Smoking. Cigarettes. Now, I remember "Camel Green" - Camel cigarettes changed their red packaging to green during WWII because some element in the red dyes could be used in the war effort. I remember ads in magazines stating that the cigarette companies were sending cartons to the servicemen in hospitals. I remember the Marlboro Man...and I know that the model apparently died a grim lingering death from lung cancer. I know what it says on the cigarette packages. I've read all the Warnings and read all the stuff about a smoke-free environment.
And I have a problem with it. I diligently taught myself to smoke when I was 19, as a character I played on stage smoked. My father didn't complain (but did say he wouldn't buy cigarettes for me). We sat together in the Smoking Logue at the movies and saw the British "Carry On" films. I think I smoked Parliaments then, because he did (I did TOO buy my own, though).
I was out of high school by then, but I smoked in college. When I had my first child, they took me out of the delivery room where my husband joined me; then they put an ashtray on my stomach and he and I had cigarettes. I never smoked as much as a pack a day. I had an ashtray on my desk at work, in the old days (most of the time they burned out by themselves).
Well, Mr Dearling doesn't smoke, never has. It bothered him, so when he moved in, I quit. I might have a cigarette out with friends after a meal, but I largely quit. I also learned that I'm apparently lucky: if I don't have cigarettes, nothing in particular happens. I enjoyed them rather a lot, but didn't have a problem when I didn't. I guess there are people who drink that way - they enjoy a glass of wine or a drink (or two) now and then, but they don't drink otherwise. I feel pretty bad for people who couldn't take a four-hour flight when they banned smoking on airplanes because they couldn't go that long without.
OK, you have surely noticed, in this day and age smoking is
Now...smoking is unhealthy. It's ill-advised to start smoking if you never have. Kids know that. There's no shortage of publicity to that effect, and of course each pack of cigarettes carries Dire Warnings in clear language right on the pack.
As mentioned above, I "largely quit" years ago. However, in times of extreme stress (a son taken to the hospital), or in occasional social situations, or in moments of meditation, I have a cigarette. A pack of cigarettes lasts me. Months. Weeks go by, without my ever lighting up a
But the current attitude, according to law, advertisements, signs and television messages, is that smoking is illegal; smokers are nefarious people out to kill everyone in town with their malicious, evil and intentional second-hand smoke. And all of that makes me (passive-aggressive that I do not deny being) want a smoke more than anything else does.
Now, the flip side, of course, is that we smokers owe it to our families, friends, fellow citizens and the People of the World to be courteous. Fellow smokers, do NOT light up in any area where it might be offensive or troublesome to another person. But conscious, aware, knowledgeable people who are over 21 (or over 31 or 51 or...say...almost 65 years old) should not be made to feel that they're committing sins, and (this is my final line) if they add one dollar for tax to the price of each pack of still legal cigarettes, as they have here in Wisconsin, then I say add a whomping tax onto the price of hard liquor too, maybe $15 tax on each bottle. I haven't ever read of a smoker veering into another lane and destroying a van filled with a family including children.
There will be no rant against drinking, although I find drunken behavior very objectionable. Social drinking, drinking in moderation, do not trouble me at all. (Confession: I am of the opinion that, upon birth, each Human Being is allotted a finite quantity of booze to consume in his or her lifetime - the truth is, I probably drank my whole allotment up during my college career. Yeah, I know. Shut up. Nevermind.) We basically don't drink now, but have no problem being with people or in situations, where drinking is happening. But I think mindless drunks cause a lot more serious problems than someone hangin' around having a cig, so booze should be taxed to the point where you have to be really really rich to enjoy a drink with your cigarette.
Thus ends my Major Rant for 2008.
Editor's note: the passage of a new tax on cigarettes (which I find outrageous, unfair and otherwise totally crapacious) is solely responsible for this rant.