Niki Tehranchi
by Niki Tehranchi

In the middle of the onslaught of horrendous news from around the world, the earthquake from Chile, Senator Bunning's filibustering, Toyota's blood profits, TV's Bachelor picking the slutty girl over America's Sweetheart, one news last night somehow managed to irk me more than anything else: The fact that President Obama is STILL a smoker after how many bloody decades?

Please don't take me for one of those crazy teabaggers or a correspondent from Fox News (oops sorry, I am sounding redundant).  I am not an Obama hater.  I don't even like writing about politics.  My political philosophy can be summarized in one sentence: "Il faut cultiver son jardin."  But as a former smoker myself, it really bugged me that this man, the most powerful man in the Western Hemisphere, the so-called leader of the free world, can't even free himself from the disgusting habit of smoking, something that can end his life in agonizing pain and leave his beautiful children orphans not to mention the country and the world in disarray. 

People love to undermine politicians for sex scandals.  I say who cares?  Have you ever heard former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer speak on some of the country's most pressing domestic issues?  The guy is so fiercely intelligent, charismatic and articulate, I would vote for him in a heartbeat, I don't care how many hookers he has slept with.  There are so many others like him, Clinton, Mitterand, JFK, Trudeau, who have been embroiled in adulterous affairs and that still didn't prevent them from being brilliant leaders.  To me, Obama's smoking is more undermining of his character and resolve than if he was caught doing the hanky panky with an chubby, beret wearing intern.

I smoked on and off betwen the ages of fourteen and thirty.  Yup, that is a very vvvveeeeeerrrryyyy long time.  The genius of the smoking industry to make smoking look like the cool, rebellious thing that almost every geeky teen-ager takes it up or at least dabbles in it.  And the stupidity of people like me not only to buy into it, but to ignore all the negative information about it, and to fill up the pockets of unscrupulous and unethical corporate giants.  Even though it made my hair and clothes (and even my pores) smell awful, even though it would make me cough, even though it left that disgusting after taste in my throat, even though the air would be filled with that stale nicotine smell that is so nausea-inducing, even though it would crush my parents' hearts, even though even though even though, the list goes on and on....  All the even thoughs in the world did not deter me.  Until I got pregnant.  And then overnight, I quit cold turkey.

Guess what?  I never even had a craving for it afterwards.  It's been almost 4 years and I am FREE.  I have never felt so good. More than all the health and grooming benefits, I am liberated from the chains of addiction.  That is really the best feeling in the world.  And there was no gimmick, no nicotine patch, no nicotine gum (just the thought of it, yuck!).  Cold turkey is the way to go.  All you need is the will.  And guys, I am not talking about someone who is iron-willed and tough and always takes on challenges.  I am none of those things.  If I had been, I wouldn't have been smoking for 16 years (sigh, what a waste!)  So it irks me that Obama, who is supposed to be the tough and trustworthy leader of the most powerful nation on earth, who has accomplished something that no one else has been able to in the history of race relations in America, could be so weak in the face of this.  If I could do it, he should be able to do it.  Come on, my man, what's it gonna take?    


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definitely a minus not getting pregnant

by humanbeing on

i was never a serious smoker. bummed ciggies off of people in social situations, or had one with coffee, with drinks, in ritualized daily routine. but it was escalating and i couldn't get through daily stations without the smoke. as the blogger describes, it is the slavery to the habit more than the addiction.

then at 41 i decided to have a 'dessert' 'last minute' baby after a very long hiatus. i stopped smoking in one snap. it was a one-way decision. and i made a vow that if i would succeed to have a baby at such an old age, i would never even want another cigarette. almost a religious vow. and i was an overjoyed parent within the year. i felt so fortunate to 'taste' my baby and snuggle her, and it is so intoxicating, that i am never even tempted by smokes. i feel free. the only thing i'm addicted to is the vow i made, and the miraculous reward. it's been over five years. another annoying self-righteous narrative of an ex-smoker.


