Are You A Smoker? The Truth Might Surprise You

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IMG_0206Photographed By Jessica Nash.
Is it just us, or has smoking officially become very, very uncool? Smoking in public places has been outlawed in an increasing number of cities. Cig breaks, once the can't-miss mid-afternoon social occasion at every workplace, are now taken furtively and joylessly by a brave few. Sure, there are still those people who can be found bumming a smoke (or three) off fellow drunk strangers at 1 a.m. on a Saturday. But, for the most part, it seems like nobody wants to be a "smoker" anymore.

As it turns out, new research from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests that not only are there fewer self-identified "smokers" than there used to be, a large number of us are in serious denial about our habits. A 2011 smoking survey conducted among California adults showed that 12% of their smoking population don't describe themselves as smokers — whether they smoke once a month or once a day.

Of course, this is California, where any activity that involves ingesting nonorganic compounds is automatically associated with a healthy dose of shame. Still, the results suggest that the stigma associated with cigarettes in our society is very real — and that those who play down their habits might also be in denial (or simply unaware) about what exactly those habits are doing to their bodies.

So, now, the elephant in the room: Are you a smoker? According to the study, that depends on your (honest!) answers to two important questions — whether you've had over 100 cigarettes over the course of your lifetime, and whether you smoke occasionally now (and have had a cigarette in the last 30 days). If you answered yes to both, then you're officially a smoker. But, don't worry. We won't tell. (Pacific Standard)