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Black Lung Crayola
January 7, 2010 2:02 PM   Subscribe

My name is Jacob. I have been a smoker for about 14 years. I decided this year to knock that shit off. I'd tried and tried before to no avail. But this year my youngest brother suggested something I found to be quite a good idea. Why not replace my trusty pack of Camel's with a pack of Crayolas. That way, every time I wanted a cigarette, I would just draw pictures.
posted by Panjandrum (48 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kinda hard to draw while driving, though.
posted by notmydesk at 2:09 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


C-3PO says not to smoke.

B3ta has another view.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:17 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or...
smoke the crayon?
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:18 PM on January 7, 2010


Waxy Blue
posted by Babblesort at 2:22 PM on January 7, 2010


I used to draw after sex, but mostly I just drew pictures of myself falling asleep.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:24 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Adds to Google calendar, makes note to check on December 31, 2010. Delete away!
posted by fixedgear at 2:26 PM on January 7, 2010


Totally thought he was going to go with actually putting crayons in his pack of cigs and then getting the sweet, er, bad taste of crayons in his mouth whenever he went for a smoke by reflex. Dang.
posted by cavalier at 2:28 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Crayons are pig. Just so you know.
posted by srboisvert at 2:28 PM on January 7, 2010


srboisvert: Crayons haven't been pig for a while.
posted by abulafa at 2:36 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm going to suggest this to my mom, a lifelong smoker. Then I'm going to duck.

This is pretty cool. I hope it works.
posted by killy willy at 2:41 PM on January 7, 2010


Unsuprisingly, his pictures are kinda dark. Unlike it, but I'm waiting for him to start drawing nothing but happy people smoking.
posted by seanyboy at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's nothing like a good Still Life With Fruit with one's morning coffee.

I once tried to use creative outlets to overcome an addiction. My addiction was being helpful. "How do I get to the train station?" people would ask me, and I would give them simple, accurate instructions. But soon I realised this was ruining my life. So now I feign a mental complaint, or insult them in an unfamiliar language. I feel like a million bucks!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:49 PM on January 7, 2010


Clearly, he and I think alike.
posted by piratebowling at 2:56 PM on January 7, 2010


Look at this fucking idea for a blog-to-book deal?
posted by threeants at 3:12 PM on January 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


It seems kind of silly to me, but what the hell, anything that gets people away from that habit is something worth trying.

I just wish people would stop treating quitting smoking like it's some insurmountable task because it reinforces the belief in other smokers that it's a virtually impossible thing to do.

It's not.
posted by quin at 3:35 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not.

Damn straight. I've quit dozens of times!

Look you can't just set me up like that...
posted by griphus at 3:43 PM on January 7, 2010


aww, threeants beat me to the punch.
posted by usonian at 3:43 PM on January 7, 2010


I haven't ever smoked and for drawing I'd have a really hard time giving up any of: photoshop, corel painter, gimp, pspro (3, 4, 7, X), inkscape, paint.net, artrage, bryce, sketchup, blender, pov-ray, or the rack of Rapidographs and the scanner.

But I could get back into chewing crayons again, it wouldn't be hard at all. You do want to peel the paper off first (or anyway I did) but after that there's more flavor and texture variety in the big box of 125 Crayolas than in all the terroirs in France. Plus, the effect on the grown-ups when you give 'em the big grin with the multicolored teeth.
posted by jfuller at 3:54 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good idea, not least because it's giving him five minutes' drawing practice ten times a day or so. He's not much good yet, but that kind of semi-random but regular practice is the way to get better at it. Quit smoking and gain a skill too!
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:19 PM on January 7, 2010


They should make really embarrassing cigarettes -- like, ones which make really obnoxious sounds when you smoke them. That might help some socially conscious people.
posted by spiderskull at 4:23 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


He should have stuck to smoking. The only hint of artistic ability is in his signature.
posted by milkwood at 5:16 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


aeschenkarnos would get best answer if this were green: who gives one whit about his artistic ability when he has found a way to
1) quit smoking,
2) give himself an excuse to be creative, and
3) create an outlet to share those results, further committing himself to keeping it up?
More power and best of luck to him.
posted by whatzit at 5:49 PM on January 7, 2010


Good for him.

I've been trying like Hell to give up drawing with crayons, so from now on every time the urge hits me I'll smoke a Marlboro.
posted by bwg at 5:53 PM on January 7, 2010


Yeah, and I'll just replace replace the filthy dicks of subway commuters I blow for smack with, I don't know, Silly Putty. I'm sorry, but this is completely Pollyanna. I'm happy if it worked for him, though.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:35 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but hokey addiction-related shit like this just bugs me. Addiction is more serious than "make a picture with crayons to quit", FFS.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:37 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but hokey addiction-related shit like this just bugs me. Addiction is more serious than "make a picture with crayons to quit", FFS.

