I just deferred the decision to have one cigarette.
When the urge came up, I put it off five minutes.
And crucially, the rules allowed me to have one if I really wanted.
At first there was lots of deferring and then deciding to have one.
Eventually I just deferred the decision five minutes then five minutes more and on and on forever.
The reasoning is that your subconscious mind does not like "giving up" anything. "Giving up" implies you are losing something you value for nothing in return.
When you defer the decision to indulge your addiction, you are not fighting against your subconscious - remember the rule is you are allowed to have the thing you crave.
So in effect I never gave up smoking, I'm just a smoker who deferred the decision and never decided to do it.
I "stopped smoking" about 20 years ago. I'm still a smoker but just haven't had one for a long time.
"Giving up smoking" is very hard. Deferring one cigarette for five minutes is easy.
Off topic also, I highly recommend the podcast "The Vaping Fix". It's closely related to Silicon Valley and is compelling binge listening.
There's lots of different people, and there's not really a universal way that's going to work for everyone. I doubt that there's solutions that work for the majority. I believe most smokers wish they never started, so if it was as simple as 'deferring for 5 minutes' or 'have willpower' we'd have a lot less of them.
> "Giving up smoking" is very hard. Deferring one cigarette for five minutes is easy.
For me, it definitely wasn't, but when I read things that are written as 'general advice' that I couldn't follow it made less motivated to try to find a way to quit. It's was also frustrating to read other people being successful with seemingly 'simple tricks'.
"Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking" is another example that has near universal praise, and was mentioned here on HN. Also a total dud for me, which only made me more depressed; there must be something more wrong with me...
My suggestion now would probably be to treat it as an illness and go talk to your family doctor. But also: your mileage may vary and perhaps just waiting 5 minutes at a time will do it for you!
Hang in there.
I have quit January 2020, and it's taken me 12 years of hating myself, 3 years of electronic cigarette, 6 months of patches, a pandemic where I was away from people and temptation and now the rest of my life of constant vigilance and fortitude not to fall into the pit again. I am happy and don't think about smoking anymore, but I can feel the good old mental pathway faintly light up whenever I'm a little bit distracted or vulnerable.
It's incredibly fucking hard to transform yourself back into a non-smoker.
I would also be very interested in the percentage of people for whom deferring a cigarette for five minutes is easy. Maybe if you were waiting five minutes for a smoke buddy.
I would be too. But I can’t imagine it’s very low. It’s like holding your pee for 5 minutes, uncomfortable, but eminently doable as long as you know you’ll find a toilet soon.
I think the problem is with knowing that those 5 minutes are supposed to mean deferring the smoking forever.
Does it get worse with time? The first five minutes might just be uncomfortable for holding your pee, but the discomfort rises until by the tenth or twentieth it may be physically impossible.
In my (non-smoker's) understanding, withdrawal symptoms/cravings also increase with time between cigarettes, at least at first. Maybe not as strongly?
Big tobacco knows, but they won’t tell you.
Unfortunately, your doctor's recommendation is not necessarily the ideal option for your overall health.
As a former smoker, I applaud any and all strategies that could be effective without pharmaceutical intervention, at least as a first option for addicted individuals.
What method would you suggest that would be more effective than evidence-based medicine? I seem to recall that there is somewhat of a cancer risk for continuing to smoke. So if Chantix is effective at getting you to quit, you would still be at a much lower cancer risk overall. It is also worth noting that the drugs were recalled because of an impurity in batches that could cause a cancer risk, not a risk from the drug itself.
This just seems like terrible logic to me. Don’t use evidence based approaches to help you quit something that is definitely increasing your risk of cancer by a lot, because at some point down the road it could maybe be found that the approach you took had a much smaller risk of causing cancer. This is just fear of active risk vs passive risk. Accepting a much larger risk of maintaining the status quo over a lower risk of actively seeking out and taking a drug.
I take it you have tried alternatives containing only nicotine, but they just weren’t the same?
Note that successfully quitting smoking usually means quitting coffee, too, since coffee contains the exact same monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
MAOI just make the addiction stronger, but are not the addiction themselves.
This seems a little like revisionist history? Apologies for awful forbes link, but it has some of their early ads: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2018/11/16/t...
I don't really hold a strong position on this issue, but it seems obvious their early ads targeted high school kids (and it worked). It was only later after their success (and regulators started looking at them) that they focused on smoking cessation and being an alternative for smokers as their purpose (rather than getting non-smokers to vape).