I quit three times,

by benross on

I quit three times, for enough of substantial time to be sustainable. And each time I hated what I've become toward other smokers. So I started again! It's not a sad story because I never stopped enjoying it.

But each successful attempt was a cold turkey one. For me, the motivation should be beyond my personal care. And I'm afraid I can't get pregnant.


Obama is not the first and

by gordman on

Obama is not the first and neither the last president that smokes, that doesn't make him a weak man, may be he never tried to quit because he enjoys it. I was a smoker too and I struggled with the habit for ten years, all my efforts of self motivation didn't work. After repeated failed attempts to quit I finally checked into an addict rehab to get serious help and now I am a nonsmoker for two year.

Niki Tehranchi

I've created a monster

by Niki Tehranchi on

It's so true.  I remember at the beginning of our marriage, hubby was drinking 2 liters of Coca-Cola per day.  Somehow I converted him to drinking spring water.  One day, he came to me akhmash too ham, holding a glass of water, saying "this tastes funny, this is not the usual water you buy."  Yes, I had made the horrible mistake of switching brands.  From that day on, I call him "Monsignor Le Duke" whenever he has his Royalty moments like these LoL  So I am sure he will be even more self righteous than me in a while!

Abarmard Jan, thank you for your comment.  Totally agree with you on the cold turkey thing.  For me that is.  I think everyone needs to find their own path.

Dear Asteroid, you hit the nail right on the head with "as long as you do not hurt anyone else."  That's the problem here. 

Guys thank you all for your contributions to this blog.  I do understand the tension between trying to have a healthy lifestyle and infringing upon others' individual choices.  I have always leaned towards laissez-faire.  People should be free to do what they wish to their body and mind.  I don't believe in Prohibition, like they tried to do with alcohol or they are trying to do now with the futile war on drugs.  If everyone just tried to respect each other's choices, and not hurt each other in the process, that would be a good start!  Best to you all!.................................


Jaleho I agree

by AsteroidX on

What happened to freedom of choice as long as you do not hurt anyone else? The smoke-free laws protect people from the effects of second-hand smoke, but to moralise and deprive people of smoking tobacco is something else. It is now so politically incorrect to smoke unless you're a fixed distance of entrances to buildings! You are right, ex smokers are the worse! BUT smoking-related illnesses do put additional burden onto tax payer on health care .



nice blog

by Abarmard on

It's true that cold turkey is the best way to go. Let me say that you must imagine yourself free of addiction rather than will power. Will power can get you started but not allowing your mind think that you are a smoker is the key.


Niki jan, you said,

by Jaleho on

 "Tell me it gets better!"

I am sure it does, because you'll find your husband who became ex-smoker AFTER you, self righteous in a funny way :-) Mine would walk and tell everyone that they should take all their investments in anything which has a remote relation to tobacco companies away!

Niki Tehranchi

Guilty as charged!

by Niki Tehranchi on

Dear Jaleho, have you been to my house? LoL It's eerie how similar our experiences are.  I made hubby quit smoking too, he has been "clean" since Christmas.  I never thought I would be the kind of person to demand something like that.  I was always like, I am not my husband's mother, he needs to do what he needs to do, I won't interfere.  This second pregnancy, I don't know if it is the hormones or what (I am carrying a girl this time around) I have to admit I have been holier than thou with him.  Not only I made him quit smoking, but also nagged him about his 15 cups of coffee and his nightly rum and coke so much that he quit those too.  Oh boy.  I am NOT fun to be around these days.  Tell me it gets better! :(


Dear Niki, I meant this that

by Jaleho on

no one is more self righteous than an ex-smoker, and I said it from personal experience :-)

It is NOT this blog, it is a general problem with most ex-smokers! The good thing is that the more years it passes from one's quitting, the less self righteous one becomes, almost as human as those who never smoked in the first place, haha! Like you, I quit upon pregnancy, really no sacrifice at all on my part, the thought of smoking with a baby inside me, and the smell of it nauseated me too much to smoke. However, from the moment I quit with no pain myself, with a holier-than-thou attitude, I made smoking a HELL for my husband! You name it, I even had allergy if he smoked outside, came in and took a shower. All that didn't make him quit though until he was completely ready for it himself.

