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Blowin' Smoke
August 5, 2003 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Why Do Gays Smoke So Much? Yet another escape from the cruel shackles of responsibility. Why do Gays smoke? 1. They have no children. 2. Social Opprobrium. 3. People are mean. This isn't journalism. It's crap. High risk behaviors tend to promote other high risk behaviors, like the tattoos-sex-cigaretts connection. It could be something even more sinister, like the values of particular subcultures. How can we get people to take more responsibility for self destructive behavior? Cigarettes, fat, alcohol, unsafe sex... if we are ever forced into National Health Care, there will be no reason to deny ourselves anything. Have another cigarette on me.
posted by ewkpates (61 comments total)

 
Why Do Gays Smoke So Much?

Because they so often have really, really hot sex. Duh.
posted by soyjoy at 8:13 AM on August 5, 2003


Cause they like to put cylindrical things in their mouth?
posted by vito90 at 8:18 AM on August 5, 2003


I am confused with the article but even more confused by the FPP. Is there a need to editorialize in your post?
posted by Dr_Octavius at 8:21 AM on August 5, 2003


This is funny, because the impetus for the Slate piece is the author's sense that NPR had incorrectly attributed the reasons that there's a higher incidence of smoking among gays.
posted by blueshammer at 8:22 AM on August 5, 2003


Of course, the fact that straight people have more babies (which cost a great deal of money both to have and maintain) doesn't factor this "Gays Will Sink NHC" theory? Not to mention birth control costs. Gays don't need that, but straight people sure as hell do, unless they want to cost the government $$$ for all those babies.

Oh and let's not forget women! They have all kinds of "female trouble" they are always running to the doctor for. That's going to cost them! Eating red meat is also a huge health risk, so that devalues anyone who isn't a vegetarian.

So that leaves non-smoking, vegetarian, straight white males without tattoos who don't live in the inner city and only have protected sex in the missionary position with virgins as the only "valuable" members of society???
posted by evilcupcakes at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2003


if we are ever forced into National Health Care, there will be no reason to deny ourselves anything.

As opposed to now, where private health care is incredibly cheap because all Americans keep themselves in top physical condition.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2003


If you doubt that rational responses are relevant to addictive behaviors like smoking, consider this: MIT professor Jonathan Gruber and University of California, Berkeley, professor Botond Koszegi have studied the way smokers respond to cigarette tax increases. Here's what they find: As soon as a tax increase is announced, but before it goes into effect, smokers do two things: They stockpile cigarettes, and they cut back on smoking. The anticipation of higher prices in the future inspires smokers to adjust their habits in the present, both so their stockpiles can grow and so they can accustom themselves to smoking less. In other words, smokers respond exactly as you'd expect rational beings to respond.

Speaking as an ex-smoker this rational behavior lasts about a week into the price increase. Smoking usually returns to the normal amount and the stockpile is never big enough. Course that's just me, but my understanding is that this is basic addict behavior, and addicts are definitely not rational beings when it comes to their addictions.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:28 AM on August 5, 2003


Queer pressure?
posted by Witty at 8:28 AM on August 5, 2003


"High risk behaviors tend to promote other high risk behaviors."

The implication seems to be that being gay is in itself a high-risk behavior.
posted by jscalzi at 8:30 AM on August 5, 2003


I'm PST on that one, that's the exact Pavlovian response for the first week or two (until the carton starts to look a little bare).
posted by Pollomacho at 8:31 AM on August 5, 2003


Don't most people who read Metafilter also read Slate?
posted by konolia at 8:31 AM on August 5, 2003


"This isn't journalism." Yup, it isn't. It's economics, and there's no wonder in why its called the 'dismal science'.

Economists care about 'rational behavior' and markets, which are diferent from journalistic concerns.

Landsberg's not too bad for an econmist. See his very frist Slate column "More Sex Is Safer Sex: The economic case for promiscuity."

