Poll: Tobacco & nicotine, and canoe stories about use

Currently, how do you mostly use tobacco or nicotine?

  • Not at all

    Votes: 24 66.7%
  • Smoke cigarettes

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • Smoke pipe

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • Smoke cigars

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • Smoke cigarillos, bidis or kreteks

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Chew or cheek dip tobacco

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • Sniff or snuff tobacco

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Smoke electronic cigarettes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Medical use of nicotine

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other (what?)

    Votes: 1 2.8%

  • Total voters
    36

Glenn MacGrady

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The informational aspect if this poll topic is another about site demographics: how we currently use tobacco or nicotine, if at all. The discussion aspect can be stories about tobacco usage while canoeing now; or, more likely since many of us may have given up tobacco, it can be stories from the past.

I haven't used tobacco or nicotine products for 40 years, having given up smoking at age 36 after beginning at age 18. So, I really had quit before any serious canoe tripping. However, I do have one story that went on for years.

My initial 18 years of serious paddle-mania was mostly whitewater canoeing. A long-time whitewater tripping tripping friend and frequent tandem partner, Tom, was a smoker. He used to smoke while running rapids and then throw his butts in the bottom of the canoe. I asked him why he did this instead of just chucking them in the river like everyone else. He said something to the effect that his practice was more conducive to preventing water pollution and ecological harm. Okay, environmentally correct, Tom.

Of course, running hard whitewater in open canoes inevitably results in a canoe filling with water several times a day. This necessitates frequent and quick bailing between rapids with a scoop, or pulling over to the bank to dump the whole boat out. Consequently, Tom's boat was always completely butt free at the end of every trip. When asked about the efficacy of his butt practice, he said, "I try but the river doesn't always comply."

This went on for years until Tom gave up smoking. Not a story of model ecology, but I'm more interested in true experiences with tobacco than politically correct silence.
 
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I quit last November 11 after 40+ years. My back surgeon refused to operate on me if I didn't quit. Something about the spinal column not healing properly or taking forever to heal because of the nicotine. I had never heard of this, but I figured he knew a little more about that stuff than I did so smoke free since then.

We have a thread going on about fears while on canoe trips. Someone mentioned running out of smokes. I have done this...twice. The second time I really thought my math was right...wrong! Running out of smokes on a trip like that turns a person into a very poor wilderness companion.

Oh...and inhaling smoke from the campfire doesn't cut it.
 
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Cigarettes and cigars. I “quit” in my 20s, but I can’t help it occasionally. I usually only smoke when on an outdoor excursion so isn’t an issue as I see it. Something about being on the water or near a campfire where a drink or afternoon coffee isn’t the same without a smoke. I’ll buy maybe two packs and a half dozen cigars a year. I’m grateful I can go months without thinking about it. Damn it- now I want one.

Bob
 
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After an annual trip where one "friend" would "bum" a smoke off me while having plenty of his own packed away I finally got smart and brought roll your own out of a pouch. On the next trip he asked to "bum" a smoke. I tossed him the pouch and said, "Roll your own!" He handed it back to me and the next magical thing ya know is he has a pack of his own damned smokes.

On one evening paddle I did leave my lighter in the car by mistake. Not one person in the group had a lighter or matches and every canoe we saw on the river that evening must have been a non smoker. Not a match or lighter to be found for 10 miles. I might have caused some dental problems that night from all the teeth grinding!
 
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I used snuff for about 40 years starting around 14 years old. Quit a few years back because I just couldn't stand throwing away all that money (1 can a day; 365 gets expensive). Never ran out when I chewed though... I was unfit to be around without it so I always carried extra.
 
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Smoke those cancer sticks, started at about age 12.......at some point in the distant past I said "when smokes reach 50 cents as pack I'm quitting" but I never followed through and have continued that horrible activity ever since.

My smoke story., I was paddling the Riviere du Lievre (a really great Class 2/3 river for 2, 3 or 4 day trips). At our last camp we all sat around the campfire until quite late. There were four of us, one a non-smoker, one an occasional canoe trips only smoker. Eventually only the two hardcore smokers were still up. My buddy had run out of smokes earlier in the evening and I was supplying him, when we got down to the last 4 smokes in my pack he became concerned about my supply but I assured him it was no problem as I had another pack with me and many more in my truck at the takeout which was just a couple of hours away.

Eventually we all retired to our tents (the pack was now down to 2 cigs). In the morning needing a smoke to start the day I started tearing apart all my gear bags in search of that last pack...........Oh the horror! it was not to be found so there we were, two smokes for two addicts with a couple of hours and a really long Class III to go.

We decided to share a morning smoke and save the last one for post-rapid (a rapid that on a previous trip I had dumped at the first drop and swam over a kilometre). We made it through the rapid ok, stopped for the smoke and then continued on to the takeout where smokes were plentiful.