That plus it came out after the success of their weed vaporizor Pax which they made first right? I don't really know if nicotine vapes are dangerous or not, almost certainly better than tobacco - but I don't buy that it was about switching smokers to vaping early on. Maybe the podcast gets into it more and I'm over indexing on that subtitle. If so, I'd be happy to read your reply.
Even odder, the podcast makes it sound like Monsees and Bowen invented the concept of the electronic cigarette completely from scratch, making no mention of the decades-long history they have in China. It's completely possible that they were unaware of the Chinese precedent and working independently (I feel like e-cigarettes in the Chinese style had started to appear in the US, although not yet taken off, by 2007 when they launched Pax but I could be remembering this wrong), but the host not mentioning it at all was another factor that made the podcast feel very shallowly researched and, in general, like a puff piece for Juul.
Further, the podcast makes it sound like the popularity of Pax for cannabis, which was not yet legal anywhere at the time, was unforeseen and unintentional. Maybe this is true, but it strikes me as a bit odd as I have never known the Pax brand to be associated with anything but cannabis, and my first exposure to it was around 2009. I would be very interested in digging into old Ploom/Pax advertising around this point. I don't begrudge Pax as a cannabis product but this just felt like another questionable and self-advantageous claim by Pax/Juul that the podcast just took for granted.
I don't necessarily know that I'd allege the podcast to have been bought off by Juul or something, but it very much had the feeling of a newspaper article about a company with that company's own press release as the sole source. I think it may have just been lazy rather than malicious per se.
Check out the book "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales if interested.
I also quit smoking in my 20's. I succeeded by focusing on how physically bad a cigarette made me feel. There was some kind of tobacco buzz but also an obvious depressant effect and it made me feel like shit. During the period I was quitting I would sometimes smoke a little more to make myself feel physically worse so that I would be reminded of this bad feeling and want to avoid it. It worked!
Those who were in the narrowed focus trials ran on average 22% faster and simultaneously felt that their effort was subjectively 17% easier.
Similar advice I read from a former Navy Seal about their training sessions and in particular "Hell Week". He succeeded by narrowing his focus to 'just last until the next meal - they have to feed us every 6 hours', and he made it through, but many in his entering class did not, and he noticed that they were overwhelmed by 'how am I going to last this whole week?'.
You just narrowed your focus to the next 5min, and succeeded - congratulations!
(Also I smoked so-called "brown tobacco" which meant I couldn't really ask other people for a smoke -- I could, but I strongly disliked more mainstream cigarettes; so I had to take care of my own supply).
The first two weeks of quitting were horrible, it was as if somebody constantly pulled on my arms to elongate them; in fact during those weeks I stayed in bed most of the time. (In a way it was so horrible and strange that it seemed kind of enjoyable; the pain transforms into something bizarre where you're a kind of "pure pain" that isn't, somehow, insufferable.)
And then after those two weeks the carving was gone, and I was free.
It's been 20 years since I quit and I have never wanted to smoke again; I still remember vividly how painful it was to quit, and this is an excellent deterrent to wanting to start again.
I smoked for 13 years and stopped 13 years ago. I have had maybe two or three cigarettes since. I started by gradually cutting down then after a few weeks adopted this exact strategy. When the urge arose I just waited a few minutes and it usually pass. It's also worth noting that in addition to the nicotine addiction, I had to deal with built up habits and being used to having a cigarette in my mouth but after a few months these went away.
To this day I have the occasional craving but these pass much quicker (generally in a few seconds) than they did 13 years ago.
Looking back, it was fairly easy for me but I understand that it's not the same for everyone. My dad quit after 2 decades of smoking, he had vomiting spells and chills for weeks. I know of at least one person who had quit for a decade, had one cigarette and is now back to regularly smoking.
These are effects of MAOI withdrawal. Nothing to do with nicotine.
I’ve just about had it with the half-truths surrounding tobacco, coffee and alcoholic beverages. MAOIs from the Harmala alkaloid family as well as various flavonoid families are prevalent in all of our ”legal highs” in copious quantities, yet all we ever hear is ”nicotine”, ”caffeine” and ”alcohol”.
Then once you hit the 10 min mark, what's another 10 min?
Just ensure that every time the urge comes up, you say to yourself:
"Do I really want this cigarette RIGHT NOW, or can I have it in five minutes?"
If you cannot wait then have it.