Brief execerpt:

"AIDS is nature's awful retribution for our tolerance of immoderate and socially irresponsible sexual behavior. The epidemic is the price of our permissive attitudes toward monogamy, chastity, and other forms of sexual conservatism."
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:32 AM on August 5, 2003


I'll bet 111 can tell us the answer.
posted by xmutex at 8:33 AM on August 5, 2003


Never met so many smokers until moving to Texas from California. From this article, what am I to think then?
posted by thomcatspike at 8:33 AM on August 5, 2003


Tattoos are a "high-risk behavior"? That's a new one on me. And what is this "values of particular subcultures" stuff?

So that leaves non-smoking, vegetarian, straight white males without tattoos who don't live in the inner city and only have protected sex in the missionary position with virgins as the only "valuable" members of society???

evilcupcakes: Yup. Goes without saying.
posted by blucevalo at 8:35 AM on August 5, 2003


Does this mean that if I smoke, I can catch The Gay?
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:36 AM on August 5, 2003


This isn't journalism. It's crap.

No, really, how do you feel about this?

High risk behaviors tend to promote other high risk behaviors, like the tattoos-sex-cigaretts connection.

Uh, if that's true for you, you should really find yourself a new tattoo artist and sexual partner. And what's the connection, anyway?

It could be something even more sinister, like the values of particular subcultures.

This is either a really poor attempt at irony, or a grossly obnoxious, homophobic insult.

If you actually bother to read the entire article, you may notice that it's not trying to excuse this behavior, just understand a statistical deviation.

Please leave your agenda off the front page. You've been here long enough to know that.
posted by mkultra at 8:44 AM on August 5, 2003


From the Onion: Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:44 AM on August 5, 2003


"why do gays smoke so much?"

who cares? Should we force them to stop, perhaps?
posted by Space Coyote at 8:45 AM on August 5, 2003


For openers, the writer is making fun of the piece by NPR--they are often off the wall but considered filled with gravitas. The writer (Slate) then tries to explain what might not even be a careful study--do gays really smoke more? I have read any number of times that for those getting off drink or drugs, smoking is nearly a medication and is useful for those previously addicted. It calms them. Go to AA meeting and count the smokers!
posted by Postroad at 8:46 AM on August 5, 2003


wow: from homosexuality to sinister subcultures to national health care. i didn't think i'd see someone link all of those together in the same breath, but you did, ewk. the national board of paranoid conservatives salutes your efforts this morning.
posted by moz at 8:47 AM on August 5, 2003


Smokers shouldn't be allowed to marry (I'm open to the idea of a comparable "civil ceremony," though).
posted by rushmc at 8:48 AM on August 5, 2003


I was thing of getting a picture of two smoking men having gay sex on a steak tattooed on me, but this article has awakened me.

Thank you, good citizen.
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on August 5, 2003


It is obvious that smoking is a threat to traditional heterosexual marriage. We should ban it.
posted by troybob at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2003


I'll bet 111 can tell us the answer.
posted by xmutex at 11:33 AM EST on August 5


Pretty fuckin' lame xmutex

posted by Witty at 9:02 AM on August 5, 2003


Why are smokers so often gay?
posted by stbalbach at 9:03 AM on August 5, 2003


[i]if we are ever forced into National Health Care, there will be no reason to deny ourselves anything[/i]

Right. Because the healthcare industry has solved the problems of lung cancer and emphysema.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:04 AM on August 5, 2003


Funny, I always thought it was the other way around -- most gay people I know are far too health-conscious to pollute it with foul cigarette smoke.

If there is a statistical anomoly, I can think of a few reasons that might make sense.

There's a lot of pressure when homosexuals "come out". Hell, there's probably even more pressure when they're still in the closet, constantly having to lie to people. I imagine this added stress that most gay people have to deal with increases their apetite for nicotine. If you want correlation, see how many doctors or lawyers smoke (or anyone that has to deal with stress in their lives). I don't know the answer, but my seat-of-the-pants thinking is that they have a larger smoking population than, say, priests.