For fucks sake, for schmuck's sake. My dad died of emphysema. Addiction is plenty serious. This is awesome.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:40 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


For fucks sake, for schmuck's sake. My dad died of emphysema.

I really wish that people wouldn't do this. My x died of y, therefore whatever I have to say on the matter trumps what you have to say. If stopping smoking was as easy as picking up a pack of Crayola, then presumably your dad wouldn't have died of emphysema.

The reality is, different things work for different people, and for some people, nothing works at all -- which is why you'll see smokers who've had a tracheotomy due to throat cancer using the hole in their neck to smoke. No amount of tut-tutting or social disapproval is going to change the relationship that these people have with their drug of choice. And it's not about will power or lack of desire -- most of them have tried to quit numerous times.

The first person who can come up with a reliable cure for addictions will make a fortune. Until then, treatment outcomes will remain haphazard, with the majority of addicted people continuing to use their drug of choice until such time as they no longer do.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:55 PM on January 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Until then, treatment outcomes will remain haphazard, with the majority of addicted people continuing to use their drug of choice until such time as they no longer do.

Oh oh catch that buzz
Love is the drug I'm thinking of
Oh oh can't you see
Love is the drug for me
posted by bwg at 6:59 PM on January 7, 2010


Agree with quin! It is the perpetuation of the myth that stopping smoking is next to impossible that keeps people mired in thoughts such as quitting is "more difficult than stopping Heroin"! (uh...no, it's not). To stop smoking ...read Allen Carr's book. Stupid title, excellent book. He explains it all.
posted by naplesyellow at 7:19 PM on January 7, 2010


I really wish that people wouldn't do this. My x died of y, therefore whatever I have to say on the matter trumps what you have to say. If stopping smoking was as easy as picking up a pack of Crayola, then presumably your dad wouldn't have died of emphysema.

My point is that, as much as anyone, I know that addiction to nicotine is serious business. But this blog is still fun, and a productive way for this guy to deal with a serious problem, at that. I don't think anyone is saying that crayons are the cure for all smokers. But I think the fact that this guy is publicizing his drawings (which again, are awesome--though he's clearly not artistically trained, they have a pretty cool metal-cover sensibility) is a good way to increase his accountability to others.

And my dad might have had better chances if he had tried to quit, like, ever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:24 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember that when I was in high school (in 1969, get off my lawn) the English teacher said he quit smoking by forcing himself to smoke two cigarettes every time he wanted a cigarette.
He said that it lasted just a little over two days, and that he was so sick, he had to stop.
posted by Drasher at 7:29 PM on January 7, 2010


Also, how can anyone claim anything this guy does is completely Pollyanna?! Look at his userpicture! Two chainsaws!!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:32 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought they were great. Really un-self conscious, absurd, AND on lined paper (oh no! what a travesty!) If it helps, good for him. Who cares that that they lack technical skill. They are entertaining as hell.
posted by tarantula at 7:34 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm a person who smoked for 13 years, and has been quit for more than seven, and one of the things that helped me quit was not a box of Crayolas - but a tin of colored pencils.

I recognized a need to do something with my hands, and before I quit for the last time, I purchased a nice tin of 12 colored pencils and a spiral bound notebook. I kept it in my purse along with some other helpful stuff - Twizzlers, pistachios, a list of reasons I wanted to quit - and during the first month I made several handsome works of colored-pencil art in that book.

Not only did it really help me quit - drawing was also relaxing in a meditative way that seemed to reduce the anxiety of withdrawal - but it was fun. I still enjoy drawing and still keep pencils around.

So, it can work. But it's true that the right 'quitting formula' is a little bit different for everyone. When you're really ready to quit, you just throw everything you can at it, and people try all sorts of odd things - many of which work. Before you hit that point, no idea is going to work, because the obsessive motivation it takes to counter the grip of such an insidious addiction has to be generated internally.
posted by Miko at 7:40 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Good on him! The first time I quit I used pokemon. I'll leave it right there.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:29 PM on January 7, 2010


They should make really embarrassing cigarettes -- like, ones which make really obnoxious sounds when you smoke them. That might help some socially conscious people.