I guess by years passing from your quit (victory) date, you become more relaxed about it, and about others smoking as well. One positive thing that I can tell you though is this: you don't seem to be the type to go back to it at all, that might help you relax faster!

Good luck and enjoy the baby.

Niki Tehranchi

Two legs good; Four legs bad

by Niki Tehranchi on

Or in the case of the issue we are discussing: Cigarettes good, crackpipe bad.  At least that's what the tobacco companies and government would have us believe.  So if I tell a mother to put down her cigarette before she breastfeeds her kid, I am being self-righteous.  After all, cigarettes are an expression of individuality, a stand against "the man", a hip gesture in a world full of squares.  But if I tell the same mom to put down the crackpipe, nobody will call me self righteous, they will applaud.  Because we all know crack cocaine is bad and evil, and the drug user is weak, devoid of free will, just another victim. 

That's the genius of tobacco PR machine.  To make us believe that cigarette addicts are in fact super strong and tough, rugged individuals, or sophisticated sex and the city dames.  I have hardly seen any case of a worst propaganda and brainwashing. 

What's the difference between cigarettes and crack? They are the same thing, maybe one is slower than the other in destroying your life.  The perception that one is okay, even celebrated, and the other is dirty and shameful, is just an invention put out by PR, something so ingrained that we don't even question it.

Cigarette addicts, like any other addict, are addicts because they are too weak.  Emotionally or physically, they can't put it down.  They are either ignorant of the risks or they do it knowing full well what the risks entail, the exact opposite of someone we would call "smart" or "sophisticated."  Often, the addiction starts off because of peer pressure, wanting to fit in, or project a certain image, the exact opposite of the individual, rugged rebel without a cause put out by the marketing geniuses at Camel and co.  My idea of being a non-conformist would be to scream a BIG F**** U to those tobacco companies and put down the pack for good. 

That's me.  I am not going to impose my choice on others.  If I am bothered by someone who smokes in my vicinity, I move my butt to a smoke free zone.  I have never walked up to anyone and tell them to put their ciggie out, even during my pregnancy.  If I am venting against Obama, it's because I don't understand how someone who is so super strong-willed in other aspects, intelligent, and sophisticatd, can't have the moxy to put the ciggies down.  He is not Joe Schmoe, he is the President.  This is especially bleak because he is trying to push health care reform and well, this isn't exactly helping, is it?


Personally I like first (second) hand smoke.

by Anonymouse on

I know some who've quit smoking can't stand others to smoke in their presence, it gives them headaches and nausea they say.  But for me it is the opposite, I actually encourage those who smoke to smoke in my presence.  I still like the smell!  Although I can smell less of it as people quit.

It's ok to be self-righteous on smoking.  Chinese Government encourages its citizen to smoke!  So in return others can use any tactic to make people quit one way or another.  My favorite smoking episode is in Everybody Loves Raymond where Robert catches his mother-in-law smoking right after his father-in-law had given a cigarettes are poison speech.  Then later the secret was too much to handle and she had to confess in order to save Robert, things went downhill but it ended with fun and games! 

Everything is sacred.

Niki Tehranchi

Dear Jaleho you are right this was a very self righteous post

by Niki Tehranchi on

I usually don't write like this (well, maybe I do but at least, I consciously make an effort not to be too self righteous usually) and in fact, when I was a smoker, I was really mad at the busybodies who tried to regulate where and when I could or could not smoke.  After all, if one wants to jump off a building, or OD on twinkies, one is free over what to do with his or her body.  I don't like Big Brother and I don't like meddling in other people's business and my post about Obama was kind of half tongue in cheek, half serious. 

