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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Post for Gordon

Gordon offered to answer questions on his podcast but only if the questions were NOT e-mailed to him. One of the acceptable methods was to post something on one's blog. So here it is:

Seeing how it's the Great American SmokeOut as I post this, does your long-standing (and righteous) antipathy against smoking cigarettes come from your public policy background that shows the economic devastation of families having to deal with the results of lung cancer and the like? Or is it a function of fairness, that people ought not to deal with second-hand smoke? Or do you have personal experiences (friends, family, even yourself) that has informed your crusade against the "coffin nails"? And don't you think it's rather interesting that, long before the Surgeon General's warning in the 12960s, the term "coffin nails" was in regular use?

Hmm. I remember, as a kid, going to O'Leary's corner store and buying packs of cigarettes (Winstons) for my father. Later, it was cartons. I used to steal his cigarettes, not to smoke myself, but in hopes that the cost (35 to 50 cents a pack!) would serve as a deterrent; it did not. Eventually, he developed emphysema and did quit, but when his symptoms abated, his smoking returned. I was...unsubtle in my frustration with him over that. But then a few years later, he stopped smoking for good. He said he never said he quit; he just didn't have another one, and he was smoke-free for the last 25 years of his life.
Fewer U.S. adults smoke, but cigarette smoking continues to impose substantial health and financial costs on society, according to new data from CDC.


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