Smokin’ Not

Not long ago I distinguished between being dumb and being stupid. Now that we’ve spent some time in Europe, that bastion of culture and birthplace of Enlightenment, I’m afraid to say there are a lot of stupid people here. Here’s another controversial pronouncement: I’m kind of proud of the US (and esp. NZ). At least from my limited window on the world, it seems like more people smoke cigarettes in Europe than in the US. Perhaps its California, because statistically I might be wrong (France v. US): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_cigarette_consumption_per_capita but: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2012/10/19/who-smokes-most-a-surprising-map-of-smoking-rates-by-country/ or not: http://www.realclearscience.com/journal_club/2012/11/10/who_smokes_more_americans_or_europeans_106403.html and then: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-03-13/europeans-are-world-s-biggest-smokers-and-drinkers-who

In any case, wherever we go it seems like more people than not are smoking. In the US, packs of cigarettes have a warning label that says something about the Surgeon General dissuading folks from using tobacco, in smallish print on the side of the box. In the EU, packs of cigarettes have a warning label that say “Smoking Kills,” in big letters on the front of the box (in France, “Fumer Tue”). Yet it seems, in spite of the warnings and the science behind them, a helluvalot of people here in Europe smoke cigarettes.

Of course, it is notoriously hard to quit smoking. I’ve had some friends and colleagues who are wonderful people, but are hooked. Years ago, we had Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (the tobacco industry “Insider” who exposed the lies about nicotine addiction on 60 minutes) speak to students in the Naturalist Academy at North Hollywood High. I’m pretty sure those kids got the message, and I know schools have been good at advertising the virtues of not smoking.

I suspect the main culprit is culture, the main cause is doing what other people do. When you are surrounded by smokers, you smoke – maybe. It is baffling however that intelligent people who know better and have scientific proof of the error of their ways keep doing something so stupid.

And it doesn’t just kill you, it’s expensive. I’m pretty sure a pack is over $5, so only one a day is $35 a week, $150 a month, or over $1800 a year. Invested, that’s money one could retire on. Smoked, I guess you won’t have to afford retirement, you’ll be dead.

2 thoughts on “Smokin’ Not

  1. Good points on smoking. Though UK is pretty bad – at least it was years ago. I remember a trip on Ireland’s small Airline, where EVERYONE was smoking and the air was thick and putrid! A culture thing, yes, just had e-mail from England, commenting on the Oregon gun rampage – “Can’t believe you can buy and use a gun so easily over there!” Oh dear, what a lot to learn!

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