Also, getting into the mindset where you can admit that you're gay to your family and friends might change your attitude to other aspects of life that society says "feels good, but could be bad for you." My non-gay perspective could be wrong, but from my own life, I know that once I started studying and accepting the way of life practiced by Buddhists (not the praying part, just the mode of living), I started to relax a bit more and take life's trials and dangers a little more easily.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:05 AM on August 5, 2003


I'm sure in the Old Testament somewhere it says that gays cannot smoke.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:06 AM on August 5, 2003


Doesn't added stress increase your appetite for nicotine only if you're already addicted to it? I can think of several reasons why gays may smoke more than straights, but speculation in the absence of data is pointless.
posted by anapestic at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2003


high risk behaviors This statement is one high risk generalization.
A gambler is ....
A daredevil is ....
An adventurer is ....
A race care driver is ....
posted by thomcatspike at 9:11 AM on August 5, 2003


urban childless hipsters are probably more prone to smoking than suburban accountants with kids. I doubt there's a statistical difference of much import between gay and straight within those categories; it's only that gay people are disproportionately urban, childless & hip.
posted by mdn at 9:19 AM on August 5, 2003


should have been: High risk behaviors tend to promote other high risk behaviors


As a matter of fact, childless households (whether gay or straight) spend, on average, 56 percent more on cigarettes and alcohol than their childbearing neighbors
Sounds like folks whom are responsible because they want to party and made provisions to allow them.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:19 AM on August 5, 2003


"Why do gays smoke so much?"

Duh, the Marlborough Man is hot!
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2003


Smokers shouldn't be allowed to marry (I'm open to the idea of a comparable "civil ceremony," though).
posted by rushmc at 4:48 PM GMT on August 5


Funniest. Comment. er... in this thread!

No - really.


I'm sure in the Old Testament somewhere it says that gays cannot smoke...especially if they are wearing mixed fibres...
posted by dash_slot- at 9:24 AM on August 5, 2003


Why do gays dance so much?
Why do gays shop so much?
Why do gays gossip so much?
Why do gays protest so much?
Why do gays live so much?
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:39 AM on August 5, 2003


Tattoos are a "high-risk behavior"? That's a new one on me.

Well, duh. They're poking at your skin with needles, man. There are plenty of people who have got hepatatis from being tattooed, and I'm sure it's not entirely unheard-of for AIDS to be transmitted this way as well (although the characteristics of the disease apparently make it rather unlikely).
posted by kindall at 9:59 AM on August 5, 2003


mdn - I think you might be right; I wonder what the smoking difference is between the urban-straight and the urban-gay?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2003


People who smoke are cool.
Gay people are cool.
Thus gay people smoke.

I actually remember reading something about people who smoke really are "cooler" on average than people who don't. They are supposed to be less uptight and judgemental. Smokers are also supposed to be better tippers. Now if I could just remember where I read that and find it to link.
posted by jopreacher at 10:03 AM on August 5, 2003


More great stuff from the Slate genius who argued that looting is mostly harmless and had a tough time figuring out why people walk up stairs.
posted by ptermit at 10:07 AM on August 5, 2003


Other silly generalizations:

Why are New Yorkers so angry?
Why do Christians hate blacks so much?
Why are so many Bay Area residents IKEA shoppers?
Why don't Californians drink more?
Why are so many Caucasians afraid of so many not-so-Caucasian people?
Why are so many Republicans fat?
Why are so many health freaks poor conversationalists?
Why are Australians so nice?
Why does Slate encourage so many idiotic op-ed pieces?
posted by ed at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2003


Why doesn't somebody do something about all the problems?
posted by scarabic at 10:19 AM on August 5, 2003


(thank you Onion)
posted by scarabic at 10:20 AM on August 5, 2003


Why are New Yorkers so angry?

You'd be angry too if you couldn't smoke in a fuckin' bar.

The gay New York smokers must be just livid.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:23 AM on August 5, 2003


Homosexuals are allowed to smoke? Is nothing sacred? First they ruined the word "gay" for the rest of us; before you know it, they'll be calling cigarettes "fags."
posted by vraxoin at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2003


vraxoin, smoke rings for you. o0O( )
posted by thomcatspike at 10:34 AM on August 5, 2003


It is I, Answer Ewkpates, here to save you.

