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Chain smoking raw vegan - what's the thought process?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 24, 2011 at 7:27 PM

I met someone who was touting his raw food vegan diet and all the health benefits associated with it, but was also a chain smoker. The irony was not lost on me and I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut, but I decided not to go there.

Are you, or anyone you know, still clinging to an unhealthy habit while trying to be paleo? Do you think the healthy eating makes up for the bad habit or do you realize the consequences and are unable to stop? I'm not here to judge anyone, I'm just trying to understand the thought process. Perhaps an addiction defies logical thinking.

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:42 PM

please don't take this as bashing AT ALL (previous smoker/drug addict here, i'm not lecturing), but my grandmother did the same thing and i had to sit with ther as she bawled her eyes out on her deathbed with lung cancer. feelings/energy does not indicate tumors. whatever you choose, please value your life!

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:37 PM

i wonder if an answer to the "get away from your desk" or get outside thing could be occupied another way? like taking pictures or a quick walk?

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:31 PM

"poking at personal struggles" +1,000. gentleness is what he needs.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on February 29, 2012
at 12:01 AM

This. Nothing more to say.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 28, 2012
at 11:33 PM

I'm similar, but opposite with the timing- I have maybe 1-4 cigarettes on the weekend, none during the week. Have done so for a while- it is a social thing that gets me outside, but is obviously so bad for me. It would be easy to stop, but I just haven't yet. Should probably get on that...

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on February 28, 2012
at 11:15 PM

This may sound sort of obvious, but it's also sort of cool: repeated attempts to quit are predictive of success. That's not a Jedi mind trick or anything, it's just math, or probability or something. And it's actually true.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2011
at 02:52 PM

Well said Jez. I don't know why this seems so hard to understand for some. Life isn't all or nothing. I also tend to think the people who don't get this were never addicted to nicotine and are simply lacking comprehension.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 08, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Gladwell talked about this in the Tipping Point. Smoking less than 4 or 5 cigarettes makes one a "chipper" ... and apparently somewhat resistant to full-blown addiction.

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on September 30, 2011
at 12:58 AM

nicotine is good for some brains...just not everything that comes in a cig...

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 29, 2011
at 10:51 PM

"Chain" smoking refers to the practice of smoking one cigarette after another with little or no break in between.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 29, 2011
at 10:50 PM

Based on what you said Melissa I wouldn't expect you to ever "become" a heavy smoker. Each individual has a different physiological response to nicotine. Some people smoke and never want to smoke again, some people can take it or leave it (social smokers, light smokers, etc.), and others are completely addicted chain smokers. Most of us on this site understand individual responses, tolerances, and effects regarding food, and tobacco use is no different.

59d367d77f4082717bade07508624db8

(1198)

on September 29, 2011
at 10:07 PM

I wasn't addicted to cigarettes until I was.

7d5d98a0453db2ae67358a3169888aca

(263)

on September 29, 2011
at 09:25 PM

waywardsister, I used e-cigs for a while, and I discovered that the "juice" they are made of (propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine) are both extremely high carbohydrate sweeteners. The sugars in these liquids do get into your bloodstream, despite being inhaled and not "eaten".

C1fb8666b1ae085507a76a4c494e4f0a

on August 25, 2011
at 01:11 PM

As a former smoker (now e-cig user), thank you for this. Exactly. The smoking raw vegan was likely a smoker before he was a raw vegan, and he's likely well aware of the contradiction, as I was when I was a veggie/smoker. There's a lot of shame that comes along with addiction, even to nicotine, so yes... you were right not to say anything.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 25, 2011
at 03:12 PM

Cigarretes are made from tobacco, which is a plant, totally vegan so far. But he is smoking, which is essentially cooking, the tobacco and therefore totally invalidating the raw aspect of the diet! You should recommend that he take up chewing tobacco instead. (typing this this gave me a big smile)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on April 25, 2011
at 12:25 AM

I know it's weird, but it doesn't really bother me. I never even had a cigarette until well into my 20's. I know I'm not addicted. I just like it. (I think that's what all addicts say! LOL) But I really, really don't care when I don't have them at all. I know, it's wrong.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 24, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Melissa, I was the same way for a long time. I only smoked when I drank, then I met my girlfriend and she helped me give it up (totally worth it). I always said I wasn't addicted which was true, but I also kidded myself, thinking that cigarettes went great with alcohol (which to some extent was true)...but having given it up, and then indulging, I was able to see the effects much more clearly. They made me feel rundown and like crap! I quit and never looked back. Wish I'd never started.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on April 24, 2011
at 10:05 PM

I don't think there is a thought process, to be honest.

