November 8, 2011

"It’s time to be honest with the 50 million Americans, and hundreds of millions around the world, who use tobacco."

"The benefits they get from tobacco are very real, not imaginary or just the periodic elimination of withdrawal. It’s time to abandon the myth that tobacco is devoid of benefits, and to focus on how we can help smokers continue to derive those benefits with a safer delivery system."

Time to expose the prohibitionists who want to deprive people of the drug that is nicotine.

74 comments:

HT said...

For those that don't want to wade through the whole (NYT) article, here's the crux:

"Nicotine is a drug with benefits. It has been linked by researchers (and smokers) to reduced anxiety and stress, lower weight, faster reaction time and improved concentration."

As someone with Celiac disease, I can appreciate that nicotine is also said to either prevent or suppress this disease. Maybe that's why I got in, x number of years after quitting.

And, the article says nicotine by itself is not all bad. Maybe I should stop going on about this topic. I can start to feel my blood simmering.

crosspatch said...

I have known for some time that nicotine is a powerful anti-depressant. I have wondered if the reason why so many people take anti-depressants today is because they aren't smoking as they were in earlier decades.

I also wonder if big pharma and the psych industry has a vested interest in the anti-smoking agenda

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Smokeless tobacco gave me colon cancer, of that I'm fairly certain. I was only 46, with no colon cancer in the family. I had taken up snuff to keep me from smoking. There's some irony in that. I smoked for another two years after the surgery, then went cold turkey.

I don't know if I can describe what a hold nicotine still has on me, eight years after I last used it. If I smoked a cigarette now, I would experience a heroin-like high that would only last a few minutes, but would leave me craving another. The catch is, if I smoke regularly, the high goes away. I still dream about smoking, and wake up feeling guilty.

HT said...

I l-o-v-e-d smoking but I'm glad I'm done with it (no need for anti depressants). Now I dream about accidentally eating gluten.

I'm done with it, but this conversation makes me miss it nevertheless.

edutcher said...

Safe nicotine, is this a good idea or are we letting another genie out of the bottle?

Don't forget, morphine was supposed to be safe opium.

Elliott A said...

Why not make the nicotine available without having to smoke it. Smoking is deadly, both to the smoker and the people around them. Before they die, they require inordinate levels of medical care. The benefits can never approach the damages.
There are advantages to murdering anyone competing for the affection of a girl or guy, for an insecure suitor, yet most rational people would not find this appropriate. Smoking is the same, just suicide instead of murder.

HT said...

But why do they have to add all that crap to it? Like the chemicals they put in hair polish remover? My question is, is that really necessary, and is removing it doing something equivalent to creating a morphine like product? Actually I don't know the answers to any of these questions.

crosspatch said...

Nicotine doesn't cause cancer, it is the other things in tobacco that cause it. For example, radioactive isotopes in phosphate fertilizer are taken up by the tobacco plant. Cancer from tobacco went up 300% after the introduction of phosphate fertilizers on fields.

Homegrown tobacco in soil that does not contain a lot of natural uranium and its decay products and organically fertilized is much less carcinogenic.

Irene said...

crosspatch, you make an interesting connection.

Allie said...

HT said;
I l-o-v-e-d smoking but I'm glad I'm done with it (no need for anti depressants). Now I dream about accidentally eating gluten.

11/8/11 8:02 PM
Gluten can wreak havoc on your Intestines and other organs, even if you don't have a diagnosis for Celiacs. Since consuming no Gluten for 6 months now, I feel great. Read Dr. William Davis's book, Wheat Belly.

Yup, personal freedom means you are free to get cancer. Smoke like a chimney.

Simon said...

I don't care about health benefits. I do care about exposing the prohibitionists for the boring, gray, authoritarian scolds that they are. I don't smoke, but I find our attempt to relegate smokers to social pariah status to be deeply unattractive.

John said...

I am sick and tired of the douchebags who try to keep telling me that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer.

The statistics of the CDC and the National Cancer society tell us that more than 90% of smokers will NOT get lung cancer.

So how can one say that smoking causes cancer?

It is bullshit.

Personally I am smoke free since Feb 1971. But I hate, hate, hate, these neo-prohibitionists.

I have no desire to smoke. I do have an intense desire to have the right to smoke if I wish.