In five minutes time when. the deferral has expired, ask the same question.
Don't fight yourself, agree with yourself.
And don't attack yourself for making the decision to have one - just ensure that the next cigarette gets the same question.
This process might happen hundreds of times but don't worry about it, just keep asking the question.
It's a long series of very short term decisions.
It doesn't work if you have a rule in place that you cannot have a cigarette - this approach means you can, so your subconscious can relax - you are not depriving it of what it wants.
These "simple tricks" are just another way to fail. You can postpone 1-2-3-4 cigarettes, but eventually you will smoke 4 in a row to get the nicotine high with the intensity and duration your body is used to.
Which is why the patch is effective, it helps with physical withdrawal. These jedi mind tricks don't.
Friends report there are no lasting urges, no mental blocks, no inner demons etc. etc.
reddit testimonials: https://www.reddit.com/r/stopsmoking/comments/odyv6/anyone_t...
I agree with the parent comment. I took it one at a time and in about a month felt no compulsion to smoke.
I want to acknowledge how incredibly difficult it can be to give up smoking and express my support to all of you who are trying. I hope you find your path.
It helped me finally stop trying to quit. And just chose not to smoke.
Nicely put, and congrats. Your health says thank you.
My grandfather had lung cancer twice. He quit smoking after the first time. His wife couldn't. She spent 10 years in long, slow COPD decline after he passed.
Don't fucking do it. And don't buy fucking nicotine vapes, either. Fuck those assholes.
It's been 2 years since quitting - started at 17 and quit age 39 as a very heavy smoker (20 pack + a day). I have always been very active but found my lung capacity, endurance and ability to perform are all much increased. I used to get the occasional chest pain and those have gone now, too. I just hope I havent done too much damage and can enjoy my kids, my garden, my physicality.. for as long as I can - my father in law has COPD and it is not a pretty end to a guy who used to be very a strong, physically capable guy.
I would encourage anyone to quit tobacco by whatever reasonable means & (my hunble) experience tells me vaping is way better than tobacco smoking.
Refer to how “science” covered smoking for decades, how eating fat was thought to be harmful for decades, how major economists missed every single crisis, and how many economist-led mutual funds went bust. And also who sponsored each research.
Of course, it’s not how it works in “real” sciences like physics, because criteria on research results are very strict there. But you should by default be very skeptical about any groundbreaking results in social sciences.
It’s a “vaping has far fewer toxic chemicals compared to cigarette smoke” type science.
How smokers’ habits change with vaping? Do they vape more often than they had smoked? Is vaping more social, hence more people get “sucked in”? Do children start vaping earlier? Long term, is starting vaping better than trying to stop smoking?
So many facets, so much beyond “we found this number smaller, therefore we recommend smokers to vape now”
I think there’s also some sort of negative cardiovascular symptoms, but I would be unsurprised if caffeine had its own.
> Nicotine constricts blood vessels, including those in the skin and coronary blood vessels, but dilates blood vessels in skeletal muscle. Vasoconstriction of the skin results in reduced skin blood flow and reduced fingertip skin temperature.
edit: smoking is carcinogenic, but how much of it is because of nicotine I wouldn't know; a smoker might not live long enough to find out at what age the cancer develops if he drops dead because of the heart infarct.
Have any evidence to support this novel claim?
Which one did you have in mind, and why do you say certainly?
The vapes don't have the MAOIs, which could also be why my brother didn't find them very satisfying (apart from the THC vapes).
You also inhale less matter than with an ecig, so I think it may end up being healthier... but I'm like, the only person I know that does this daily so science may never know.
Nicotine is as harmful as caffeine, no more, no less. Nobody's going around campaigning against Big Espresso.
The podcast below sums it up perfectly:
Three years ago, tobacco giant Philip Morris announced they were moving away from cigarettes and that they were campaigning to "unsmoke the world".
They said they would offer people a better alternative to the cigarette, a device that would give you your nicotine fix from a "HeatStick".
Author and documentary maker John Safran discovered the HeatStick is made primarily from tobacco, and that it still generates carcinogenic tar.
John soon found that Philip Morris were financing "anti-smoking" initiatives all over the world.
They look just like conventional Quit programs, but they are designed to shift people onto this new device.
They are literally obligated to fund them according to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Master_Settlement_Agre...
