Poll: Tobacco & nicotine, and canoe stories about use

Currently, how do you mostly use tobacco or nicotine?

  • Not at all

    Votes: 35 71.4%
  • Smoke cigarettes

    Votes: 4 8.2%
  • Smoke pipe

    Votes: 4 8.2%
  • Smoke cigars

    Votes: 3 6.1%
  • Smoke cigarillos, bidis or kreteks

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Chew or cheek dip tobacco

    Votes: 2 4.1%
  • 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 2.0%

  • Total voters
    49
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I got introduced to chewing tobacco at summer camp as a kid. So many good habits/lessons were passed down to me from camp, but unfortunately chewing was one of the bad ones. I quit years ago, but will still bring some along when I'm solo or with my brother.

One tobacco story. I canoed the Albany river in 1991 as a camper at a Y camp in MN. A day or so into the trip, one of the other kids announces that he's using this trip as an opportunity to quit smoking. Thanks a lot....Our counselor on that trip was fueled by chemicals. He had 36 tins of chew and pounds and pounds of coffee. The quitting smoking kid was not interested in the chew, but he spent the first week openly discussing how much he'd kill for a cigarette.

One cold night we were camped on a big lake standing around a fire to keep warm after dinner. A motorboat rounds the point and lands at our site. It was a local guy who had a little cabin on the lake... "I smelled smoke, so I thought I'd stop to warm my hands." As he talked he took out a pack of cigarettes. Our eyes turn to the smoker in our midst, who asked the man for a cigarette. 'No smokes, eh?' the man said. He took a few cigarettes from the pack, put them in his shirt pocket and gave the kid the rest of the pack. The kid was dumbstruck.

The kid tried to ration out his small stash of smokes, but a few days later he dumped and pinned a canoe. Amid the stress of the incident, he stood wet and shivering on shore and chain-smoked the remainder of his pack.
 
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Tom's story reminds me of standing on the bridge at Ponca . The floods were receding and we were thinking of go or no go as there was not yet more than an inch of airspace under the bridge. While we pondered a young couple of gals jumped in their rental canoe and launched into the strong current. Its always hard to do precise movements when you have just gotten in and aren't yet settled.. Sure enough they ran smack into the island of willows about 100 feet downstream and 50 feet from either shore. The bow gal got out and started crying though she was unhurt. The stern of the canoe still in the water started taking on water. The stern gal stood. water to her knees and lit up a ciggy.

We had throw bags and the bow girl was a job. While she had the line in her hands she took a lot of coaxing... The stern gal wanted to wait till her ciggy was done and she was easy to pull over. Maybe smokes are good
 
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I had a flashback to a teenage trip with friends, where companions dumped their rented Grumman. The bow paddler’s immediate, overriding concern was the state of her damp pack-in-pocket cigarettes.

All safely ashore she insisted that we wait for an hour, while she carefully dried her now paper-darkened smokes, carefully laid atop the sunny hot aluminum gunwales.

Out of smokes friend Ben, on a Penobscot trip, contemplated paying $20 for an unopened pack Camel non-filters (his very brand), back when a pack was less than a buck. He would have bit at $10, but passed. And wished he hadn’t; all I had as a single corncob and cheap pipe tobacco; after carving him is own bowl and reed stem he survived the trip, but was less than satisfied.

BTW, a caution about cheap corn cob pipes; while they smoke decently once broken in, and are no-regrets losable, if used in high winds the bowl becomes an “Ow, shit, $%#^, why is my hand on fire?” bellows furnace.

I will bring enough smokes to provide for minor bummage, but there are dissuading techniques for the overly needygreedy. Do you know what they smoke? Marlboro Lights? Hand them a Kool Menthol. Filterless less if you can still find them.

Anything filterless usually does the trick. Stubbie Camel or Lucky Strike. Or, for a dizzying taste of “Fine Tobacco”, a Sherman’s Turkish Oval.

https://www.cigarettepurchase.com/s...wn-cigarettes-wide-flat-hard-box-p-11353.html

Most folks will not smoke more than one of those. Or half of one; Shermans will go out if not continually puffed, a keeping-lit technique I do not endorse lest being dizzy is the objective.

I have had a lot of smoker companions over the years, and all of them eventually took pains to keep their stash, in whatever form, both protected dry and at the ready. There have been a few infamous Pelican Boxes, some beware-the-contents, stuffed not just with tobacco.

I wouldn’t trade muckling up for a break with those smoker companion characters for a world of hut-hut-hut must make miles. Stop and smell the roses, or the tobacco, or the . . . . . .
 
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Never smoked cigs despite 7 yrs in the navy where cigs would be ultra-cheap once the ship was at sea. In the early 70’s started with cigars occasionally. Eventually just smoked on trips in the evening with whisky or bourbon. Since my asthma flared up again 15-20 yrs ago I don’t smoke at all. A good trip buddy smokes cigs and that was very fortuitous for us on a 3 week NW Ontario trip in 2017 when we ran low on booze and we encountered a group of young Canadians who had plenty of booze but were out of smokes. A little bartering and both us and the Canadians were happy.
 
