I’m not a real smoker


Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

I’ve never considered myself a smoker. Whether I’m renting a hotel room for the weekend or filling out a questionnaire at the doctor’s office, I always choose non-smoker.

I don’t purchase or bum cigarettes. Personally I think smoking cigarettes is a gross, unattractive and dangerous habit. I don’t smoke weed. Both the medicinal and recreational use sound unappealing to me. Not to mention that I don’t need another reason to be more hungry or tired then I already am. So I’m not a smoker. I can’t be.

But I’m not necessarily saying that I absolutely never smoke anything though. Throughout high school and college I’ve enjoyed smoking hookah. To be honest, I’ve convinced myself, and probably most of my friends, that smoking hookah is different than smoking cigarettes: a “better” alternative in my mind.

Half the people reading this are nodding their heads in agreement thinking, “Yup, hookah is definitely better for us.” And the other half are rolling their eyes knowing that it is essentially the same thing.

But I’ll keep trying to convince myself that hookah does not make me a “smoker” and it is better than the alternatives, and here’s my opinions why:

Hookah is more widely accepted. Smoking hookah is seen as a social activity. It is legal for people over the age of 18, and cities across the globe are equipped with countless hookah cafes or lounges. It is also a popular activity in many different cultures.

Smoking cigarettes is often seen as unattractive and very dangerous. There are countless anti-smoking commercials advertised every day. There are also many non-smoking areas around houses, restaurants and commercial businesses. Smoking weed recreationally is illegal.

Furthermore, I’m not addicted to smoking hookah. I do it when there’s nothing else to do. I like to smoke it when I study or watch television, but I could easily stop or go without it with no bad consequences. I think that if it was just as harmful as other forms of smoking it would be advertised more.

Deep down, I know it’s not truly rational to say that one smoke is better than the next. In actuality, they’re all bad. Anything that has to come with a warning label or age limit just can’t be good for you. So even though I may be choosing the best of the worst, I’ve come to peace with my decision and I’ve found a way to rationalize it. At the end of the day, it’s my body, my lungs, my future.

Julie Ramos can be reached at [email protected] or @julie_ramoss on Twitter.