Vapes have turned out more or less ok, with a negligible impact on health and lung capacity. Chronic nicotine has its own impact, certain flavorings are problematic, but it's orders of magnitude better than smoking. There's no indication that iqos is any better, but it's certainly far more expensive.
IQOS by Philip Morris is the latest cynical plot to get people hooked and extract endless streams of cash. Vape is cheaper, iqos far more expensive.
It's an interesting bellwether for news organizations. If they run anti-vape, PM has their hooks in.
psychological nicotine addiction has the uncanny ability to find the tiniest smidge of what-you-thought-was-dealt-with impostor syndrome buried deep within your soul, poke it with a stick and then chase you around with it with threats of total ruin, hoping you'll give in.
there's a famous book by allan carr called "the easyway to stop smoking." it can be a little silly at times, but it did have one idea i liked that basically boiled down to anthropomorphizing your nicotine addiction, imagining refusal to smoke as a way of starving it and then basking in the schadenfreude as it dies a slow, painful death.
This study only included healthcare costs, and so the savings would thus be even greater when considering pensions.
"On average, healthy people lived 84 years. Smokers lived 77 years and obese people 80 years.
The healthy group cost $417,000, the obese $371,000, and smokers $326,000."
An average healthy White British male of 66 years (retirement age) has a hospitalisation risk of 1 in 831; death risk of 1 in 2786.
By contrast the yearly risk of death in that age bracket generally, from any cause, is 1 in 42:
COVID is accelerating deaths from existing comorbidities or very old age; based on this data it is not felling healthy workers.
When your diabetes leads to kidney problems and stroke, your last 5 years of life likely cost more than the rest combined.
Everyone has a vice. smokers are just easy targets.
I sure have. I've met all kinds of people who smoked. From kind to unkind, self-aware to insufferable, big to small, etc. I will say people who smoke are exactly like people.
FWIW I picked up smoking hanging in certain social circles. It was kind of just a thing other people I was hanging out with did.
People smoke for similar reasons to why people drink: it's social, there's a (pleasing to some) chemical component, it's habitual, and so on. For many, it's the cheapest way to manage to self-source some quick relief in their day.
It's also a cultural signifier. I know I'm more likely to get along with someone who smokes.
First few packs are disgusting, one is not used to nicotine so can get vicious headaches and nausea, the smoke is harsh and irritates your nostrils and your throat. Once you get addicted to nicotine and your tolerance builds up smoking becomes enjoyable since, since the nicotine high kicks in at maximum effect.
Was there an E hall?
Keeping on the theme of "science denial" - it reminds me a lot of the developed world lecturing developing countries about pollution. Yes, from the hindsight of maturity and comfort it's a bad idea, but when you have other immediate concerns, the calculus is very different.
Smoking is unhealthy, but people have to make their own mistakes.
> You have 2 free member-only stories left this month. Sign up for Medium and get an extra one
Why write something if a good many of your readers will not be able to read it?
Do these writers realize they're standing behind someone else's gate? This is the internet! You can publish your own blog with absolutely minimal effort. For free even!
I just do not get it. Why do people give their content to Medium!?
I started smoking occasionally before the pandemic. Since the pandemic my usage as increased to nightly. It has without question helped me manage my anxiety levels (and isn't the only tool I've used along the way) but I'm not sure which is the lesser evil. At this point I teeter between wanting to stop and really appreciating the help. I convince myself I'm at least a little safer by using a vaporizer (flower, not oil based) and keeping the temps below 400.
Then one day this year I woke up and felt sick. I didn't have any gum, and I didn't purchase anymore either, because I felt sick for one day. Now I'm finally nicotine free.
And therefore you should believe the author’s other hobby-horses, because if you doubt it you’re the enemy, or a sucker.
Being able to recognize what you don’t know isn’t going to help you quit smoking, but it helps you from falling for conspiracy theories, and that’s important too.
(A good way to learn to live with doubt is to collect questions you don’t have good answers to yet.)
I despise big tobacco. They remove the craft from the product. A well-made cigar or a masterfully blended pipe tobacco is akin to a fine whiskey: meant to be enjoyed in moderation and with a mind for the experience that went into making it. Even a hand-rolled cigarette using locally-grown tobacco has a degree of craft involved.
Vapes are just a convenient, relatively harmless delivery mechanism, but they're removed so far from the tobacco plant that I can't bring myself to consider them in the same category. They're a separate vice.
Point is, tobacco is a wonderful plant that lends itself to being cultivated and artfully made into fine products. Marlboros are little cancer sticks, and I wish Big Tobacco all my worst. Thanks for ruining it.
