I’m sure we all know about the adverse health effects of smoking. And I’m sure we all know that the worst health effect smoking causes is lung cancer.
But have you ever seen this statistical graph from the National Institutes of Health ?
The graph clearly shows that the incidence of lung cancer in men (the primary group of smokers) follows the trend of smoking very closely, only separated by a 20-year period in which the continuous daily smoking took it toll on their health.
The more ciggys you smoke a year, the higher the chance that you will get – and die in painful suffering from – lung cancer. Only, you won’t realize it until 20 years down the smokey road of life.
As the number of hardcore smokers rose to 4000 ciggys a man a year (about 11 a man every day), lung cancer correspondingly raised the toll to over 175 dead men per 100,000 people (or 1 dead guy per 571 people).
And as cigarette smoking dropped, 20 years later the number of lung cancer deaths dropped. Scary and enlightening! Cigarette smoking is clearly, ahem, the smoking gun.
Now if this 20-year incubation time didn’t exist – if smokers got their lung cancer a mere WEEK after smoking – then I’m sure there’d be far fewer willing smokers. In fact, with such a horrendous effect, smokes would be totally banned as a hazardous (and addictive) substance!
However, in our current socio-economic situation, the sale and consumption of cigarettes cannot be simply banned outright. The demand for their half-hourly nicotine fix would lead smokers to turn to cigarettes smuggled in and sold on the black market.
This contraband trade would then greatly increase the prosperity, influence and power of organized crime cartels, as happened during America’s Prohibition period. The cash flow would change course from the Government (which taxes sales of tobacco and rakes in huge profits) to the underworld.
So a blanket ban simply wouldn’t work, what more with smoking seemingly much more addictive than drinking alcohol.
The solution? On a personal level, don’t start – or quit right now if you already have! Do it now! Don’t wait till 20 years later, when you’re dying in horrendous pain and draining the money of your family to pay for your chemotherapy! Now, dammit!
On a wider level, the current gradual steps towards a smoke-free environment are quite good. No smoking zones everywhere, upping the taxes on ciggys, making packs bigger and more expensive so that teenagers can’t afford them, education campaigns…
The idea is that by making smokers feel like the outcast, walking corpses that they are, nonsmokers will be discouraged from picking up the habit. At the very least, nonsmokers won’t suffer from second hand smoke through no fault of our own.
Though many more people will slowly die from smoking in the process, a gradual reduction of the smoking trend seems to be the only practical way.
Unless, of course, NO tobacco products are EVER sold again, worldwide. Such as a mutant plant plague that wipes out all tobacco plants spreading all across the Earth instantaneously.
Now that would be the ultimate, enforced quitting cold turkey. And after a few weks of withdrawal agony, many lives and billions of monetary-units would be saved.
PS. On a related note: How do you define religious legalism?
Legalism is when the spirit of the law (i.e. the reason the law is made in the first place) takes a backseat to the letter of the law (what not to do etc.).
For example: Religious legalism is demonstrated when practitioners of religions that forbid the consumption of alcohol think it’s completely all right to smoke.
After all, the letter of the religious law says ‘no alcohol allowed’. It doesn’t say ‘no smoking allowed’. Therefore, they argue that hey! Smoking is allowed!
But go deeper into the spirit of the law. What’s so wrong with alcohol that it has to be prohibited by religion?
It is because alcohol is addictive and has strongly negative effects (drunkenness, and from modern discoveries liver cancer too). That’s the reason why it’s forbidden. That’s the spirit of the law.
It’s not so much the alcohol itself that is bad, rather it is the effects of alcohol consumption – and more precisely, excessive alcohol consumption.
To abhor the use of alcohol as a disinfectant, solvent or propellant just because it is alcohol is therefore to completely ignore the context. Heck, the stuff isn’t even drinkable in those cases – industrial alcohol is toxic! So how does using alcohol-based perfume equate to drunkenness?
If the negative effects of alcohol are what caused the alcohol to be forbidden, then smoking should likewise be forbidden – as it too is highly addictive and has very negative effects.
But lo and behold, it’s a-okay to smoke! Why? Simply because smoking isn’t mentioned specifically, by name, in the religious texts.
So alcohol is not allowed among religious adherents, while much more addictive and prelavent smoking is allowed.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a smokey example of religious legalism.