Learning To Smoke

Pretty awesome article here about a guy learning to smoke at the age of 46. I find it refreshing for a few reasons.

For one, it’s kind of neat to see someone go through the same thing you and everyone else did, but 25-30 years later in life. No 16 year old could ever be so eloquent about their experience and motivations, and even if they could, they’d be far different. So much has been written about why people start smoking (peer pressure, rebellion, etc.) but I’ve never seen anyone discuss the many non-biological reasons why they keep smoking.

Also you never hear anything about the positive effects. Clearly there must be something good there. Roughly one third of adult males smoke worldwide even knowing the health problems cigarettes cause. If that many people are willing to engage in a behavior that they know is likely to kill them eventually, there must be something redeeming about it. People are surprisingly irrational, so it doesn’t have to be a net positive, but they’re not so far from irrational that there can’t be any.

But the anti-tobacco nuts have made any honest discourse about smoking taboo, much like drugs. Impressive from a marketing standpoint, I suppose, but harmful to society. People don’t respond to fear tactics, especially teenagers, but an honest assessment of both sides of the coin is the only way to make an informed choice.

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4 Responses to “Learning To Smoke”

  1. Matt: Given this post and your moderately libertarian outlook, you might enjoy a quick thumbing through of the book For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health, by Jacob Sullum. It's a fairly good read, with lots to agree and disagree with.


  2. omg I read that whole thing. wtf, it just ends with the feeling as though he may slip and fall?! PFHGH!
    Interesting though.

  3. Looks interesting. I'll check it out.

  4. it has been weeks since i have read anything this long (online)… very interesting article… forwarded it for other people too :P

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