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18 Answers

8
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on April 24, 2011
at 09:58 PM

Well let's look at this from another side for a minute - what if I were talking to you about the health benefits of Paleo while being a chain smoker? Yes, chain smoking is not good, but does that mean what I am telling you about Paleo is a lie?

The logic is, you realize the health consequences, but you haven't yet come to terms with your quit. For some, quitting can take months or years. Or even multiple attempts. You could have caught him in between quits. Or he could just be petrified of quitting because it isn't just like giving up bread, it's an entire lifestyle change. What do people do when they have a glass of wine? Or coffee? Or need a break from work? Or, by god, after sex?! It's scary. And then the health side effects. There was a while there where I felt so horrible I swore I was healthier before I quit.

I quit 6 months ago. It is my second long term quit. I am only now, six months in, starting to feel human again. My quit was easy. The physical side effects over the course of months were downright debilitating. But I was still paleo the whole time - before my quit and after. It doesn't change whether Paleo is good or bad because I was putting off going through the quit.

So you were right not to say anything. Maybe it's ironic to you, but chances are, it's a war in his head. And he probably likes someone poking at his personal struggles the same amount that you would like someone poking at yours.

C1fb8666b1ae085507a76a4c494e4f0a

on August 25, 2011
at 01:11 PM

As a former smoker (now e-cig user), thank you for this. Exactly. The smoking raw vegan was likely a smoker before he was a raw vegan, and he's likely well aware of the contradiction, as I was when I was a veggie/smoker. There's a lot of shame that comes along with addiction, even to nicotine, so yes... you were right not to say anything.

7d5d98a0453db2ae67358a3169888aca

(263)

on September 29, 2011
at 09:25 PM

waywardsister, I used e-cigs for a while, and I discovered that the "juice" they are made of (propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine) are both extremely high carbohydrate sweeteners. The sugars in these liquids do get into your bloodstream, despite being inhaled and not "eaten".

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:31 PM

"poking at personal struggles" +1,000. gentleness is what he needs.

7
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on September 30, 2011
at 02:58 AM

It's not a thought process, it's an addiction. No rules apply.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on February 29, 2012
at 12:01 AM

This. Nothing more to say.

4
Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 29, 2011
at 11:05 PM

No one is born addicted to cigarettes, but whether one is predisposed to becoming addicted to smoking depends on a confluence of physiological and environmental factors. This is why the "stickiness" of smoking varies from person to person.

Heavy smokers typically have a someone in their life who, indirectly or directly, introduced them to smoking. This may be a "cool" friend or older sibling. It could also be a respected/loved parent or grandparent who simply smoked in the presence of the child.

Heavy smokers also have a strong pleasure/reward response to nicotine. Like anything else, this response varies from person to person and as a result, some are repulsed, some are ambivalent, and some become chain smokers.

The bottom line is that the decision to start smoking and whether or not one continues is not rational.

Smoking was not particularly "sticky" for me personally (smoked on and off for a few years in high school and college), but when I decided to quit I had no problems.

However, this does not give me the right to assume that everyone's experience is the same as mine.

If someone wants to do right by their health in one area, and is dealing with an addiction in another area, they are at least trying to do right by their health in one area.

4
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on April 24, 2011
at 08:08 PM

There's not much of a thought process with addiction. This I know for sure.

While not ideal I think it's better to be a chains smoker who's at least paying attention to what they put into their mouth rather than not. Nothing makes up for being an addict of any kind but trying to eat something beyond Doritos and twinkies is a move in the right direction.

I try to take people where I find them and always assume they are more than the worst thing they do or have done be it to others or their own bodies. Everyone's out there just trying to do the best they can or at least I like to operate out of that assumption.

3
9305458f8b26a1ff2a0af37309baa465

(30)

on December 17, 2011
at 06:23 AM

I'm a vegan and a heavy smoker, it's simply because I'm addicted and have trouble stopping. Though I'm never giving up on trying to quit. I don't believe it compensates at all, I'll still likely get cancer if I keep smoking no matter what my diet is like however I still feel there are lots of benefits from a vegan diet that are not negated by smoking & I have moral reasons for being a vegan as well. Just cause I have one unhealthy habit doesn't mean I should and do other unhealthy things as well.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2011
at 02:52 PM

Well said Jez. I don't know why this seems so hard to understand for some. Life isn't all or nothing. I also tend to think the people who don't get this were never addicted to nicotine and are simply lacking comprehension.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on February 28, 2012
at 11:15 PM

This may sound sort of obvious, but it's also sort of cool: repeated attempts to quit are predictive of success. That's not a Jedi mind trick or anything, it's just math, or probability or something. And it's actually true.

