The Wife asked me last night, did I think there would be any harm in her taking up cigarettes? It would be a 1950s fashion statement as well as a means to help lose weight.
I would love it if she did. I love the smell of secondhand smoke, the ritual of filling and emptying ashtrays, the sense of relaxation and comfort which we've lost in an age of smoking bans. I love the smell of tobacco on a woman's breath, hinting of earth and experience and daring. It's not enough to turn me on to any old floozy at the bar, but the smell of tobacco smoke on a woman makes me perk up my nose and turn my head and follow like Peppy Le Pew on the trail of a civet cat.
So, no, I didn't think there'd be that much harm. Folks who start smoking in their teens tend to develop lung cancer well into their sixties. That means it takes the disease over forty years to get started, if it's going to get started, and then another decade or so to finish you off. "I think if you started smoking in earnest now," I told her, "It might kill you when you're 100 years old."
The real reason she probably won't begin smoking in any significant way is the cost. The taxes on tobacco at this point are astronomical and criminal; the only justification for them would be a fully funded state provided health care system. Unless the state is picking up the tab for my consequences, I don't see how it has the right to collect a fee on my vices.
It seems to me the dishonest cigarette companies ruined smoking for everyone. They committed so many crimes: pumping additives into cigarettes to make smokers crave them all the time, insisting that there were absolutely no risks to smoking at all, and marketing to folks who really were too young to make an informed decision about smoking. They could have been content to sell a moderate quantity of cigarettes to a nation of moderate smokers, honestly explaining that the use of their product carried some risks but that, just as drinking and lovemaking carry significant risks, the pleasures to be had in their moderate and thoughtful indulgence lead many to conclude that those risks are acceptable.
Instead, they out-and-out claimed that smoking was perfectly healthy. They kept this up in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, and made such asses of themselves, that tobacco became the one target that any politician could go after if he wanted to boost his own image. You might not know anything about your candidate, but by golly, if they're against big tobacco, they can't be all bad, now can they?
So now you can't smoke a cigar in a restaurant, or unwind at a bar with a cigar and a cocktail. So now instead of growing up with a generation of elegant, relaxed smoking dames, I get to watch a bunch of wound-up hussies twirling gum around their fingers and chewing like cattle. So now the taxes are such that you can't get a pack of smokes for under $8.00, cigars are out of reach for many, and pipe tobacco will soon be as expensive to obtain as marijuana.
The world really needs to relax and have a nice smoke. Light up a cigar on your morning commute and see just how much road rage you can muster up at the fellow who cuts you off. Stand outside with your fellow exiles during a lunch break and swap gossip and news. (It's been shown that smokers advance more quickly in firms and corporations due to the networking they do during their smoke-breaks.) Clean, pack, and light a pipe before you begin that argument with your spouse and see if you don't spend a little more time listening to each other and less time arguing.
Anyway, I'm all for this new development. I think it'll increase our domestic happiness and make the house feel even more like a comfortable home. I just hope she won't have to take up a part time job to support even the moderate use of cigarettes.