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Smoking and hiking...
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Smoking and hiking... on 03/27/2008 16:54:50 MDT Print View

I know this can be a touchy subject, and this is kind of a weird personal question to ask... but...

Does anyone here at this forum smoke? Is there anyone who used to smoke but quit because they got into hiking?

I ask because my brother-in-law has tried to quit several times and hasn't been able to. We took him on a day hike once and I thought maybe if he fell in love with backpacking it might give him an incentive to quit. (I know lung cancer is an incentive too, but maybe because it is a distant thing it is less of a priority).

Chris Chastain
(Thangfish) - F

Locale: S. Central NC, USA
Smoking and backpacking on 03/27/2008 17:11:52 MDT Print View

I quit and backpacking WAS involved.

Anyway, this probably isn't what you are driving at, but the ONLY time I smoke now is when I am backpacking.
I always bring a good cigar to enjoy at the evening's fire... along with a sip of good ol' North Carolina's finest in my Little Nipper.

I still consider myself a non-smoker. I haven't had a cigar yet this year, but have a trip planned this weekend, so I'll stop at the cigar store tomorrow!

Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Cuban Cigars on 03/27/2008 17:46:22 MDT Print View

I smoke Cuban Cigars and drink scotch every second night whilst backpacking and LOVE it. Nothing better than a top quality Cuban on a warm summer's day.

I do not, however, draw back as that's not how you smoke a cigar.

I don't smoke cigarrettes at all by the way.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Smoking and hiking on 03/29/2008 03:01:41 MDT Print View

Ryan, getting into hiking might certainly help someone to stop smoking but I'd say it would depend entirely on the person. I don't smoke cigarettes (and can't afford decent cigars these days) but greatly enjoy a pipe of tobacco when I'm camping or relaxing on a walk, but then I'm not the "outdoor athlete" type and don't approach my hiking as anything more than an enjoyable hobby. A person who takes the fitness aspect more seriously might well look long and hard at their habit when they start gasping up a few hills.

Have you ever seen the old magazine adverts for cigarettes like "Craven 'A'"? They often used to show glowing young ramblers atop a fell, enjoying a cork-filtered Craven as part of their healthy outdoors life. Quite a change in attitude these days!

Edited by bigjackbrass on 03/29/2008 03:02:13 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Smoking and hiking... on 03/29/2008 05:13:39 MDT Print View

Nothing worse than trying to enjoy the fresh smell of the outdoors, but having to smell someone's cigar or cigarette smoke instead. I go backpacking to get away from that, otherwise I could go to a bar or bus stop. It's another reason I don't have campfires.

Max Hoagland
(maxhoagland) - F
Re; Smoking and Hiking on 03/29/2008 11:25:25 MDT Print View

I know a couple of folks who only, or more often smoke reefer when camping or backpacking. I like the natural high of being in the wilderness ;)

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Smoking and hiking.. on 03/29/2008 17:34:10 MDT Print View

I smoked from age 16 to age 25 and then quit because it was interfering with my climbing, backpacking and cycling. Since then, I can't abide the smell of tobacco smoke be it cigarette, cigar or pipe.

I also have strong opinions, best left unexpressed, about the intelligence of anybody who smokes these days in the face of all that is known of its harmful effects.

People will say that they enjoy smoking. What they actually enjoy is relief from nicotine addiction withdrawal symptoms. I don't know of any government subsidized product, legally sold in this country, that is as deadly as tobacco.

I would continue but it is time for my medication.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Smoking and hiking.. on 03/29/2008 18:29:22 MDT Print View

My father is married to a smoker.

She's 49 and an MD who practices Rheumatology next door to the premier Cancer centre in wester Canada. And she has lost both bre-asts to cancer.

And still she stands outside the hospital, next to chemo patients in their robes with their IV poles, shivering in the snow, smoking. She quit for the double mastectomy, but couldn't help starting again within a few months.

Knowing Diane has given me a whole new perspective on smoking. She earned two other degrees before going into medicine, and she has endured a 12-hour surgery plus numerous other shorter ones. And yet despite her personal drive, despite her motivation, and despite her fear, she may well smoke herself to death. (God forbid.)

I now have nothing but empathy for smokers. Starting smoking in 2008 is something I have a harder time understanding, but quitting smoking is a different challenge for each person. Some simply cannot overcome it, and not due to any form of personal weakness.

