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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Most people who smoke are not evil

There is this stigma in America now that if you smoke you're for some reason a bad person. You are setting a bad example for kids. That you ought to quit smoking just for the principle of it. However I don't' agree with this at all.

It is true that I have written much about the dangers of smoking, and have recommended to many people they should quit. Yet I have never once written that a person who smokes is a bad person. I say this because I know many great people who do smoke or have smoked.

I bring this up because President Obama smokes, and some see this as something evil. How could he be President of the Greatest Nation in the history of the world and still smoke. If voters would have known about this, he never would have been elected.

The folly in that statement is it's simply folly.

The new Speaker of the House John Boehner admitted to smoking, and Matt Lauer of the Today show said the following to him, "Most people try to quit up to 20 times. How many times have you tried to quit?"

The Speaker said, "Not even close to that many. I know it's a bad habit, yet I haven't tried to quit much."

Some people frown on the Speaker for this "evil" habit. A friend of mine today said that Boehner is setting a bad example. He's being unfaithful to his seat. It shows how weak he is.

I think this is folly. That someone smokes does not determine how great or un-great that person is. Smoking is a choice, and if someone chooses to smoke that does not make that person a bad person.

On the other hand, if a person chooses to smoke and tosses their butts out the window, or if they choose to smoke in front of kids, or if they choose to smoke in public places, then that I consider a problem because then they are violating the right of others to clean air.

Yet simple smoking does not make a person a bad person. Our educators have properly educated kids to believe that smoking itself is bad, yet they have perhaps made a misrepresentation that the smoker too is bad.

It's in this way an attempt to perfect society. It's an attempt to make smoking a non-politically correct option. If you smoke you are now deemed as un-cool. It's another societal misrepresentation of the truth.

While most teachers may think smokers are uncool, most of us in society know that most people who smoke are as cool as you or me. It's another example of a minority making the rest of us think their view is the majority.

It is true that those who smoke are burdens on the rest of society. We are flipping their health care bill. Yet we must also note here that I have taken care of just as many patients who never smoked a day in their lives, and never drank, and they still get sick and die too.

I don't condone smoking. I will make every effort to educate people to quit. Yet I would never do anything to force someone to quit, and I think the government shouldn't' either. It's simply a choice, and most people who make that choice are no different than you and me.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely. I have known many people who associate smoking with being someone not worth respecting. This thought process seems bogus and petty. For example, we ALL know that driving is dangerous, but most of us do it. Sometimes our jobs cause us massive stress, but we keep working them. Does this make us bad role models? We're doing things that can be hazardous to our health and possibly that of others. So, are we not worth respecting? Absolutely not.
There are much bigger problems in the world than worrying that a public official is not a good role model because he smokes!
What we should do is focus on something more worth our time. Lets teach our kids and each other about choices, the consequences of making choices (whether good or bad) and the wisdom gained through experience.

Second Hand Sufferer said...

It's a given that smoking doesn't make one an evil person. But, I absolutely believe it makes them a very foolish person.

Every person who is addicted to nicotine knew beforehand that smoking is addictive and harmful, but yet they still chose to take up the habit.

Rick Frea said...

I make a living working with people who smoke, and find most of them started when it was "cool" to smoke and when smoking wisdom was not well known.

Rick Frea said...

On a similar note, with all the wisdom about the dangers of smoking out today, those who START smoking today ARE foolish.