Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Alternatives to tobacco abuse

In 1987, the World Health Organization declared May 31 (today) World No Tobacco Day to inform the public of the dangers of using tobacco.

We must broadcast the damage cigarette smoking causes emotionally, physically, financially, socially, and environmentally. But that’s not all.

More Bad Effects

In the campaign against smoking, often, several frequent bad side effects are seriously ignored, neglected, or underestimated.

  • Emotional damage. Cigarettes numb fears. Short-term that is comfortable but the long-term price is huge. We have our fears come up for good reasons. Sometimes distracting ourselves when we are scared is one thing. But, we pay dearly when we systematically shove our anxiety under the carpet. We need to learn how to listen to our fears and use them to our advantage.
  • Financial damage. The cigarette industry is very lucrative; smokers are robbed of a lot of money. Especially the underprivileged.
  • Societal damage. “A pipe smoker is no rebel seeker” – Dutch saying. A lot of wrong in people’s lives and society doesn’t get corrected because victims stifle themselves with tobacco.
  • Environmental damage – see the above link.
  • A slow killer. More than untimely death, cigarettes give smokers often years and sometimes decades of crippling disabilities. Hard to walk, breathe, and constant airway infections.
  • Cancer. First-hand and second-hand smoking cause almost all lung cancer. But, much too little, we are aware that tobacco smoke gives cancer everywhere and of every organ in the body.
  • E-cigarettes push young people to tobacco and must be banned.
  • There is no slow quitting. You’ll just inhale deeper. And when in a crisis (and it will happen), you’ll smoke a record high number.

Help People Quit

While the truth about the side effects of tobacco smoking will help some people to not smoke or quit the habit, it generally makes people nervous. And smokers react to stress by lighting up yet once more, not by quitting.

We also need to face why people use tobacco, what they like about it, and spread knowledge about what alternatives there are.

Tobacco use ‘pushes fears away,’ ‘calms you down,’ and makes you hyper-focused, also when you are exhausted (pardon the pun). The ‘ideal’ drug for overstressed, overtired authors.

Tobacco has different short-term ‘beneficial’ effects on different people. That is a major reason why different people need special ways tailored to their lives how to quit. No ‘one size fits all’ here.

These gains go on, also when you are addicted. It’s one of the hardest drugs to quit.

On the other hand, it’s not as hard as winning the Olympics or becoming the world’s best player on a certain instrument. The only thing you need to do is to leave things: not buy tobacco, not have it in the house, not put it in cigarette paper, not roll it, not light it trying not to set your nose or clothes on fire, not to try to keep it lit, not find a safe place for the ash, etc. The only thing you then need to add is: not to care that you will cry and shiver and yawn like crazy to get over the addiction and heal your body.

When you quit, watch out not to get into another addiction, especially overeating. You need less food and less coffee when you quit, not more.

Besides all the tax money the state gets (much less than the health damage it must pay for), cigarettes make people give up on change. Let’s drink, eat, smoke, and be calm. The superrich love the status quo and hate activism.

Smokers die early and so cost society less pension. It’s not true that no one dies before his time is up.

A very expensive lesson to learn is to decide to quit because we admit that each cigarette we’ll smoke will enlarge our suffering and hasten our death. A second dear lesson will help us for the rest of our life to be activists who never give up. Apparently, people exist who will cripple and kill as many as possible just to become as rich as they can. We can stop being naïve.

The Advantages of Quitting

  • More money
  • In three weeks, your taste and smell return
  • After a couple of weeks of nightmares, deeper sleep will make you fitter
  • After a couple of weeks, your red blood cells will be able to carry 10% more oxygen, and you will be physically fitter
  • Sport may become fun (again)
  • Your minimal airway infections clear up
  • The longer you quit, the longer you live, statistically
  • You might actually die healthy (if at all you must)
  • Saying No will build your character and more respect from others
  • This could inspire you to live more supportive of your health overall
  • The people you hang out with will get less cancer and lung disease
  • You can help others quit
  • The best gift to your kids/students is to show we can do without
  • You can learn to love fear and use it to your benefit – see below.

Love Nervousness, Tension, Embarrassment, Fear, and Terror

  1. Talking about tensions is so much better than just thinking about it.
  2. However, light fears disappear the more we laugh.
  3. Heavy fears go away the more we whole-heartedly make fun of them.

These things work only, when we are not drugged. Stoned, drunk, etc., we stay exactly the same no matter what we do. Down with psychiatric drugs!

Fast food doesn’t really satisfy. Fast sex doesn’t really satisfy. Drugs don’t really calm us down. After a good meal. After relational sex. After a good laugh. Then we really feel alive.

Be Prepared for the Bad Side Effects of Quitting

  1. Know why and when you smoke.
  2. Know when and how it will get hard.
  3. Think ahead about how to cope.

At what set times or occasions do you smoke? When you wake up? After sex? At/instead of breakfast? On the phone? When you take a break? When friends/colleagues smoke? After supper? At the end of the day?

Plan what to do instead. Take a walk. Doodle or puzzle (keep hands busy).

Do you get nervous or a headache? Have someone to call and talk about it.

Laugh about the fear that others would make fun of you. They’re jealous.

It helps some people to tell everyone, others to tell no one.

If you’d started again for the 39th time, it’s time to quit the 40th time.

Make sure your check you have a better life. If not, make it better.

It’s better to have smoked and quit than never quit at all. Good luck.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1500 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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