3
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on April 24, 2011
at 09:59 PM

It's called licensing. You feel that since you did something that was so good, you can reward yourself with something that is just a little bad.

People have a tendency to overestimate the good they've done and minimize the bad.

Here's an article on psychology today:

http://tinyurl.com/3e5px5m

2
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:30 PM

I was never a heavy smoker, but smoked about three packs a week from ages 17-22, maybe 23. I would sometimes chain-smoke while drinking (which was pretty much every weekend). 4 years ago or so I got Bell's Palsy, and it's really hard to smoke when half of your face is paralyzed! I guess at that point I was ready to let it go; I quit completely for about a month, and since then I've been able to have a smoke or two with drinks, and that's it (and I rarely do that any more). I guess I'm lucky that I can have an occasional cigarette and leave it at that; a lot of people who used to smoke regularly can't, and end up getting addicted all over again. Sometimes I feel a little ashamed about smoking at all because I'm "such a health-conscious person," but I'm probably being a bit hard on myself. For a lot of people, it's a tough addiction to kick, and raw vegan smokers probably are a lot better off than SAD smokers!

2
40f1da3a8db532bd425f272e846e3e74

on October 29, 2011
at 12:01 AM

I'm a raw food vegan who has been smoking for just under a year. I smoke because I like smoking: the feeling of smoke entering my lungs and exiting my mouth and nose. If I could smoke weed in public, I'd do it. However, that's not possible, so I smoke cigarettes during my time away from home. Not everybody smokes for the nicotine.

1
Medium avatar

on September 29, 2011
at 11:26 PM

A raw vegan might actually be less susceptible to some of the negative effects of smoking due to their high antioxidant intake, which would mitigate the oxidative stress brought on by the smoking. This could possibly reduce the likelihood of lipoproteins becoming oxidized and converting into macrophage foam cells. The high polyphenol load might have a positive anti-carcinogenic effect via hormesis as well. Not an experiment that I would willingly participate in however.

1
F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on September 29, 2011
at 10:40 PM

Such hypocrisy! Lighting up counts as cooking...A real raw vegan would consume tobacco raw.

1
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on April 24, 2011
at 11:30 PM

I smoke occasionally, I usually have one or two cigarettes a day, but none on the weekend. I'm super weird that way. Most smokers I know wish they could get away with smoking as little as I do. I am not addicted, at all. It doesn't bother me not to smoke. It's a weird social habit at work that gets me away from my desk.

I know it's not good for me. I just kind of think everyone has to have a vice of some sort. I don't know. It wouldn't bother me to give it up, but I do enjoy it.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on April 25, 2011
at 12:25 AM

I know it's weird, but it doesn't really bother me. I never even had a cigarette until well into my 20's. I know I'm not addicted. I just like it. (I think that's what all addicts say! LOL) But I really, really don't care when I don't have them at all. I know, it's wrong.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 24, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Melissa, I was the same way for a long time. I only smoked when I drank, then I met my girlfriend and she helped me give it up (totally worth it). I always said I wasn't addicted which was true, but I also kidded myself, thinking that cigarettes went great with alcohol (which to some extent was true)...but having given it up, and then indulging, I was able to see the effects much more clearly. They made me feel rundown and like crap! I quit and never looked back. Wish I'd never started.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 29, 2011
at 10:50 PM

Based on what you said Melissa I wouldn't expect you to ever "become" a heavy smoker. Each individual has a different physiological response to nicotine. Some people smoke and never want to smoke again, some people can take it or leave it (social smokers, light smokers, etc.), and others are completely addicted chain smokers. Most of us on this site understand individual responses, tolerances, and effects regarding food, and tobacco use is no different.

59d367d77f4082717bade07508624db8

(1198)

on September 29, 2011
at 10:07 PM

I wasn't addicted to cigarettes until I was.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 08, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Gladwell talked about this in the Tipping Point. Smoking less than 4 or 5 cigarettes makes one a "chipper" ... and apparently somewhat resistant to full-blown addiction.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 28, 2012
at 11:33 PM

I'm similar, but opposite with the timing- I have maybe 1-4 cigarettes on the weekend, none during the week. Have done so for a while- it is a social thing that gets me outside, but is obviously so bad for me. It would be easy to stop, but I just haven't yet. Should probably get on that...

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:37 PM

i wonder if an answer to the "get away from your desk" or get outside thing could be occupied another way? like taking pictures or a quick walk?

1
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 24, 2011
at 09:53 PM

suicide...........

