly better to differentiate from the derail (assuming I magically knew the derail stuff was going to be posted, which I didn't), but there was still some pretty heavy handed moderation done to that thread, something I'm really not used to seeing. The question specifically asked for other people's experiences, why delete them just because a bunch of people decide to go all surgeon general?
posted by shelleycat at 4:18 PM on July 25, 2007


Looking at the deleted comment, shelleycat, it reads as a description of your waking experiences as someone who had smoked, with some "also smoking is nasty" thrown in. You spent all of one brief sentence mentioning that you had sort of felt the same way before launching into discussion of your post-smoking addiction/obsession with cigarettes.

Considering what a mess the thread was when Jess and I (apparently simultaneously) fell upon it this morning, the deletions may have been a bit more brisk than they would be for a sedate, unflagged thread, but your comment didn't spend much time actually answering the question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:39 PM on July 25, 2007


I have just posted an extraorindarily insightful answer, if it helps. : p
posted by misha at 4:50 PM on July 25, 2007


it's much more effective to be able to choose the useful bits from all of these competing models, rather than insisting of the absolute correctness of any particular view.

By a person who is :

'continuing compulsive use in the face of negative consequences'

Perhaps there's a little bit of a gap there.

This tendency has kept addiction treatment in the dark ages for a very long time.

12 step treatment is not the predominant form of treatment in the uk and as far as it's official literature goes - it claims no monopoly on treatment. The predominant form would seem to be the treatment offered by the council on alcohol - manage it with 'units' etc, it's a cheap shot but it is worth noting that the former head of that organisation was more or less continually drunk. It's also worth noting that the treatment that gets offered where i live is not 12 step, has a 0% success rate and has been in place for 30-40 years. So - i wouldnt point to 12 step groups as being the originators of some sort of 'dark age'.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:18 PM on July 25, 2007


I thought about answering the question, but I'm too cranky because I still suffer from cravings despite having not smoked for over two years.
posted by dg at 7:55 PM on July 25, 2007


grar grar I am making a moral judgment about your answers and bitching about it in MeTa grar grar

Seriously, get over it.
posted by blacklite at 8:41 PM on July 25, 2007


I had serious cravings today for the first time in months, and I blame that thread.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:52 PM on July 25, 2007


grar grar hee hee
posted by ottereroticist at 9:53 PM on July 25, 2007


when Jess and I (apparently simultaneously) fell upon it this morning

I am now imagining cortex and jessamyn falling in slow motion upon a thread, all bared fangs a-drip and claws out, tearing it to shreds like twin tasmanian devils in a cloud of dust and floating cartoon stars.

The image alone is worth a few bad and wrong AskMe answers.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:36 PM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Someone's been looking through the company photo album again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:06 PM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


late to the thread, and I doubt anyone is reading anything down here, BUT...

I have been smoking for over half of my life. I started at 18 due to peer pressure (well, I'd already tried other substances, so I was curious...).

I was raised when there was no social stigmata in smoking in your own house with the kids present.

I grew up knowing that smoking was bad. I remember stealing my Dad's cigarettes and getting caught flushing them down the toilet.

All of that said, I want rid of my addiction, but I adore the effects of smoked tobacco as a drug. Adore. Love. Don't ever want to be truely a non-smoker.

I acknowledge that this is fairly fucked up, and as the father of a wonderful 10-year-old girl, I don't want her to take the habit up. But there is something about a strong drag on a butt, the promise of focus of attention, of peeling the extraneous away from my mind... I feel coherent like laser light, sharp like Damascus steel, can juggle disparate details in my head and produce a perfect news story meeting just the required column-inches or a marvelousley simple bash script that solves a major production problem.

Don't get me wrong, I hate maintenance smoking -- the algebra of need, as it were... but I have such a problem dissociating the times when a cigarette is exactly the right feeling to have ever made more than a half-assed attempt at quitting.

Just felt the need to put in a mixed review for the habit as opposed to all of the haters in the thread.

And FWIW, Davidoff are probably my favorite smokes ever, though I don't know if they even exist anymore.
posted by drfu at 2:08 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Meatbomb is right -- a very simple question that lead to a Thread Gone Bad.
posted by drfu at 2:36 AM on July 26, 2007


Oh man! My very first callout! (I don't come over to the grey that often, just noticed this thread.)

yeah, I agree with you that those comments were unhelpful (including mine.). To be fair though, i was just trying to counter zenpop's entirely unfounded claim that nicotine is more addictive than heroin. But I get it. Don't just call someone out on their facts in an askme answer, especially when both your and the answer that you're calling have no relevance to the real question.
*Mental note*
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:42 AM on July 26, 2007


I think everyone realises that the problem with AskMe is that the questions are posted FIRST. This allows any so-called "answer" to be yawped out by the braying mooncalfs of this site - which replies often enough have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic.

I think it's obvious that the site could be improved enormously by posting the questions only AFTER a range of answers, thoroughly vetted by the site administrators, had been posted. That way the question could be crafted in such a way as to ensure that all comments were entirely on-topic.

I think that's a fair and just solution, although - to be frank - I could probably get the same effect by just turning my monitor upside down.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2007


I am now imagining cortex and jessamyn falling in slow motion upon a thread, all bared fangs a-drip and claws out, tearing it to shreds like twin tasmanian devils in a cloud of dust and floating cartoon stars.

I do appreciate the efficiency of cleanups these days. I remember the frustration when spammers were posting on the front page and Matt was off to lunch or something.

On the other hand, those moments when Matt was away were indirectly responsible for some of the more memorable moments on the front page. Double posts that lived forever and, in the way that a rotting carcass draws in buzzards and hyenas, also brought in some of the best jokes and snark.

In other words, there will never be another portobello mushroom thread, will there?
posted by vacapinta at 3:47 PM on July 26, 2007


In other words, there will never be another portobello mushroom thread, will there?

Well, I don't know, but that kind of strikes me as a net positive.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:01 PM on July 26, 2007


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