Why are New Yorkers so angry? Rats in a too-small cage.
Why do Christians hate blacks so much? They hate everyone. Read the bible. Genocidal lunatics.
Why are so many Bay Area residents IKEA shoppers? Where else can you get such neat cheap furniture? Damn those cunning Swedes!
Why don't Californians drink more? Pot.
Why are so many Caucasians afraid of so many not-so-Caucasian people? Everyone is afraid of anyone who doesn't look like someone they know.
Why are so many Republicans fat? Rich bastards. Damn the rich bastards!
Why are so many health freaks poor conversationalists? Too damn stressed about the snack foods at the party. Plus, no sense of humor.
Why are Australians so nice? It's just the accent. Wise up.
Why does Slate encourage so many idiotic op-ed pieces? Slate is a bunch of idiots. So are most papers. They are selling to the masses man, the masses.

Eating meat, non-monogamous sex with any gender, smoking, not exercising, all high risk. Damn those high risk bastards! Why can't we all just do what we like? (A valuable member of society is one who editorializes.)

But sex with virgins, that's fucked up.
posted by ewkpates at 10:39 AM on August 5, 2003


More great stuff from the Slate genius who argued that looting is mostly harmless and had a tough time figuring out why people walk up stairs.

Why does Slate encourage so many idiotic op-ed pieces?

I don't think you appreciate what Landsburg is trying to accomplish. He's taking intentionally naive positions to make points about the economic sciences. It's an intellectual exercise; certainly not intended as an op-ed piece.

The Defective Yeti reviewed Landsburg's (most recent?) book last week. There's an interesting discussion going on over there.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:41 AM on August 5, 2003


High risk behaviors tend to promote other high risk behaviors, like the tattoos-sex-cigaretts connection.

AAAAAGH. Correlation. Causation. Please.
posted by blissbat at 10:48 AM on August 5, 2003


Have another cigarette on me. Aah, thanks.
posted by ginz at 10:49 AM on August 5, 2003


I don't see how getting a tattoo from a reputable artist is risky. People slip and fall in the shower all the time, but I don't see anyone calling showering "high-risk behavior".
posted by JoanArkham at 11:20 AM on August 5, 2003


Never met so many smokers until moving to Texas from California. From this article, what am I to think then?

GSgt Hartman knows.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 12:05 PM on August 5, 2003


So that leaves non-smoking, vegetarian, straight white males without tattoos who don't live in the inner city and only have protected sex in the missionary position with virgins as the only "valuable" members of society???

oh, so close...
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2003


it's the friction, stupid.
posted by quonsar at 12:18 PM on August 5, 2003


You'd be angry too if you couldn't smoke in a fuckin' bar.
The gay New York smokers must be just livid.


We are, we are! But there's a big city council meeting coming up in september that's supposed to loosen the law for bars, so we're hoping it'll change. (and my bartending friends need their jobs back too)
posted by amberglow at 12:42 PM on August 5, 2003


You can force me into national health care anytime, ewkpates. Sounds kinky.
posted by gramcracker at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2003


I'll bet 111 can tell us the answer.

xmutex, actually I can't. I'm a smokerphobe, you know.
posted by 111 at 2:21 PM on August 5, 2003


Just like everybody else who smokes too much -- because they're not getting enough sex. Studies have shown that gays *need* 70 percent more sex!

If you really want to see more gays cut down on smoking, help 'em out ... admit to yourself that they're hot, come out of the closet, and pass that BJ.

Surgeon General's warning: coming out of the closet may cause you to need 70% more sex.
posted by Twang at 2:46 PM on August 5, 2003


admit to yourself that they're hot, come out of the closet, and pass that BJ.

Uh, no. Some people just don't leave the thing they're smoking dry enough to enjoy.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:20 PM on August 5, 2003


Why Do Gays Smoke So Much?
Lack of lubrication?
posted by dg at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2003


tattoos-sex-cigarettes-fat. are you serious? heh.
posted by centrs at 5:18 PM on August 6, 2003


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