The piece that most resonated with me was "The pandemic revealed the high price [...] of *replacing informed debate with cynical doubt*". Informed debate feels like an absolute lost art thanks to the internet. You can't fit informed debate into a tweet. Or into a Facebook post. And when everyone speaks with absolute confidence on their opinion, how can people distinguish informed opinions from uninformed opinions? This is I believe one of the core problems of the internet today.
Regardless, congrats on the many laptop-full and cigarette-free years :)
> As Tim Harford documents in his brilliant 2021 book The Data Detective, the 1954 classic “How to Lie With Statistics” was authored by a payrolled shill for Big Tobacco, Darrell Huff, whose planned (and never realized) followup was to be called “How to Lie With Smoking Statistics.” Huff’s work wasn’t just about debunking bad stats: it was also about casting doubt upon the statistical evidence linking tobacco with cancer.
People will only believe information to be true if it comes from a source they trust. And when a source of information becomes politicized, then suddenly only half of the population will believe information from it, while the other half will be suspicious and distrusting of it.
For some reason and I don't know why, the data actually says you should start smoking to prevent lung cancer. Which sounds absolutely batshit crazy to me. Which is why it's so interesting. We misidentified what is causing the cancer and none of the obvious other possibilities are explaining it. Though the good news is stuff like radon or asbestos being eliminated has been a good thing.
I may have confusion over https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incidence_(epidemiology)#Incid... but so does the data.
Notice the clear dip. Yes there's a delay, but you don't develop lung cancer and die the next year. It often can take over a decade for lung cancer to kill you; but it does. If you get lung cancer, you will die. You virtually never survive. This also measures deaths, but right about the peaks there is when chemotherapy(methotrexate) and many other treatments for cancer started. So in fact, this graph is quite biased because it doesnt show tobbaco vs lung cancer. It shows chemotherapy working. Surely this graph should have been updated beyond 2000-2005? Why did they cut off there?
Why then does this one only go about 1990? Also who is smoking 25 cigarettes/day? And while getting lung cancer is practically certain death. At 25/day it only increases your risk by 25%? At only a couple cigarettes/day it's around only 5% increase risk? That's actually very bad correlation.
Why the cut off around 2002? What about 2002 makes these data? Wait why do spanish women basically not get lung cancer? In fact, despite all the antismoking advertisements and efforts. ~20% of spanish women still smoke today. https://www.statista.com/statistics/750687/proportion-of-dai...
In fact, yes there's a delay but there's clearly no improvement on US females despite drastically decrease smoking rates and significant increases medical science on how to fight cancer.
How about second hand smoke? https://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/15/18/5646
~50% of lung cancer is from people who never smoked. I know here in Canada it's rather difficult to find places to smoke and you virtually never get second hand smoke anymore. They used to assert it was second hand smoke like waitresses in smokey bars. However that can't be the explanation anymore.
There's virtually no risk until 50s?
How's it going in Canada? https://www.lungcancercanada.ca/Lung-Cancer/Causes/Smoking.a...
We avoided some deaths relative to expectations but lung cancer deaths are actually going up since the 1980s? Up every year?
Now we know why so many graphs havent been updated since the 2000s. We have something like 500% tax on smoking and smoking 25 cigarettes/day can only be done by very wealthy people.
You might jump back and say, but surely tobacco smoke with 69 confirmed carcinogens/poisons is causing cancer to some amount?
But what is chemo? It's a poison that kills cancer because cancer tends to split dna more often and is vulnerable to being killed by poisons. Virtually any poison can be used, but the trick is finding something that won't kill you or do more harm. Anthrax can even be used to treat cancer. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12370003/
It seems what we discovered is that lung cancer was actually being killed by the toxic cigarette smoke. That the cause of lung cancer is something else and toxic tobacco smoke was actually helping some amount as a shitty chemotherapy. The antismoking folks know this and that's why all the graphs are cherry picked.
Also note; I'm not recommending to smoke lol. The somewhat recent discovery is that it's something else and we either don't know or aren't allowed to know for political reason.
Smokers truly are oblivious to how godawful they smell to everyone else. I'd rather sit next to someone actively shitting his pants than someone who's smoked in the last three hours.
The main downside (upside?) of edibles is that the high lasts much, much longer. I like them, but I'm not gonna take one during the day unless I definitely don't have anything important to do for the rest of the day.
