Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Smokers Don't Scare Easily, Think Things Through

America's leading cause of awesomeYou think you're going to fright a hardcore smoker-I mean a real smoker, not one of those irritating "only when I drink" dilettantes-with a picture of a diseased lung or some prominent verbiage about emphysema or tracheotomies or whatever? Think again!

Jamie Arndt, a psychologist at the University of Missouri, had student smokers complete questionnaires designed to induce either thoughts of their own mortality or thoughts about failing an exam. Then the researchers offered the students a cigarette and measured every person's smoking intensity-each puff's volume, flow and duration. Students who did not smoke often indeed smoked with less passion after being reminded of their own mortality, as compared with the light smokers who read about failing an exam. As Arndt explains, the infrequent smokers may have been responding to thoughts of death by trying to reduce their own vulnerability. But students who were heavy smokers reacted to thoughts of death by taking even harder drags on their cigarettes. Arndt suggests they might have been sub consciously attempting to dispel a negative mood with an enjoyable activity.

Or maybe they are just super-tough people who LOVE TO SMOKE AND KNOW THAT THEY ARE BULLETPROOF AND WILL NEVER DIE. I mean, it's certainly not that they're in denial or anything.

14 Comments / Post A Comment

saythatscool (#101)

I've quit smoking. I feel better, I smell better and it's safer to drink out of the old beer cans around the house.

keisertroll (#1,117)

Smoking is SOOOO 2005. The new hipster kick is working at a department store stockroom.

BadUncle (#153)

After quitting, I found my hangovers to be much less epic, as well.

Bittersweet (#765)

@say: make sure your crapper is working, or it won't really be that safe to drink out of those old beer cans…

gotham (#1,572)

my dad smoked since he was 12yrs old. he was up to 4 packs a day for years. recently he almost died. from emphysema. he miraculously pulled through, but still gets winded walking to the mailbox.
he doesn't smoke anymore.

saythatscool (#101)

Ok that's funny.

Bryan Keller (#3,804)

That's a very sad story, but 4 packs a day is very extreme.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

Doing this study in Missouri likely skewed the results.

Doing anything in MO skews results.

cherrispryte (#444)

Can we talk about the difference between "students who did not smoke," "light smokers," and "infrequent smokers"? To me, these mean three different things, and if you're comparing one group to another as if they were identical to guage their reaction, well, you're an idiot.

synchronia (#3,755)

Cherrispryte – it was "students who did not smoke often." I take your point that "light" and "infrequent" don't necessarily mean the same thing, though. There was probably one operational definition for that group (and then Arndt randomized them to either thinking about death or thinking about failure), but since it was a symposium and the abstract doesn't specify, no idea what it was.

sailor (#396)

Taking deeper inhales is like shooting heroin between your toes.

Kevin Patterson (#5,933)

now you tell me

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