Think smokers are sexy? Think again.
It’s no secret that dating a smoker can come with its fair share of challenges. In fact, it’s been suggested that being a cigarette smoker can lower a single person’s Dating Quotient more than any other factor. But why is that?
The Smoking Stigma
The hardest person to match in the singles’ marketplace is someone who smokes cigarettes on a daily basis. The stigma associated with being a regular smoker is akin to being significantly overweight or a Yankees fan looking for love in the bleachers at Fenway Park. However, despite the social stigma, many people continue to smoke.
The Two Types of Smokers
Today, adult cigarette smokers in the dating world typically fall into two categories. The first group consists of young men and women in their 20s who started smoking at a young age to appear cool and mature. For them, breaking the habit has proven to be a challenge.
The second group comprises divorced adults who started smoking in their teenage years but managed to quit at some point. However, the stress surrounding their divorce led them back to their old habits.
To Quit or Not to Quit
This column is not intended to preach to smokers about the benefits of quitting. Instead, it is aimed at those who are dating or considering dating a smoker. The question is simple: are you nuts? What are you thinking?
If you’re looking for a long-term partner, it’s essential to understand that studies consistently show that smoking can reduce life expectancy by an average of 12 to 15 years. Imagine spending those years caring for a partner suffering from emphysema, lung cancer, or other smoking-related illnesses.
Perhaps you’re looking to start a family. Research conducted by the American Council on Science and Health and the Centers for Disease Control reveals that smoking can significantly impact fertility. Women who smoke cigarettes are three times more likely to experience difficulty conceiving, and the more cigarettes they smoke, the smaller their chances of becoming pregnant. Furthermore, about 19,000 miscarriages per year in the United States can be attributed to smoking.
For men, smoking also affects the reproductive system. It damages sperm, alters hormone concentrations, and reduces blood flow to the penis. As a result, it can lead to erectile dysfunction or impotence.
Even if you’re solely interested in a casual fling, there are still reasons to avoid dating a smoker. Apart from the obvious issue of the unpleasant cigarette odor that clings to the skin, breath, and clothing, smoking also causes teeth discoloration and reduces skin elasticity, leading to increased cellulite accumulation.
The old Marlboro Man commercials may have depicted smoking as rugged and masculine, but the reality is far bleaker. Research shows that several of the men featured in those ads died of lung cancer, with one passing away at the age of 51. The consequences of smoking cannot be ignored.
The Power of Perception
Despite overwhelming evidence of the health risks associated with smoking, some still find it attractive. Movies often portray smoking as cool and fashionable, influencing impressionable viewers, especially children. The Centers for Disease Control even acknowledges that smoking in the movies is the most potent pro-tobacco influence on kids today.
Before approaching that person holding a cigarette and deeming them attractive, take a moment to envision their future self. Picture them with yellow teeth and wheezing after a short stroll on the beach. Is that the future you want for yourself?
In conclusion, dating a smoker may seem enticing at first, but it comes with a myriad of potential health problems and lifestyle limitations. So, instead of compromising your own well-being, consider looking for someone who shares your commitment to a smoke-free life. You deserve a partner who will prioritize their health and yours.
*For more dating insights and advice, check out Six Minute Dates.