Meh. The sandpit at the public park my daughter likes to play in is routinely littered with cigarette butts, despite being right next to multiple smoke-disposal equipped rubbish bins, because apparently treating a child's park as an ashtry is OK, just like the cavalcades of butt flicked onto footpaths from passing cars, the ciggies flicked down my stairs and into my garden from people walking past my house, walking past the smoke-disposal bins outside my workplace to drop the butts in the entryway... I don't think there's a lot to embarrass, you know?
posted by rodgerd at 10:23 PM on January 7, 2010


rodgerd -- yeah, I realized that after I posted. Also, smoking is such a social faux pas that it'd be unlikely to embarrass someone out of it. They've got a physical addiction that needs to be addressed in a psychological rather than technological way (with the exception of prescription aids).
posted by spiderskull at 11:24 PM on January 7, 2010


I really thought this was going to be a "blah blah blah blah... LOOK AT MY ART! GIVE ME A BOOK DEAL!"

And was refreshed to find his art kind of sucked and the whole thing really was 'quitting smoking is hard and kind of sucks and this is how I'm doing it."

(I'm among the legions of those who have quit but still dream about it, oh every single day. The last time I quit on will power and a sore throat. I hope there won't be a next time but if there is, maybe I'll try a graphic novel written in iambic pentameter and illustrated with finger paints. I mean, I've found quitting to be hard.)
posted by From Bklyn at 12:36 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, smoking is such a social faux pas

Heh. Not in mainland Europe it isn't. Here in Spain the vast majority of places (restaurants, clubs and pubs) allow smoking. A large huge percentage of people smoke here and it is generally not frowned upon. This is likely to change in the coming years as most EU countries are coming down pretty hard on smoking in public places but it is definitely not a 'social faux pas' to be a smoker.

As for the FPP, I'm glad if this works out for him. It's a lot more creative and healthy than my way to quit: have your body crap out on you, fall violently ill for an extended period time and realise that you only get one of these organ sacks per ride. Moderately harrowing and life altering, but rather inspirational.

Though I'm not a huge fan of the artwork, "Lungs vs. Death Star" is quite inspired.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:57 AM on January 8, 2010


The pictures themselves aren't awesome (though I giggled at "YAAAAARD mateys"), but man, this is an awesome project. I hope it works out for him.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:22 AM on January 8, 2010


Agree with quin! It is the perpetuation of the myth that stopping smoking is next to impossible that keeps people mired in thoughts such as quitting is "more difficult than stopping Heroin"! (uh...no, it's not).

Actually, stopping smoking *is* harder than stopping heroin, at least according to the many people who have done both. The problem is that people overestimate the difficulty of quitting heroin and underestimate the difficulty of quitting smoking. Smoking is more addictive than heroin in the sense that a higher proportion of those who try smoking get hooked and in the sense that if you try kicking both, it's easier to stay off the heroin.

That's probably at least partially accounted for by the fact that smoking isn't intoxicating and may be performance enhancing for certain kinds of work and that you can smoke in a lot more places than you can shoot up. However, I was talking with the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse the other day and she agreed when I said that by reducing the number of places that smoking is allowed, we've actually made it less addictive because that reduces the number of "cues" that remind you to smoke or to relapse if you are trying to quit.

Obviously, there are limits to that because stress (biggest relapse issue) can happen anywhere. But it is interesting.
posted by Maias at 3:53 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is the perpetuation of the myth that stopping smoking is next to impossible that keeps people mired in thoughts such as quitting is "more difficult than stopping Heroin"!

No - what keeps people mired in smoking is that smoking is very, very difficult to quit. Habitforming, addictive, socially adaptive in so many ways.

Most people who quit smoking successfully have also tried to quit smoking six or seven times before. They relapse for a lot of reasons, but not because they are mired in the thought that quitting is impossible. They've already quit. They relapse because they're triggered to, and the addicted mind immediately rewards the relapse with a nice satisfying dose of nicotine.

Quitting is legitamately quite hard, and not because of cultural lore that says it's hard. That lore describes a truth. I've never been addicted to heroin, so I can't compare; but smoking is probably more insidious in that you can live an entirely normal, functional life and make so few really significant sacrifices to the habit. You can't do that with heroin. Anyway, though I can't talk about quitting heroin, I can say that quitting smoking was the single hardest thing I have ever voluntarily done. It was the hardest when I quit the first six times; and it was harder still when I quit seven and a half years ago, for good.
posted by Miko at 4:30 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Btw here's a very hopeful quitting fact: the more times you try, the more likely you are to succeed.

also, best drug: varenicline (chantix, champix). reports of psychotic reactions to it are overblown: most of these are due to nicotine having antidepressant and antipsychotic properties and therefore, being without it unmasks them. rates of these issues are the same for Xyban-- they are lower for nicotine replacement, supporting the unmasking notion.

also patch plus lozenges better than either alone and probably super duper best would be patch, lozenges, support group and varenicline.

but whatever it is, keep trying!!!
posted by Maias at 5:03 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


also patch plus lozenges better than either alone and probably super duper best would be patch, lozenges, support group and varenicline.