This was the one and only time that I ran out and now always bring enough to ensure I never run out again even when supplying the rest of the group.

Used to trip with a chew guy, disgusting! Fortunately he switched to regular cancer sticks and like me brings a huge supply.

Yes I know all about the dangers, I've had two cancers already but for both the connection to smoking is somewhat tenuous. I'm in a lung screening program now but fortunately the scans show that my lungs are still in very good shape.

FWIW I have two good friends who have had lung cancer (early stage fortunately) and neither of them ever smoked tobacco, one of them never smoked ANYTHING..........

I like to think that my exposure to toxins such as asbestos and pesticides is just as likely to be the cause of my previous cancers as tobacco.
 
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We smoked cigars 40 years ago to control the mosquitos. So did the women.

A friend of mine went on a long canoe trip in what is now the BWCA, in 1938. On a island on a remote portage they found a trappers cache in an old cookie tin. Tobacco, a pipe. beads, some ammo, babiche, needle and thread, crooked knife, match safe. They looked at the contents carefully and put it back. His outfitter was Sig Olsen.
 
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I answered not at all, as in never in my life nor with my associates. None of my friends or people who I canoe or camp with are smokers or "users" of any kind. A rule I have always abided by. I will not tolerate it.
 
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I’ve never smoked and I detest the scent. My only trip to BWCA was with a smoker. I’d be inhaling the sharp, clean fall air….then, yuck!

I kept my mouth shut and was polite, but never again!
 
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This board needs some minor modifications,

There is currently a sub-forum, Let's Get Together.

I propose splitting this into four subs

Let's Get Together (no smoking, drinking or foul language)
Let's Get Together (for smokers)
Let's Get Together (for drinkers)
Let's Get Together (for whatever-no rules)

While I understand that further fracturing of the forums might not be a good idea so how about a rule that in a post on "Let's Get Together" MUST include what is and what is not wanted in a paddling companion.
 
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I'm smoking those cancer sticks that recped mentioned. I'm educated about the risks.

I also use tobacco for another reason on wilderness canoe trips: I was told that you place some tobacco after crossing a height of land at the beginning of a new river system or if you visit a pictograph site or other "special" places. Make an offering to show respect for the land I'm traveling, the people that live(d) there and asking for safe passage became important to me.

P6070426.JPG

Greetings from Switzerland
André
 
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I haven't had a cigarette for 20+ years. I switched to Backwoods cigars, but then switched to a pipe. I find I don't use as much tobacco. I don't smoke unless I'm sitting in a pleasant spot and most of all I don't smoke out in the cold, so basically quit every winter.
I also make offerings of tobacco and rum at the beginning of a trip.
 
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I like a cigar now and then. I used to be a smoker but quit in 79 iirc. I like “Swisher Sweets Perfectos ”, probably considered a joke to real cigar smokers. If I remember, I bring them on my trips and it might take me all day to smoke one. A few puffs after a cup of tea, or maybe just when I’m in the mood I’ll take a few puffs.
I can understand others not wanting to be around a smoker, I don’t care one way or the other.
I don't mind if others smoke pot, but I didn’t like it when someone carried an illegal substance on a shuttle and didn’t give me the option to opt out. A drug ticket would have cost me my job.
 
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I only smoke when I drink. Used to be that the two were fairly frequent, but now it is only about once every week or two. We are headed out overnight ice fishing tonight, so I'm pretty sure I will be smoking, although I am bringing this plastic nicotine substitute cigarette that looks for all intentions like a tampon applicator. It's not a vape pen, you just put these little nicotine cartridges in it and suck hard. If you suck too hard, you can really get nailed with a major nicotine dose, makes your head spin.

I can associate with canoeists who don't drink or smoke or swear, but I find I'm more suited to going on adventures with the ones who do participate in the aforementioned vices, or at least have been there, done that.

Funny story....my very first canoe trip with the high school club was in 1990 I think. Regulations on student smoking were pretty lax, in fact, they could even smoke on the bus ride to the put in. I had brought a pouch of drum tobacco and papers, I can taste it know as I think about it. Anyway, my bowsperson was a recent graduate who the leader had brought back to help out on the trip. He was a good guy, but a bit shady, rumours of pot smoking, etc. We became pretty good friends on the trip. It was two weeks from hell though, one of the worst trips I have ever been on, the leader had a strange sense of when it was appropriate to portage and paddle, both often being done after dark.

Anyway, we had made Percy Lake after coming down the Little Current, and some of us were sitting around the fire. It had been a rough day, I was pooped, and my drum was packed away in multiple layers of garbage bags, so I asked my bowsmate for a smoke. He gave me a home rollie, as he was drum fan as well.