1
Fb2fe56c25332a9b683ee8ff518651b6

on April 24, 2011
at 08:57 PM

I started smoking coincidentally around the same time I started eating Paleo, not sure why. The irony is obvious enough for those around me. Not trying to defend smoking here, but I??m healthier than ever because of eating the right foods and exercise. I??m going to quit this month, but I don??t think there is any logic involved in such an unhealthy habit.

0
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on February 28, 2012
at 11:36 PM

"There's more to health than food, and there's more to life than health." Or something like that.

Most excellent thread here.

I keep drinking booze in ever ebbing and flowing amounts, while otherwise paleo. I'm utterly positive I'm healthier drinking booze on paleo than I was drinking booze on SAD.

I used to worry that my dependance on Prilosec was on account of my wine and whiskey habits, but nope, a clean diet cleared up those gut issues, I quit the PPIs, and booze seems to cause no troubles at all.

As a result, I feel pretty unmotivated to give up booze. I like it. It tastes good. It feels good. It's often times artful in its creation, preparation, and presentation--a true feast for all senses. Sometimes it's cheap and dirty and that feels good too.

Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps I'll have a nip of cheap and dirty bourbon from my flask on my noisy Chicago El ride home. A little bourbon can quiet those vexing cell phone talkers, letting the hypnotic wheels on steel squeal through.

0
9187bad9d34036fd92850fb7aa5064b0

on February 28, 2012
at 10:34 PM

Can I just say, I think its wonderful how open-minded and non-judgemental everyone's comments have been here. When I clicked on the link to look at this topic, I hesitated as I thought it would be filled with harsh criticism against smokers. (I guess this is also because I live in Australia, and Australians are VERY judgemental of smokers and the government is cracking down more and more every year against us, so I forget that people the world over are more open minded) I've been a smoker for 7 years. I've been vegetarian since I was 12 (for moral reasons only) then became vegan about 3 years ago (again, only for moral reasons). I became 'raw vegan' about 1 year ago and don't plan on quitting smoking. I don't want to. Its not because I think I cant, I know I can. I've done it before. (Didn't feel any better in the year that I wasn't smoking). I'm not a raw vegan for the health benefits, but for how I feel. It started by way of a detox and I became 'hooked' on the energy I had, the clear mind I had, the way I had more control over my emotions and also, it cleared up my adult acne. Now you may ask "doesnt smoking make you feel bad?"- well it doesn't. People have said its because I'm young (I'm 24) and that as I get older I'll start to feel the effects. When that happens, I'll consider quitting. But while I thoroughly enjoy it and it doesn't make me feel physically 'bad' I wont quit. Not to mention, I exercise for 1-2 hours 7 days / week and practise a raw-vegan approach to my diet, so I believe that 4-5 (additive free hand rolled tobacco does not have over 2000 chemicals as manufactured cigarettes do) cigarettes a day isn't too bad. Sure, not great, but not too bad either.

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:42 PM

please don't take this as bashing AT ALL (previous smoker/drug addict here, i'm not lecturing), but my grandmother did the same thing and i had to sit with ther as she bawled her eyes out on her deathbed with lung cancer. feelings/energy does not indicate tumors. whatever you choose, please value your life!

0
69f23639eff20502bf68758d4def29c9

on November 08, 2011
at 02:30 AM

Big upps for the I like smoking, smoking in general, despite being a raw vegan (jk). Part of me wants to quit for health reason, part of me really wants to continue smoking for the enjoyment and stress reduction. I smoke primarily in conjunction with cannabis, and rarely the two shall part. It's a heck of a lot better than when I was eating SAD, though when I eat SAD it can get pretty ridiculous in quantity. Personally I feel like sugar is way more addicting than most illicit drugs, but I haven't taken a ride on the H-train.

0
2782b6bd77049469c59d7cad13c98cc5

on September 29, 2011
at 09:19 PM

What does the "chain" part mean? Is it any different from regular smoking?

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 29, 2011
at 10:51 PM

"Chain" smoking refers to the practice of smoking one cigarette after another with little or no break in between.

0
D5ef6397b5e2fd6fe5f093da5e3d403b

(742)

on April 25, 2011
at 12:19 AM

I was a smoker for 20 years before I went Paleo. I have quit, but am now addicted to nicotine lozenges. I can't seem to give them up, no matter how well I eat. I tell myself it's better for me than smoking (which it is) and they help with the stress of having 2-year old twins (which they do) but they still contain toxic aspartame. I refuse to put chemicals in my body in the way of food, but will happily pop 4 or 5 of these lozenges every day.

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