I'd have to disagree. The problem with any kind of nicotine substitute is that it prolongs it in your system keeping the physical cravings present. Simply stopping all together, your body will be free of the physical side of it within three days.

I've pitched it many times here before, and naplesyellow mentioned it upthread, but the Allen Carr book really was an excellent resource. Of course, I'm not an expert or anything; I only quit once. ;)
posted by quin at 5:25 PM on January 8, 2010


most of these are due to nicotine having antidepressant and antipsychotic properties and therefore, being without it unmasks them.


Accords quite well with my experience, too. Nicotine, for me, masked anxiety; dealing with the anxiety helped me stop permanently.

The problem with any kind of nicotine substitute is that it prolongs it in your system keeping the physical cravings present.


For some people, delaying the nicotine withdrawal symptoms until they can overcome the behavioral and habitual component of their addiction is just the ticket. I know one man, now in his 70s, who has remained smoke-free for over ten years after stopping using nicotine gum.

the Allen Carr book really was an excellent resource

The Allen Carr book offers some useful insights that help a percentage of users quit (not the majority); as such it is not remarkably more or less effective than other non-medication-related programs. Smoking is a complicated addiction and quite intertwined with behavior. I read Carr's book and it didn't result in permanently quitting; it was about third-to-last in my quitting attempts, and it didn't get me through three days. For some, they found a good solution at the outset with that book. That's why you hear people passionately recommend the book - it worked for them. I don't passionately recommend it - it 'failed' for me, at least in producing an immediate cessation.

The Carr method has never been evaluated by controlled study. Here is a "mini evaluation:"
Smoking Cessation: At one week follow-up 13 of the 19 participants (68%) claimed to have stopped smoking and not had a puff during the previous week. Of the other six participants, two managed three days without a cigarette, one managed two days and three were not able to abstain for one day.

These three participants who were unable to quit for even a day were particularly heavy smokers, averaging 38 cigarettes per day, and having an average expired carbon-monoxide concentration of 38 parts per million.

At one month follow-up, nine participants (47%) claimed to be abstinent. However, only five of these (26%) attended a follow-up and validated their abstinence by providing an expired carbon monoxide measurement of less than 10 ppm (average = 5ppm). One attended and had two separate measurements above 10 ppm (one as high as 39). Two (a husband and wife pair) claimed to be abstinent on the telephone but failed to attend three separate validation appointments. One other participant couldn't attend due to pressure of work. The true one-month success rate therefore lies somewhere between the validated rate (26%) and the self-reported rate (47%). One participant claimed to be abstinent on the phone but when she attended had an expired carbon monoxide level of 26 ppm and admitted that she has been smoking, but did not want her friend to know.

At 3 month follow-up 6 participants (32%) claimed to be abstinent. 5 of these (26%) claimed to have been abstinent from their first appointment, and one had lapsed, but managed to abstain again after a booster session.

An attempt was made to follow-up these 6 participants again approximately 8 months after their quit date. Two confirmed that they had returned to smoking, two confirmed that they continued to be abstinent and three were consistently unavailable and a family member who answered the phone volunteered that they thought they were still abstinent. This suggests long term (unvalidated) abstinence rate of around 26%.
5 out of 19 people - not people who read the book, but people motivated enough to attend his workshop and agree to participate in a long-range study. That's not great. That very much fails to meet Carr's claim that "80% of clients succeed with one session only, and that, of those that require extra sessions, 80% succeed after the second session."

There's not magic involved. People quit when the combination of factors pushing them toward a serious attempt is right, and when they are able to marshal enough strategies to avoid relapse. Those strategies can certainly include nicotine replacement, medication, or any number of other helpful approaches, including crayons. There is no one, single, foolproof, easy way for everyone to quit smoking on the first try - not Allen Carr's way, not anybody's way, at least not yet. Why? Because it's a complicated addiction, tightly intertwined with each individual's life and behavior. Carr's book works for some people. Not all that many. The program I use works for some people. Not all that many. WhyQuit works for some. Medication works for some. Nicotine replacement for some. So on and so on. What's important is to keep doubling back and trying - as Maias notes, the very experience gained in even a failed attempt at quitting will result in a greater likelihood of a successful attempt next time.
posted by Miko at 6:08 PM on January 8, 2010


I love this idea, even if I keep mentally picturing him smoking crayons.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:27 PM on January 8, 2010


smoking is such a social faux pas

To who? The vast majority of people I've ever known are smokers. Among the circles I travel in, it's assumed you smoke until it's known you don't.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:53 AM on January 9, 2010


Also, having been addicted to both cigarettes and opiates (not heroin, but it all metabolizes to morphine), yes, cigarettes really are more addictive. I've quit opiates, but the longest I've lasted away from smoking was about 2 weeks.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:55 AM on January 9, 2010


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