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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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Social smokers are sometimes annoying to regular smokers. Especially because we rarely have our own cigs.
Social smokers are sometimes annoying to regular smokers. Especially because we rarely have our own cigs.

Did the smoking ban snuff out the social smoker?

"Bar Month" at is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs -- including guides, the latest trends, bartender profiles and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Recently, a friend asked me when was the last time I smoked a cigarette and I couldn’t remember. I found this interesting because, although I was not a pack-a-day smoker, I did like to suck down a few grits when drinking alcohol.

However, most of my alcohol consumption takes place at home -- where I do not smoke -- or in bars -- where I can no longer smoke. And so, guess what? I don’t really smoke anymore. And it didn't require anything. Not a patch, not gum, not pills. Just one law.

I’ve discussed this with fellow former social smokers and decided that because we’re not hardcore smokers, we’re unwilling to stand in outside in frigid temps. Plus, most social smokers do not have a nicotine addiction. Sure, we might have an emotional addiction to cigs or some other unhealthy relationship with them but it makes simply stopping way less of a physically painful process.

I can’t decide if I should just go purist and say "I no longer smoke." The older I get, the more I realize I don’t care for labels. I’d rather not be a "smoker" or a "non-smoker," and even though I have not eaten meat since September, I refuse to call myself a "vegetarian." It’s funny, when I was younger, I was all about asserting myself as this or that, but these days, I like the freedom to shamelessly be my undefined, sometimes hypocritical self is an integral aspect of my self-acceptance.

But enough about that.

From a health perspective, the death of social smoking is a good thing. Even though I can’t say I feel much healthier on a day-to-day basis, I know I probably am. Plus, I don’t get smoke hangovers anymore from either my own cigs or the dozens that burned around me at bars.

But on the other hand, I miss social smoking. It’s walking a fine line, I know; it's a slippery slope. It’s like dipping one little toe in the swamp and pulling it out before the ravenous crocodile chomps it off. But it’s fun.


DustyPockets | Feb. 20, 2011 at 11:48 a.m. (report)

I'm so proud of you guys, don't let the mild spring air draw you back to the dark side!

Hopefully one beautiful summer day in Milwaukee I won't have to worry about strategizing to select a table outside up-wind of someone smoking only to have someone else light-one-up anyway, right in the middle of my drink or meal.

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brewcitypaul | Feb. 18, 2011 at 3:54 p.m. (report)

I just mentioned this in the other talk back. The smoking ban has totally killed the social smoker. I don't care enough to go outside when it's freezing cold to suck down a dirt. Now, summer time and tailgating at Miller Park might be a whole nother monster to tackle. But I haven't smoked for awhile now. But I still don't consider myself a total non-smoker. I find it's a nice little mind game I play with myself. If I tell myself I can't have something, then I want it. So, by not calling myself an official non-smoker, it's easier to not smoke. If that makes any sense.

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