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Got a smoke, Doc?

September 16, 2010

Way back in my first year of university (2004), I attended a lecture about the hazards of smoking and heard a statistic that blew my mind:

34% of Jordanian doctors smoke.”

When I first heard it, I couldn’t believe my ears. Aren’t those doctors? Aren’t those the guys who are supposed to know best?

My amazement has faded away since then.

I don’t what it is about Jordanian universities, but almost everybody ends up smoking. Maybe it’s the difficulty of young adulthood, or “emerging adulthood” as one psychologist put it. Among my classmates, smoking was not seen as macho or anything, it was “merely” a way to deal with the ups and downs of life, a way to “release” as many of them describe it. Well, the thing is, after a couple of months, it stops being a stress-reliever, and turns into an addiction. All of them keep saying they can quit in an instant, but very, very few actually do it.

At first year of uni, I would estimate that at most 10% of my fellow classmates smoked, now that they are doctors, at least 50% of them smoke. Staggering.

One of my close friends actually started smoking in order to, wait for it, understand what smokers go through so he can better convince them to quit(!). He’s a very smart young man, but he foolishly wanted to try it firsthand. I unfortunately couldn’t dissuade him, and his smoking has steadily increased since then. He is now trying to quit, I can only wish him the best of luck.

There is a running joke in our class: If you need good business in the future, specialize in Pulmonary Medicine, and you’d be all set with only our classmates as patients…


From → Life in Medicine

  1. I just can not understand this stress release part! When I am enraged or stressed I tend to smash stuff around me into pieces because the adrenaline rush you get makes you agitated, so wit takes some energy to smash stuff, so you go back to a less agitated state (I feel like I am giving a lecture on physics, lol) and I know people who eat when stressed, which again is raining havoc on something and tearing it apart; food in this case!

    But what are smokers doing? Pissing people off with their smell? Or destroying their lungs?

  2. Haitham,

    What is sad is that our lives may be so empty that a lot of us can’t “relieve” stress except by smoking…

  3. it’s not only Jordanian unis – in France it’s the same, actually starts earlier, in high school… Am an ex-smoker. Stopped completely when I got pregnant, haven’t smoked since. Do I miss it? Of course I do! The taste, the calm when you take the first puff! (don’t miss the horrible smell of cold tobacco though!!) But am not smoking with a baby in the house or next to me – hubby doesn’t smoke helps a lot too! It does “relieve” stress, like smashing stuff or going for a jog! The thing about Jordan, is that it is still fashionable to smoke here. Not the case in Europe any more – hasn’t been in the States for ages. It will eventually come and people will gradually stop smoking! Addictif, sure it is – but if somebody really want to stop, they can. it’s not as bad as harder drugs or booze, i don’t think so…

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience…

    Yup, I guess people should know it’s a real addiction, but it’s still beatable. I’m glad you were able to quit, you can set an example!

  5. Haitham Al-Sheeshany permalink

    Thx Ehab, good read. the 34% is a freaky figure! 😦


  6. “One of my close friends actually started smoking in order to, wait for it, understand what smokers go through so he can better convince them to quit(!)”…. Very sarcastic! I will be citing this story! Thank you.

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