Hammering in the coffin nail: The anti-smoking fascists

Published 12 years ago -  - 12y ago 24


It’s been evident for a long time now – people are getting grumpier, there’s a lot of violence in today’s society, and too many Americans, especially the younger set, have turned to drugs, legal and illegal to cope with the everyday tensions of modern life.

When I look back to the dark ages when I was growing up, and for many years after, things were a lot less turbulent. We didn’t have to turn to tranquilizers or other mood soothing drugs when we were under tension, or wrapped up in difficult tasks, we simply took a few minutes to relax – sat back and reached for a cigarette. It almost always did the trick.

What got me thinking about smoking was a film I saw recently starring Tom Sellick who played General Dwight Eisenhower in the weeks before he made the fateful decision to invade Normandy. In almost every scene, Ike, as powerfully portrayed by Sellick, had a cigarette dangling from his lips. I’m certain that this was an accurate depiction – that in those days Ike was … gasp … a chain smoker!

And unspoken was the idea that this man under the most incredible stress – faced with making a decision that involved the lives of tens of thousands of young men, found tobacco as a friendly ally which helped him cope with the mental and emotional demands placed on his shoulders.

When I knew him, he didn’t smoke – among other things he had suffered a heart attack – pretty much a convincing sign that it was time to quit smoking. But when he did smoke it played a role in keeping him on an even keel when that was vitally important for him and for America.

In the Marine Corps in WW II we were told that in the field that even if we were non-smokers, we were to carry at least one pack of cigarettes for the benefit of those who did smoke and might be out of cigarettes at a time when they most needed a drag. Obviously the Corps saw tobacco as a benefit to Marines, especially in combat. Moreover, both C and K rations included small packs of cigarettes.

I didn’t smoke then – I chewed cigars in the mistaken belief that it made me, then a skinny 17 year old kid, look like a tough Marine of the ilk of Medal of Honor winner Joe Foss who always seemed to have a stogie in his mouth.

If you watch any of the old war movies, there is invariably a scene where a dying G.I. or Marine is comforted by his concerned buddies who put a cigarette in his lips, light it, and see a spark of gratitude in his eyes as he departs this world, thankfully sent on his way to eternity relaxed by soothing tobacco.

In recent years I have been appalled by former smokers or their heirs who have helped greedy trial lawyers milk billions from an industry once praised for their contributions to the war effort on the specious grounds that the evil old tobacco companies had withheld from them the shocking news that tobacco smoking was not the healthiest pastime around.

C’mon, where have these dodos been? As far back as the 19th century cigarettes were known as “coffin nails,” not exactly a testimony to tobacco’s safety.

I don’t smoke anymore. For 40 years I smoked seven foul-smelling cheap cigars a day – and I inhaled. Then I switched to cigarettes. Like most people I smoked a pack a day. I finally quit when it occurred to me that tobacco was one reason why I had a tough time waking up every morning. It wasn’t easy to stop, habits are hard to break. There were a bunch of false starts, but like millions of my fellow Americans, I did it.

It’s been years since I kicked the habit and I still miss the opportunity to take a break and have a cigar or cigarette. I miss being able to smoke at the end of a meal. Smoking put a period to eating. Now the sentence goes on and on, and overeating is not exactly healthy either.

The anti-smoking fanatics have convinced the world that tobacco is addictive. The experience of the millions of ex-smokers who quit proved how false that idea is. If it is really an addiction most of those who have quit would not have succeeded, and many of those who had quit would have been backsliders who finally gave in to the urge and went back to smoking. Don’t believe that? Take a look at those addicted to hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Those are <i>real</i> addictions, and the record of cures for those addictions is dismal. Most addicts die as addicts.

Tobacco is a <i>habit</i>, period. You can break a habit with great effort. Breaking addictions requires super-human efforts few find possible.

As Alan Caruba points out, the anti-tobacco fascists have conned the world with their phony claims. He writes: “There are few, if any, people that do not know there is an element of risk involved in the decision to smoke. There is risk involved when any American gets into his car and goes anywhere.

“Driving kills over 40,000 Americans every year. It is the price we pay for the mobility and other benefits cars and vehicles provide. There is, in fact, risk in every human activity including the enjoyment of alcoholic beverages and even the simple act of eating.”

And as I said, smoking has its benefits too. Moreover it is a choice people make, and in these days when choice has become a battle cry the opportunity to choose is limited. You are admirably pro-choice if approve of butchering unborn human beings, but you have no right to choose to use tobacco.

Adds Caruba, one of the sanest observers of the current scene around today: “Do people who enjoy smoking have any rights? Increasingly, the answer is no. It is essential to keep in mind that smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes is an entirely personal choice. No one is required to smoke. Millions voluntarily stop smoking every year. People have been smoking and enjoying tobacco products for a very long time, but now they have been demonized and ostracized.”

To combat the freedom of choice argument for smokers the anti-smoking fascists would have us believe that smoking not only harms the smoker, but everybody within range of the tobacco smoke. This is junk science at its worst. It has been repeatedly shown that the alleged health dangers of so called second-hand smoke are a fiction.

In his eye-opening book “The Health Benefits of Tobacco,” Dr. William Campbell Douglas II writes that “One study, funded by the National Cancer Institute found that nonsmokers have no increased risk of lung cancer as a result of exposure to second hand smoke during childhood, in the workplace of from living with a pack-a-day smoker for as many as 40 years.”

He cites another study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer funded by the World Health Organization that concluded that secondhand smoke poses no significant health risk.

“Despite these authoritative studies, and in spite of Federal Judge William Osteen’s ruling striking down the conclusion of the EPA’s study, the EPA continues to lie to the public that second hand smoke is not merely a nuisance, but a proven health hazard.”

Look, smoking is a health hazard and the hazard increases with the amount of tobacco consumed. The two-pack a day smoker is looking for trouble. That’s excessive. Excess in anything is a bad idea. A glass of wine every day is healthy, a bottle of wine a day is hazardous. So too with tobacco. We just saw an example of that. Johnny Carson was known to be a man who for years smoked to excess. He died of emphysema.

Americans should be free to smoke if they want to. There is certainly more than enough information around that in the long run immoderate smoking can be harmful. But it’s your choice, not that of the loonies at EPA or the neo-fascists in the anti-smoking lobby.

If you want to know more, get Dr. Douglass’s book. He makes a powerful case for moderate smoking. He has a web site www.drtobacco.com where it can be ordered.

Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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