I wish your friend strength and willpower.


PS apparently the word "bre ast" is profane?

Matthew Robinson
(mcjhrobinson) - F

Locale: Waaay West
re: hiking and smoking on 03/29/2008 20:08:53 MDT Print View

im not a smoker but i do bring one rolled cigarette (american spirits red pouch) occasionally for a 3 nighter. i only smoke when fire hazards are low and like to look at the stars and take a few puffs making sure no one is around (2nd hand smoke is a killer).

ive also quit smoking and started back up and quit probably 4-5 times. ive found that not having much money dictates me smoking, i.e. rent or smoking. isnt tobacco also a mild antiseptic?

max - i used to know many people who did that, they never usually finished a "hardy" day hike :)

i just was at arches np doing the Angels Landing trail and met these two guys who are about a mile in hiking in the heat of the day. one fellow was a bit more heavyset than his friend, we'll call them dave and bob. dave asks if i have a lighter pops open a marlboro reds box and lights up a smoke (on the trail) then tells me he's helping his friend get in shape and how much farther to the top. that was a first. aloha!

Edited by mcjhrobinson on 03/29/2008 20:09:37 MDT.

Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
In praise of cigars on 03/29/2008 20:17:41 MDT Print View

I think there is a big difference between smoking quality Cuban cigars and “smoking” with a small “s”. I am not addicted to cigars at all as I smoke them for their flavour. It has on occasion really upset people and there are those who love the smell.

For those of you who say “yuck” I suggest you try a Partagas Series D with a scotch before saying no. By the way, non Cuban cigars or even cheap Cubans are disgusting in my opinion. Maybe I will add a review of cigars in the review forum in future :-)

Edited by PedroArvy on 03/29/2008 20:18:17 MDT.

James Keener
(jjhiker) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Smoking and hiking... on 03/29/2008 20:34:01 MDT Print View

Good questions. I quit smoking, and talked with others who had quit, and they suggested some form of recreation to help cement the decision. By the time I quit, I had done permanent damage to my lungs. Anyone who smokes does. Quitting begins healing, but we do not get back to a pristine place.

I'm going to jump ahead a few years. The recreation I chose was walking outdoors, which led to hiking, which led to backpacking, which led to long distance hiking. In 2004 I made an attempt to thru-hike the PCT. I made it as far as Donner Pass before quitting. I noticed at Lake Tahoe that all us "tail-end Charlies" were or had been smokers and/or chewers. Nicotine addicts. All of us. Smoking is destructive of health. Any nicotine use is destructive of health.

For me, backpacking is a wonderful reward for quitting. My only regret is that I did not quit sooner. Thank you for the questions.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Smoking and hiking... on 03/29/2008 21:10:32 MDT Print View

I smoked for 14 years. Started when I was 14.
I started to feel it effect my health so one day I said this is my last one ...and that was that.
Just plain old un-PC will power. Never felt the desire to smoke since.
For those of you cant understand why someone would smoke just remember that just about everyone who does started as kids, kids who could give a @##$ what anyone thinks.
I was convinced I wouldnt live past 30... Im 31 now.

bobby c
(bobbycartwright) - F

Locale: i don't need no stinkin badges!
cigar technique on 04/09/2008 11:03:58 MDT Print View

Petras, that has to be one of the coolest pics of anyone lighting a cigar ever. You should send them to the company and you may end up in some promotional stuff. Well done.

Tim Halberg
(Turtlehead) - F
re: smoking and hiking on 04/13/2008 20:13:44 MDT Print View

I don't consider myself a smoker, but I do bring my pipe and smoke that each night next to the camp fire when backpacking.

I know many people who find nature the perfect place to smoke, so I don't really know that taking someone backpacking is the right way to go about getting them to quit. But maybe their huffing and puffing might start to get to them if they're a heavy smoker?

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
RE: "Smoking and hiking... on 04/16/2008 23:35:10 MDT Print View

I grew up on a farm and started smokign when I was 14. I was never a heavy smoker except when I drank beer heavily, usually only a half pack a day. Despite this, I played baseball, ran track in high school. Out of school I ran all the time, sometime s10 miles a day. Rode my bike 20-30 miles when I could ride and yet I kept smoking. The weird thing is when I hiked, I usually hardly smoked. Never figured that one out.