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Just thought of a Canadian friend who is a long haul trucker. On every trip he would bring a gallon zip-loc bag with 200 cigs in it. Since he made deliveries to First Nation Reserves he learned that the residents were permitted to manufacture their own cigs for use on the reserve tax free. Once he got to know some of the reserve residents they would sell him their cigs by the bag for something like $18.00. It was funny how others on our trip who were ex-smokers all bummed cigs from him.
 
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The one thing that put me over the top of exactly when I decided to leave active duty military was being forced into the daily briefing room at the time when I was surrounded by smokers. An ash tray on the back of every chair. I just couldn't stand it anymore. Thankfully that practice has ended, but unfortunately too late for me.
 
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Never smoked cigs despite 7 yrs in the navy where cigs would be ultra-cheap once the ship was at sea. In the early 70’s started with cigars occasionally. Eventually just smoked on trips in the evening with whisky or bourbon. Since my asthma flared up again 15-20 yrs ago I don’t smoke at all. A good trip buddy smokes cigs and that was very fortuitous for us on a 3 week NW Ontario trip in 2017 when we ran low on booze and we encountered a group of young Canadians who had plenty of booze but were out of smokes. A little bartering and both us and the Canadians were happy.
I may have to start carrying a pack of smokes and a spare lighter just as a form of bartering currency! 😊
 
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Smokers out of tobacco options are a desperate bunch. To take the smoker’s Out of Tobacco’s DesperPledge, raise your forlornly unencumbered right hand and repeat after me:

“I (your name) shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship and support any effort in order to assure the success of getting me some freaking cigarettes. We shall put a butt between my lips today, not because it will be easy in this godforsaken wilderness without a convenience store, but because that challenge is one we intend to win, otherwise I shall become very hard to live with”.

Little wonder Voyageurs and early boatmen carried so much tobacco. I’ve tried to tell the Missus mine is for trading purposes; she ain’t buying it.
 
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I haven’t smoked in forty years but if I took it up again it would be with a pipe.
Between high school and college I took what is a called a gap year. Mine turned out to be three years, nine months and twenty eight days. I joined the military, bone spurs were not going to keep me from it. About two weeks into basic training the TI let us have a smoke break. The guy next to me handed me a unfiltered cigarette, seemed like everyone in the Air Force smoked back in those days. By the time I had finished Tech School to be a Air Traffic Controller, I was addicted to nicotine. The next two years I spent OJT (on the job training) turns out a guy with ADD could channel some of that energy into keeping track of a bunch of radar blips. Off to Sunny Southeast Asia the stakes got higher. Those little radar blips needed me to tell them where there airborne fuel station was, then join them up. This along with keeping them from bumping into each other was my full time job 24/7 pretty much for a whole year. With nothing to do but stare at a radar scope and talk to the little blips I started to smoke more and more, became a four plus pack a day person, but strangely I started to hate it. After a twelve hour shift I also drank enough to dull the stress of a stressful job, so that that I could fall asleep.
When I returned to civilian life the first thing I did was quit smoking, cold turkey.
Fast forward five years, my first summer with Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game was on the Unalakleet River tagging salmon. I, as the crew chief recorded the data and tagged the salmon, as my co-worker Glen netted the salmon from the holding pen, held it steady on the tagging cradle while I plucked a scale, inserted the tag etc. Glen was a smoker, periodically during the day I would pull out his smokes, stick one in his mouth and light it for him. His hands were wet and covered with fish slime. One day the wind was too strong for me to light his cigarette, I put in my mouth struck a match inside the shelter of my Helle Hanson rain coat and fired it up. By that afternoon, I from those few puffs off his cigarettes I was smoking again. Quitting again was harder than the first time but I did it. Being addicted to smoking is like being a alcoholic, can’t have just one.
 
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One last smoking story. On a Wabakimi Project trip with Uncle Phil which was the first trip of the season maybe 10 years ago, he told us the night before we left Thunder Bay on this 2 week trip that he was going to quit smoking when he smoked his last 2 packs. Now 40 cigs might last Phil maybe 3 days. I am not sure of his consumption but he always seemed to get a fresh carton of smokes with the weekly resupply flight every Saturday. We got scared when he told us he was quitting probably just a few days into a 2 wk trip into the bush. An Uncle Phil without regular smokes would be unpredictably scary. Not wanting to find out how scary we went out to a pharmacy and bought a lot of Nicorette gum. As it turned out Phil ran out of smokes just as we got snow bound in the tents for 2 days so he went through nicotine withdrawal in the relative comfort in his sleeping bag in a wet, snow laden Timberline. I was not Phil’s tent mate but I don’t recall that he ever left his tent during those 2 days. After going through withdrawal and with regular Nicolette use he did fine without smoking until later that summer when the Canadian truck driver showed up for his annual Project trip with a ziplock bag of 200 Reserve cigarettes.
 
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I smoked cigarettes a bit in my 20s. Was craving it at certain times, so I quit. Glad I did. When I was guiding in Wyoming the other guides used to say I breathed for two. Now I'm subconscious about my breathing. Seems I do breathe more than my share.
 