I guess what bothers me with smoking, it may be your personal choice but it DOES affect your environment, whether it is through second hand smoke, or passing nicotine in your breast milk to an unsuspecting baby, or giving a model for your kids to sneak off and try cigarettes cause mommy and daddy do it.  The other thing that irks me is the feeling of being manipulated by corporations, that have such strong lobby and PR machines that with all the negative information about smoking, people still believe that they are a good way to destress, or a sign of cowboy independence or rebellion against stuffy shirts, a hypocritical lie that is another very American experience!!!


in that case Nikki..

by Monda on

stick to dark chocolate and whole grain organic.. that is what I do :o)

Niki Tehranchi

Dear Monda thank you for your comment

by Niki Tehranchi on

Yeah I know it is a hard thing to do.  I still don't know how I could put it down so easily after 16 years and not go back.  Of course, I have only been off for four years so it remains to be seen whether I can pull it off forever.  But this is really what I want and I don't even think about it (nor dream about it as Mouse does, though I am often dreaming of chocolate and cakes, another addiction that I am still struggling with!)

Niki Tehranchi

Dear Mouse About MJ Ghormeh Sabzi

by Niki Tehranchi on

all I have to say is : ROFLMAO!!!


No one is more self-righteous than an ex-smoker!

by Jaleho on

And the American arrogance of the "right" to self-righteousness is nothing genetic, it is quite an acquired talent!

People who love sail boats are constantly lecturing the backward motor-boaters of pollution, the moto-boaters find their own reason to be self-righteous and lecture the sail-boaters. When it is fashionable to be for "environment", everyone is lecturing the other how uncivil they are for eating or using...blah blah, and they go so over the top that they starve a good chunck of third world countries by becoming a mouthpiece for the "vegetable-fuel" corporations while crying for polar bears and feeling good about themselves. Go to any park and there are always two groups of mothers with god-given right to blame the other group for stupid parenting!!

My dear lady, good for you to quit smoking yourself. Now forget Obama and follow your own motto: ""Il faut cultiver son jardin."  No buts, no ifs.


Dear mama Nikki

by Monda on

I know you don't want to be a political writer but you certainly qualify. There's much to be said for the economics and politics of legal behaviors (nicotine and alcohol vs lesser evils/ pot, for example).

I too stopped nicotine way before I even thought of conceiving my first child and was smoke-free until my daughter decided she had enough of breast milk.  But since then, on and off I have gone to nicotine and am not proud nor ashamed of it.

I read an article on Mother Jones too about our Pres' smoking habit. Not good role modeling for our younger generation, considering how Clinton scandal impacted our teen's view on oral sex!  (that one was hell to fix in Our school district)

Nicotine withdrawal is one of the hardest - so kudos to all those non-smokers.  Tapering off works the best with any addiction. 


Yes I'm lucky to be alive too!

by Anonymouse on

I've done pretty dumb stuff in my youth too and sometimes I cringe when I think about them and how lucky I am to survive.

As for MJ I really meant when I go to Jamaica and not on a normal basis.  I don't even know when I'm going, but it is the 5 years plan after trips to Europe, a ski trip either to UT or CO or in Europe and a cruise.

I'm just afraid of the inhaling smoke again.  I agree it is not as bad as cigarettes but I'm afraid once I inhale the lungs go crazy or do something.  Sometimes I dream of smoking a cigar and then I wake up all worried and guilty!

I really want to try a brownie, maybe if I can get one in a Calif medical MJ store next time I'm there.  If it is anything like the MJ ghormeh sabzi I once had in late 70s, it'll do the trick! 

Everything is sacred.