At 31 I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Caught it early, only had to endure radiation therapy and minor surgery. Yet I kept smoking. 4 years ago at age 36 I woke up one day and decided I wasn't going to smoke and quit cold turkey.

Why for 22 years I put that crap in my body I will never know. But my current doctor is stunned I smoked for 22 years. Lungs are clear as a bell and I have more lung volume than a 20 year old. Go figure.

I know smoking, anything, can be a pleasurable experience. I also know it is a horrible addiction that can take over all forms of common sense. Hopefully your brother in law will find it in his own way to give it up someday.


Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Cuban Cigars on 04/25/2008 01:38:22 MDT Print View

Hey, Franco- that is a great picture, but you make us World Leaders in the US of A feel bad with all that talk about the pleasures of a Cubano. You know we can't have them, because umm, oh yeah because Cuba has universal health care and low-cost medications and a much higher literacy rate than we do. Even their leader is literate! So we won't buy their darned cigars, so there.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Yeah, great ... on 04/25/2008 04:37:47 MDT Print View

Remember that nicotine is an extremely toxic and addictive narcotic:


Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Yeah, great ... on 04/28/2008 07:49:15 MDT Print View

Nicotine is not a narcotic. The use of "narcotic" as a synonym for "illegal drug" is a side-effect of the verbage in U.S. and other national drug laws. But, it is not scientifically accurate. (In fact, nicotine isn't even a narcotic under U.S. drug law. If it were, it's use would be illegal without medical necessity.)

Discounting the original meaning that is derived from Greek (which is "anything that causes sleepiness") in contemporary usage narcotics are derived from the opium poppy, or are close synthetic analogues that work on the same receptors. Instead nicotine works on a subset of adrenergic receptors called, appropriately enough, nicotinic receptors.



Not Narcotics:

Asparagus :-)

I'll buy the "extremely toxic" part, with some migitaion:

About 50 milligrams of nicotine is a fatal dose for an adult human, so it is an amazingly potent poison. Spilling liquid nicotine on exposed skin is a fatal event. Injecting the amount of nicotine in a cigar or pack of cigarettes intravenously, or even swallowing it in pure form, would also be fatal. However, in the doses and manner that it is typically administered recreationally it is merely a powerful stimulant.

But nicotine is not especially carcinogenic- it is the other stuff in tobacco that causes cancer. Likewise regarding emphysema (a.k.a. COPD) and other repiratory ailments.

Nicotine is, as you said, one of the most addictive substances known to man.

Sorry. I'm a doctor. I could do this all day. And if I were given the power to wipe one substance from the face of the Earth it would be a tough call between tobacco and alcohol.

Edited by acrosome on 04/28/2008 08:30:16 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Cuban Cigars on 04/28/2008 20:17:48 MDT Print View

Petras, I think you are my soul mate... Or at least we would have a lot in common if we went tramping together :)

G Dup
(lococoyo) - F
re: Smoking and hiking on 05/24/2008 19:01:40 MDT Print View

Backpacking definitely seems to help quell vices, be they smoking or other bad habits. I definitely notice a rapid decline in athletic performance in the hours after smoking - must be the lack of oxygen or who knows what - its undoubtedly well documented. Though supposedly the rare soul finds athletic comfort on the reefer, who knew? Runners high say what? As I am not a habituate of tobaccos I couldn't get into long term effects. Sure seems like the best time for the occasional cigar or home rolled would be at night around the campfire.

I really haven't found that 'Cuban' means much nowadays when it comes to high quality cigars. There are just so many quality cigars now coming from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic (from Cuban seed stocks and often Cuban firms that have moved to the DR for US consumers) that it seems a shame to not give them a look. Certainly i'm no bona fide connoisseur, but i've sampled a wide variety of sticks, Cuban or otherwise and found that price, country of origin, and quality don't always go hand-in-hand. Try some quality sticks from the DR next time you're at the local shop and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Current faves are Rocky Patel's The Edge, Olivia G Series, and Gran Habano Corojo #5 (get the Imperiales if you can find 'em - great price and full bodied). Course its hard to go wrong with a Cohiba, i'm just sayin' theres so much out there you could spend your life sampling and still not have a clue.

Edited by lococoyo on 05/24/2008 19:02:57 MDT.