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I will out myself given this is all so long ago now.
My 20's were partially misspent. By and large my path was straight and narrow but too many times it wandered into smoking and drinking to excess. This carried over to the first few canoe trips. I wish I could blame the company I kept but I can't. They were great friends and I was as bad as any one of them. I don't remember taking any booze myself because quite frankly there never could've been enough so I just left it behind. Besides, there was the puff. Ciggys and cigars were an enjoyable break from whatever whenever but my own smallish stash was always at hand. I had a tiny hash pipe and foil wrap of that delicious chocco oily crumb that all fit nicely in a shirt pocket, always at the ready for campfire time. Back when pot was homegrown and 20 bucks a baggie life was good. I bought myself a small single cigarette rolling machine so my joints could be perfectly rolled, provided there were no twigs and seeds. Papers, pot and roller all fit in the plastic baggie nice and safe and dry in a pants pocket. I maintained a "tripping lifestyle" apart from my family life, or so I thought. It seemed the right thing to do.
Eventually I figured out that there is no separating one life from another, that there will be an overlap of behavior both good and bad and the path will take whichever course we point ourselves to. For various reasons and for better or worse I cut out the "cutting loose" and straightened my path a little more. It felt like the right thing to do.
Many years later, after I'd given up the pipe, the weed, and that "tripping lifestyle" I was comfortably ensconced in family tripping. The only smoke I inhaled was from campfires and smudge, the only imbibing from conservative late night tipples with my wife under the stars. But one afternoon a grandchild came to me at home with treasures they'd found in grandpa's dresser drawers; a small toy pipe and a curious little rolling gadget. What are they and can we play with them. I confessed to having smoked from the pipe and rolled cigarettes with the machine, but Grandpa doesn't do that anymore. And no we cannot play with them.
After the gkids had left I picked up the 2 items that had spent years forgotten in the back of my sock drawer and dropped them in the trash. I didn't even hesitate. It was the right thing to do.
Kicking the pipe and weed was actually very easy to do, and truth be told I did it for several reasons. I still love a drink but only seldom and only little. Mostly. But the tipple of wine/scotch/Bailey's has stayed home the last two canoe trips. Or at least it wasn't in my pack and I didn't imbibe. (ha) And I didn't miss it. Strangely enough although I rarely smoked tobacco it has been the most difficult to ignore (aside from dark beers.) She won't allow smokes into the house and the last time I enjoyed a cigar in the garden I felt the sting of her stare from fifty paces. Kinda took the vibe off the fine cigar so I avoid baccy too now. She knows it's the right thing to do.
 
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I miss Uncle Phil . He soldiered on despite being afflicted many times with pneumonia. He smoked those brown ciggys I liked. He was gone too soon. Now I have COPD though I only smoked about an eighth of what he did. Wish I had never taken it up
 
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My saddest/funniest story with nicotine took place when I was twenty years old. My buddy Lanners and I had dropped out of college and saved up $1,000 each. We went out to the Southwest in his old Jeep Cherokee on a mission to backpack around and search for the grave of Edward Abbey, who had died a few years previously.

I was an occasional smoker at the time, but an avid chewer. We were backpacking in the Maze district of Canyonlands, way out in the back of beyond, as Abbey would say, and I ran out of chew. For a day or two I was cranky and miserable. Hiking back out in the direction of our car, we passed one of our previous night's camping spots and there in the sand was a dirt-encrusted, withered plug of discarded chaw. I immediately poured water over it to clean/rehydrate, and popped it back into my mouth hoping to eke out one last shred of flavor/nicotine. My friend, who isn't the least bit squeamish, was aghast.
 
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I like a good cigar every now and then- especially when canoeing and fishing- or sitting around after fishing! I did smoke till ‘92, while quitting many times. But my best memory was back in the mid 70’s while backpacking with my two buddies along the AT in Virginia. I had just quit for this trip and the first three days went fairly well- though I was feeling it especially in the evening. Well, we got up around Big Meadows and there was a phone booth (remember those?) and I looked inside and there was a pack of smokes with several cigarettes inside! It was a sign for sure! And not a quarter mile further up the trail, we found a spring head with three cans of beer laying in the cold water! Needless to say, I did feel bad about taking the beer, maybe not enough to put it back, but it sure made our day!
 
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I miss Uncle Phil . He soldiered on despite being afflicted many times with pneumonia. He smoked those brown ciggys I liked. He was gone too soon. Now I have COPD though I only smoked about an eighth of what he did. Wish I had never taken it up
YC, I know what you mean. I miss sitting around the campfire with Phil listening to his stories. After my first trip I didn't fish anymore so I spent many hours at the campsite with Phil while our trip mates were out fishing. Phil had poor health habits - in the am his only nutrition was cigs and two coffees (4 x 4's: coffee with four sugars and four creams) and the only food he had was the evening meal. He told me while he was teaching he gave up lunch to work with students and thus adopted his one meal per day habit. The last few years he participated in WP trips he grew weaker and thinner each year. I will always be grateful to him because he gave me the opportunity to meet and make paddling friends with a number of US and Canadian paddlers I still trip with.
 
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