Niki Tehranchi

Cigarette versus Spliff

by Niki Tehranchi on

Dear Mouse, as far as I know, smoking a so-called "illegal" joint can be less hazardous to your health than smoking a "legal" cigarette.  That is what is so crazy about these corporations and the governments that subsidize them and obtain juicy taxes on them yet spend millions fighting a futile war on drugs.  I am not condoning the use of either, though I had my Jamaican phase too once upon a time.  I think either one is pretty dumb. But if I had to choose, I would probably have the MJ.  Manufactured cigarettes contain nicotine, plus a host of cancer causing chemicals, metals (like lead, which everyone has taken off their painted walls now), and most importantly I heard they contain arsenic too, an actual poison.  On the other hand, MJ comes from a plant.  Of course, it contains high amount of THC and most dangerously, it can be combined with other drugs, like cocaine or PCP.  That is why I would never touch the stuff, especially if I don't know who the hell has made it or where the hell they bought it from.  I must say I did really really dumb things in my youth and I was lucky that I did not have any bad consequences.  One day I will write a blog of the ten dumbest things I ever did!


Niki jaan any relations between Voltaire and Valkyrie?!

by Anonymouse on

That makes sense now and in Iran we have definately experienced it.  All of the political interests and good wills were killed so that they would never be able to live again and it worked for about 30 years!

We're now back in it and there may be a successful Iranian Valkyrie somewhere out there.

I too smoked for more than 2 decades until I quit about 14 years ago.  I used patches for 2 weeks.  I think the most imoprtant thing about quitting is wanting to quit.  If you really want to you'll do it.

If you quit and start again you're risking more.  Poor Peter Jennings who quit smoking and picked it up again was diagnosed and died in less than one year.  I think he's 2nd run of smoking lasted on and off for 1 or 2 years?

I don't have any more urges to smoke, although if it was not dangerous I'd be smoking like a chimney!  I love smoking!  My biggest problem now is if I go to Jamaica and see the man selling various burlap saks of Marijavanha on the street corner, do I buy a fist full of the best kind?!  How can I go to Jamaica and not smoke a doozie man?!  I haven't smoke a doozie in about 14+ years either, been offered in these Iranian parties but no.

I think I'll ask the man if he has the edible kind, like a brownie or something! 

Everything is sacred.

Niki Tehranchi

Dear MM 100% in agreement with the psychological readiness

by Niki Tehranchi on

without it, you can't kick it.

By the way, everyone, here is a link to a very funny movie about this issue, called "Thank you for Smoking" starting one of my fave actors Aaron Eckhart.  Catch it one of these days when you have some free time:


Niki Tehranchi

Dear Rendd

by Niki Tehranchi on

do you mean you started it up again after 7 years?  Wow that is still a pretty amazing feat to stay away for 7 years. So you had a slip up, it's not the end of the world.  The thing is, this is totally within your control, if you want to stop again.  But you have to want it.  I never really wanted it until I became pregnant.  For me, it was like a wake up call.  Stop being so selfish, you have someone else to think about, who needs you, and needs you strong and healthy.  That was enough for me.  I don't think I will ever start up again. 


d coolness of smoking died when d Marlborough-man died of cancer

by MM on

To quit smoking is the easiest thing in the world, someone told me, "I have done it 5 times last year".  But, seriously, fifteen years ago, I finally quit smoking cigaretts after more than 23 years of smoking.  There were two reasons why I was able to stop smoking, my doctor told me:

1. Psychological readiness: This could be a strong will, a need to free your kids from smoking (mine), a physical ailment or your doctor's ultimatum.

2. Satisfy the physiological needs via a nicotine patch.

Knowing the ill effects of smoking, I saw an amazing statistics.  It basically stated that if both your parents smoke, there is 95% chance that you smoke too.  This percentage drops to 55% if only one parent smokes, and we did not want that bad habit inherited by the next generation.

But, I tell you.  I sure like to light up a good cigar once in a while in the back porch, especially nowadays since the kids are out of the house, so, I know how Obama is traumatized now.


i started ...

by Rendd on

Smoking after 7 years. :+(
Girl, be always watchful.
In the mean time pad yourself on your back for having a strong will power.
Good luck!