Fast forward seven or eight years, and I meet my former bowsmate in one of the local bars. We were laughing and reminiscing, and he suddenly said "Hey, I've got something to tell you". He said that night on Percy lake when I bummed a smoke off him, he had mistakenly given me a hash oil spliff, which is a home rolled cigarette with hash oil spread on the rolling paper. He said all the kids knew and were completely freaking out, they figured the consequences of getting your teacher stoned would be pretty severe.

Funny thing is, all I can recall is that the fire had some greenish tinges to it, and that I had a good sleep. We both had a good laugh and
I bought him a beer.
 
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No more. In 2014 I had nausea and felt like I was walking into a wall after three steps at a canoe event. I had a heart attack.. Was back the next day post stent with no damage.

The turning point was when the Dr asked if I smoked. I said I did.. He kept asking me if I smoked.. I finally got it. If I kept this up I would die soon. Three questions later and I said No I don't smoke. I got up and threw the pack in the wastebasket.
For a while I would follow people who smoked around at convenience stores. Now I can't stand the smell.

When I smoked on canoe trips it was always while sitting down on a log with a wet surface nearby.
I did mind also when I was in a shuttle car with the others lighting up MJ in Ontario.. A ticket would have cost me my job too. Nowadays here its legal so in camp weed is fine.. ( still not fine in a car)
 
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I have a couple of pipes and tobacco (4noggins' Bald Headed Teacher). I used to smoke cigarettes and originally bought the pipe and tobacco as a crutch. Turned out just leading me back to the smokes again. I bought this last pouch with the romantic notion of having a smoke while trout fishing. I thought better of it, though, mainly because I knew it would be a test of my willpower, but also to avoid the burden of worrying if I brought enough and to avoid becoming (worse of) an insufferable asshole for at least a week after stopping.

I like catching a whiff of someone else's very first puff on a smoke, but that's my limit.
 
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I'm getting the impression just about every smoker took drum on trips... I did too, it was cheap and found at virtually every checkout.
too much of that stuff used to do a number on my stomach, but it sure repelled mosquitos😁
 
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I am a tobacco smoker in various forms, some more frequently than others. Occasionally, most often for bugs, a cheap cigar. By cheap I mean birch-tipped Hav-a-Tampa Jewels, I don’t care for the patooie of sucked in tobacco flakes or lipping the wet stogie end with a real cigar; I can grip a birch tip with my teeth if I need both hands.

A pipe with more regularity, usually Half-and-Half brand pipe tobacco, a mild mix of burley and bright. When I smoked more aromatic pipe tobacco it was also half and half, Captain Black or something strongly odorous from the tobacconist, mixed with something homegrown. The aromatics largely hid the homegrown smell.

BTW, the smell of aromatic pipe tobacco carries a long ways, even miles. We were trapped at a trailhead during a freak snowstorm in the Wind Rivers. A party that didn’t make it out ‘til the second day told me “We knew we were getting close, we could smell your pipe a mile back the trail

And, cigarettes. In part because the selection of pipe tobacco at convenience stores grows more limited every day, I had to settle for Borkum Riff last time. Not ditchweed half-and-halved these days.

The simpler white sticks are favored in a group setting, or if alcohol is involved (or both). I know there will be some bummage around a campfire, from folks running low or, as often, folks who have “quit”. I try to be supplied for that.

I am guaranteed to always have some smokeable tobacco, even on long trips. I abhor ciggie butts on the ground, and bring a small plastic ashtray, which I empty into a Zip-Lock bag. I also bring a pack of rolling papers; if I get desperate I can roll my own from the butts.

Tales of desperate smoker actions are legion, and occasionally a cause of poor judgment. A sea kayaker friend tells the tale of a companion who, despite the impossible miles to go and raging winds on a Baja trip, repeatedly insisted “We have to make La Paz today, I can buy cigarettes there”.

The closest I’ve come was on a backpacking trip. Stopped on day two for a smoke break, got to camp late that afternoon and discovered that my tobacco pouch had been left on the log where we sat. Luckily I had a couple cheap cigars. One of those, lit, briefly savored and put out would last me an entire day, provided I saved the butt ends to crumble into my orphaned pipe.

My wife, then girlfriend, thoughtfully put together an Emergency Pipe Tobacco stash. She labeled it so, stuffed into sealed plastic vials. She even thoughtfully visited a tobacconist to purchase the emergency smoke stash. The tobacconist asked her what I usually smoked and she told him “Old cigar butts”.

That was some seriously strong tobacco, didn’t take much to make me lightheaded. It too was milder when cut with homegrown.

I’m sure there are other desperate smoker tales out there. Let’s hear ‘em.
 
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I am not a smoker. But.
Last year, I tried out a pipe and some VA tobacco while fishing on my sit-on-top, and rather enjoyed it. I don't inhale, just roll it around a bit and enjoy the aroma. And yeah, it does put the mosquitoes a bit at bay. I haven't come close to finishing that first bag.

Edited to add: Oh. And I understand tobacco can be used to make a pretty effective poultice in an emergency.
 
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