"It’s how homeopaths, anti-vaxers, eugenicists, raw milk pushers and other members of the Paltrow-Industrial Complex played the BBC and other sober-sided media outlets, demanding that they be given airtime to rebut scientists’ careful, empirical claims with junk they made up on the spot."
Our problem is not smoking. Our problem is how and why we smoke. It has nothing to do with the drug itself but everything to do with us.
I also know this empirically because I was a half a pack a day smoker for a few years and I have never been more anxious, it was what drove me to quit.
You feel relief shortly because you're satisfying the addiction but at the general level you have more stress.
It is not the drug that is the problem but how you used / abused it.
How can something stimulate and sedate at the same time? It's legacy nomenclature that has become counterintuitive. Like how electrons are negative and holes are positive.
The short answer is, "yes."
> This is the list of 599 additives in tobacco cigarettes submitted to the United States Department of Health and Human Services in April 1994.
Most do not make it that far, like my grandfather. He smoked Chesterfields, just like the ad with Ronald Reagan in Cory's article, only the unfiltered kind.
There is probably a mortality study of filtered vs. unfiltered smoker preferences.
Obesity and loneliness are far more dangerous.
and yet ppl still smoke in spite of warnings and knowing the risks ...
That resonated with me.
That's true in absolute numbers, because there's billions of people. But in percentage? Are we talking about 80% of the population, or is it closer to 1%?
If it's 1%, or close, then it isn't "human nature", it's an aberration. I believe that's the case. I also believe that corporations attract that kind of people in particular.
>Denialism over masks, vaccines, opioids, problem gambling and gun proliferation all follow the same playbook, often because the same handful of profiteering firms are behind them.
Before we start congratulating each other for being such smart fellows, let's all keep in mind that it works both ways.
This part of the article seemed like a non-sequitur.
I smoke two or three packs of cigarettes a year. It doesn't seem like it's an unhealthy thing to do, and I enjoy it.
I use to smoked for little over 10 years. I also quit smoking about 11 years ago.
Recently I started pipe smoking again. Man do I love it :) The *hunt* for the next perfect blend is fascinating and lol I dare say addictive. Cracking open that new "tin" (yes pipe tobacco comes in tins, like big shoe-polish-tins). Nothing like the expectation of waiting in the mail for that new batch of tinned pipe tobaccos you bought after spending days reading their reviews and comparing notes.
Of course we don't inhale ! (like that is really going to save us).
PS. Not suggesting its anyway healthier nor better for you that *yukky* cigarettes, I kinda wish someone can just make it less of a health risk :(
I can say smoking 1-2 pipes (yes the bowls are bigger than your avg cigarette) a day is way wayyy more enjoyable than 20+ cigarettes a day.
Oh well, time to load up some "SeattlePipeClub - Plum Pudding" (it's been called the nirvana of pipe tobacco) in my ole'reliable-but-not-fancy Lorenzo pipe :)
Plum Pudding is a great blend, too. I'd give Captain Black — Dark a try if I were you. One of the best blends I've had the pleasure of trying, and my wife swears by it.
> To date, there is no strong evidence (i.e., evidence based on causal research) that smokers are protected against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Moreover, there is growing evidence that smokers have worse outcomes after contracting the virus than non-smokers.
edit: Oh, I see the link you posted below.
edit: That's a link to an ongoing clinical study, no published data yet. Can you provide some links to the data?
You and they are right that it is not clear whether smokers have an overall benefit or not with regards to the whole chain of causality from contracting COVID to hospitalization to "worse outcomes"
The author engages the data directly, as well as broader context about smoking and infectious disease. Now, they may be lying by either commission or omission, for all I know, but the above does not accurately characterize the piece.
The other one is fair enough: self-reporting has its limits. But what are they really?
Let's do the thought experiment: if the converse result were being reported, i.e. non-smokers were having worse outcomes than expected, but growing evidence showed smokers developed serious cases more frequently than non-smokers, would that article be any different? I think you could just write it paint-by-numbers. Also, kids, don't start smoking no matter how cool you think it is, mkay?
It could also be related to buildup from smoking coating the lungs and reducing the available points of infection, which in not sure you want. All that black tar and crud... I'd rather get covid.
Please don't accuse me of "thinking" anything I didn't say.
In the meantime, there are clinical trials going on now for the use of nicotine to prevent COVID:
Nobody accused you of any of that.