Niki Tehranchi

Dear Yabo thank you for taking the time to share

by Niki Tehranchi on

Your pointers will no doubt be helpful to many.  Thanks for caring!


ms tehrani, a few pointers

by yahoo_yabo on

it is an addiction because the second you pick up a cig. you follow same habit as before.  so if 4 yrs ago, you smoked half a pack, the second you pick it up its back to same

my advise for people trying to quit:

try exercising in gym.  get personal trainer for 20 sessions in your first month then 4 session a month.  when you execise you will notice how limited your lung capacity is after all that smoking, and the loss of breath during exercise will push you to quit.

do 4 sessions over 4 weeks with an acupuncturist, he will stick some needles in your ear i think and supposedly it helps.

For most of my ailments, I now do acupuncture first.  it is unbelievably effective.

for folks that can't walk straight or sit straight because their backs are used to being "bent", i strongly suggest you see a chiropractic with over 20 years experience.  it should cost about $50 for one session- in two minutes he will straighten the back.

if all else fails, try taking up sunflower seeds to help break the hand -oral habit so common in smoking.  then maybe try some over the counter things like nicorrette and other nicotine gums.

if planning to quit cold turkey, give yourself one week of stress free work.  this would help you overcome and deal with the immediate depression caused from the withdrawl symptoms.

also try to pay for a real detailed house cleaning, this will encourage you to keep your house clean and stay away from smoking.

other tricks: if paying a pack to smoke that one cig. that you really need. Pour water on the rest.  Do that until you feel you are losing "economically."

it's a really nasty addiction but needs mind control and some support to overcome.  Do expect to gain some weight from gaining back your appetite.

while going through period of withdrawl, try to keep yourself busy with little things, like ironing your shirts, paying your bills, changing your car angine oil  that why you fool yourself into bieng occupied.

for those who smoke to help them sleep, start taking some anti-histamines to correct your sleep pattern.

i wish everyone best of luck and support.  nasty habit. 

Like I said, cig. are addictive. Once you quit expect to get addicted to something else.  So I recommend that you buy large quantities of orange juice and fat free milk.  Milk is delicious and so everytime you get that craving, pull out the milk and drink as mcuh as you can.  This makes you a bit lazy to go and purchase cigarrettes from the conveniece store.

Some people do have addiction genes, no matter how hard they try.  You only need to replace nicotine addition with something else, because no matter how willful you are, that addiction gene will make you crave something.  If you give up smoking, you might get addicted to chocalate or tea or something else.


Niki Tehranchi

Dear Mouse Il faut cultiver son jardin

by Niki Tehranchi on

means you have to tend to your garden. It is a saying from Voltaire, spoken through the voice of a wise man at the end of his novel Candide, the story of a young man who through his life tries to better the world, go for this and that faction, fight in this and that war etc based on the philosophy that everything is great in the best of worlds.  The novel shows the futility of it all and how at the end of it, if you really want to better the world (and your life), you better tend to your own garden.


Niki jaan we dont espeak Ferench! What was that about politics?!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.


Mrs Tehranchi

by capt_ayhab on

As an ex smoker, I bow to you......


Mine being 15 years

Niki Tehranchi

Dear Captn

by Niki Tehranchi on

As I wrote in the blog, I have been smoke free for four years after having the habit for half a lifetime.  I say habit and not addiction because I don't know if it truly is an addiction when you can quit it without the aid of any therapy, or medication, just by making up your mind about it.  Hubby has been an on and off smoker for several years.  He managed to quit altogether at the same time as me, bout three-four years ago.  Last year, for a variety of reasons, he took it up again but since the New Year, he has been relatively smoke-free.  Instead of the dreaded "lipstick on the collar", I am hoping never again to have to smell smoke on his collar when he comes home!