General Question

mrjadkins's avatar

Continue smoking or give it up?

Asked by mrjadkins (1256points) January 7th, 2009

On 20/20, Barbara Walters interviewed Patrick Swayze who is being treated for stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He admits that he still smokes and has smoked for over 30 years now.

Giving up smoking would definitely be of greater health benefit to him and anyone else who smokes should take notice as well. But with all the stress on him now, what do you think about him continuing to smoke through that rigorous chemo treatment?

Should a person continue to light up when they don’t have much time left with such a horrible disease? Should this one (enjoyable) habit still be allowed for him to enjoy?

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30 Answers

TitsMcGhee's avatar


I understand the whole “well, I only have so much time left,” but it’s almost insulting to the physicians who are treating the person. And plus, why smoke cigarettes when there are much better things to smoke?

Elumas's avatar

Give it up.

augustlan's avatar

I’m telling you right now: If I found out tomorrow that I had a terminal illness, there is no way in hell I’d quit smoking.

srtlhill's avatar

There needs to be cures for addiction right next to the cure for cancer. To say just stop smoking doesn’t work even with dying people. The addiction to drugs is too strong to just let go.

seekingwolf's avatar

Well, it’s not my place to say what he should do, but really, if I were him, I would keep smoking.

Really, quitting smoking wouldn’t do anything to reverse the illness, and it’s terminal. He only has so much time to enjoy life, and I doubt he’d like to spend it while suffering the withdrawal symptoms. (yuck)
Some people still smoke in hospice while they can…and why the heck not? It would only bring them more pain to quit then, and by that point, it doesn’t matter.

tinyfaery's avatar

If I were in that situation, and I had made peace with my impending death, I would start smoking. I love to smoke. I don’t do it because it can kill you, but if I were already dying…

KatawaGrey's avatar

Smoking is vilified too damn much. He should keep smoking if it makes him feel better. Quitting won’t miraculously cure his cancer and keeping it up won’t kill him tomorrow.

Vinifera7's avatar

I feel uneasy when I sell a carton of cigs to an old lady on a portable oxygen tank, but it’s not my place to decide what she does with her body. I believe that everyone has the right to fully own his own body, which is why no drugs should be illegal.

I think that there are a lot of legitimate reasons for why smoking can be a good thing, like stress relief. However I also think that it has a lot of potential for abuse. Smoking a pack or more a day is not even practical in my opinion.

It’s certainly easy for people to say “give it up”, but unless you have actually tasted addiction, you don’t know how hard it can be to quit. Fighting addiction puts a person in a great deal of stress, which is the antithesis of the ideal condition for someone fighting cancer.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

What about that guy who was so desperate to smoke while in the hospital and on oxygen that he lit a cigarette and subsequently blew his face off (literally)?

I had a set of grandparents who died before I ever met them because they both smoked up until they died – of lung and throat cancer.

May2689's avatar


augustlan's avatar

Yeah, but if you’re already dying what’s the point of giving up something you’ve enjoyed all your life?

May2689's avatar

I dont know… It could probabaly make you feel better at least for a while!

augustlan's avatar

I highly doubt that the severe withdrawal symptoms, both physical and mental would be worth it.

Judi's avatar

My son’s psychiatrist said that nicotine has a therapeutic effect on people with mental illness. He said that he should only quit under strict medical supervision or he could plunge into a deadly depression. Almost happened when he tried to quit without talking to the doctor.

augustlan's avatar

@Judi Intersting! As a depressed individual with anxiety I can totally relate. I once tried to quit and became nearly homicidal. no joke

trumi's avatar

If I were dying from anything that wasn’t caused by smoking, and couldn’t be worsened by smoking, one of the first things I would do is buy a carton. But while I’m healthy, I will agree that cigarettes are poison. Delicious, wonderful poison.

AstroChuck's avatar

Ah. What do they know. What the hell, keep smoking.
Nobody likes a quitter.

judochop's avatar

Is RoadHouse dying or just going through treatment? Why do Chemo if you are going to die anyway? He’s fucking tuff. No way cancer is gonna win that war. Nobody puts baby in a corner! This dirty dance is gonna kick some cancer ass!

Jack79's avatar

The only person whom I advised to smoke was my grandfather when he was 89. He’d smoked for several years, then was not allowed for most of his life, but always lit up the odd one secretly in the garden when nobody was watching. When he finally gave up on life at 89, he took it up full-time and it was probably his only joy left. My mother and aunts were furious and used to hide his fags, but I’d roll him up one of mine (I was smoking too at the time). He died aged 92, by simply being too old to keep living.

In all other situations I’d say “quit”. And it’s not so hard. And you actually do get a chance to turn things around and be healthy again.

mcbealer's avatar

I concur with Swayze. If you’re on your way out, you may as well enjoy it.
As he stated, not smoking at this point is surely not going to reverse his disease.

cookieman's avatar

I hate to admit it (because I abhor smoking), but I’d keep smoking. He has nothing to lose at this point.

In fact, I’d also eat red meat three times a day and wash it down with a liter of Coke. A dozen chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Jack79's avatar

so cprevite you’d simply be living like me? :)

cookieman's avatar

Oh Jack79 – LOL. I hope you eat a little better than that regularly.

St.George's avatar

If I had pancreatic cancer, I’d start smoking again.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Honestly, people do blame cigarettes for too damn much. My grandfather smoked 2 packs a day and he died a few years ago of old age. He quit many years before he died and never had any health problems from it. The same is true of my grandmother. She smoked a pack a day for many many years before she quit. The old bat has never had a serious health problem (except at age 5 when she had her appendix removed. She had not yet started smoking). My mother had cancer a few years and she smokes. She would have gotten cancer even if she didn’t smoke. On the whole, we all do things that are much worse for us than smoking cigarettes and vice versa.

susanc's avatar

My mother of blessed memory chain-smoked for 55 years.
Then she quit.
Then she came down with advanced acute myelocytic leukemia.
Then the doctors told her she might want to
take up smoking again.
Giving it up had shocked her immune system.
And she wasn’t going to get well anyway.

But she was in the hospital. She couldn’t smoke there.

SuperMouse's avatar

I’m not and never have been a smoker, but if I was and I was diagnosed with stage iv pancreatic cancer, I would keep right on puffing. FYI, this was in the news today.

Judi's avatar

@SuperMouse thanks for the update.

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