Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Smoke and Mirrors

"More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette." -- 1949 cigarette commercial

Doctors used to smoke in their offices.  The stereotypical bar always had a haze of smoke.  But what's more disgusting is that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

The week of January 20th to 26th is the Quebec Tobacco-Free Week 2013.  It reminds us of all the progress that has been made in the last 50 years regarding cigarettes: no TV advertising of cigarettes, no smoking in public establishments, no selling of tobacco products to minors, huge warning labels on packages, etc.

But how much has all that really done?  For every anti-smoking campaign, there are tobacco industry lobby groups and smoking special-interest groups who say there is no problem.  Smoking isn't addictive.  Smoking doesn't cause cancer.  There's no real proof.  People are going to smoke despite the gruesome pictures.  Denial after denial.  And people still smoke despite the risks.

If I could, I would challenge every one of those tobacco executives and pro-smoking people to look me straight in the eye and try to say that.  I watched my own mother, my father-in-law, the mother of a dear friend, and others waste away and die from smoking-related cancers.  I have a friend who becomes violently ill when she happens to breathe any cigarette smoke in her vicinity.  I can't step into a home where someone has been smoking without having uncontrollable coughing fits.

I fear for the children of people who smoke.  The parents of one of my daughter's classmates smoke in their home, BOTH of them.  I take every opportunity I can to invite the little girl over to my place just to get her out of that environment for a while.  Her clothes always stink.  The one time I went over to their home, I lasted only two minutes before the coughing started and I had to leave.  I wished I could call them out on it, but what could I say? They are probably well aware of what they are doing to themselves, and to the health of their children, and they don't care.

If there were such a thing as magic I know exactly what I would do with it: make every single God-damned cigar and cigarette on this planet disappear and render it impossible for more to be manufactured.

1 comment:

  1. I'd say, the anti-smoking forces have won this war. Smoking is just not cool anymore. We don't need more unenforceable bans.