I also fully support any bar, restaurant or other business which wants to ban smoking. Ditto those which want to allow it, though I probably will not patronize them.

Their place, their rules.

John Henry

HT said...

Yes, I know and continue to learn a thing or two about gluten, though I don't fancy myself the true anti believer that you seem to. I've even seen Dr fasano.

We can't put an end point on what we are learning, it's constantly evolving, as is our understanding of celiac disease, and gluten intolerance in general. It changes all the time. I keep an open and at times skeptical mind, while bowing to the reality of my small intestine biopsy and not eating gluten.

I don't think it's evil. I wish I could eat it.

Oh, and I quit smoking.

Palladian said...

I really miss smoking sometimes, though I have always been able to smoke intermittently and stop whenever I wanted to or when it stopped being pleasurable. I had a moderately-smoking family member die of lung cancer about 4 years ago, though he was exposed to radioactive fallout earlier in his life so it's hard to say whether it was the cigarettes or the plutonium that was the biggest contributing factor to his cancer. After the trauma of that experience, I stopped smoking altogether except for once a year, when I smoke about half a pack for old time's sake. I also smoke a pipe once in a while during the winter, and a good cigar if it's offered.

Even when I did smoke cigarettes, I didn't smoke much because the brands that I liked were expensive, hard-to-find cigarettes: Davidoff, which a frequent-traveling European friend used to get for me at Duty Free; Gauloises Blondes; and, my favorite and sadly unavailable in the US anymore: Sobranie Black Russian.

Sigh.

At least I have my pipes.

Americans are getting too fucking concerned with utility; the abstemious Puritanical impulse, which is a virtue in moderation, is getting out of control again, especially since lefties have caught the anti-pleasure bug.

Simon said...

And even worse than the people who want to drive smoking underground are the frickin' morons who sue the tobacco companies on the pretense that they didn't realize that it was bad for them. Judge Miller's opinion in Idiots v. Phillip Morris remains definitive.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

A few months ago I was at the mall and saw a young woman just sitting there, at the end of the food court, smoking away like it was nobody's business. I was amazed at how completely outraged I was! You can't smoke in the mall! Right in the open where everyone could see her, too; not even trying to hide it! What was she thinking? How dare she flaunt the rules like that!

I didn't say anything, this was just my thought process. Then I realized that I couldn't smell the smoke, and I looked and saw that she was working a kiosk hawking one of these vaporizers. I was really amazed at how intense my mental reaction was, though. I still remember when you could smoke just about anywhere and it was no big deal. I remember my parents feeling like they had no right to tell my grandparents not to smoke in my parents' house around their children.

Really opened my eyes to how the anti-smoking people have gotten into my head.

PatCA said...

HT, smoking is also believed to change our pH levels (for the good), which is related to allergic reactions. I know my allergies, to food and inhalants, got much worse after I quit. This happened to others too.

HT said...

Yes, Pat, I really think there is something to this.

crosspatch said...

"The statistics of the CDC and the National Cancer society tell us that more than 90% of smokers will NOT get lung cancer."

The problem is COPD. The interesting thing in that regard is that pot smokers are just as much at risk as tobacco smokers for COPD.

Cannabis does not take up the natural radioactive elements in the soil so it is less carcinogenic but the smoke itself still damages the lungs after while. A serious pot smoker isn't going to be doing much running.

Carol_Herman said...

It staves off Alzheiemer's!

HT said...

Is that so?

edwardroyce said...

Every day that passes Woodie Allen's movie "Sleeper" is looking less like a comedy and more like a prophecy.

All I'm waiting for is the enormously giant banana and the Orgasmatron.

Elliott A said...

John- Have you ever seen the lung of a heavy smoker? Do you understand how the chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause transcription errors in the the cells which are progenators to cancer? Have you noticed the smokers who drive down the street with their cigarette OUT of the window? Have you seen the devastation of oral health smoking causes? How about the last years of a person with emphysema?
You are right, not everyone gets cancer, not all the relatives who are subjected to second hand smoke and suffer with asthma for their whole lives, or see their loved ones look twenty years older than their true age. They may die of cardiac disease before they get cancer, or have a stroke, etc.

cubanbob said...

What a weird confluence of smoke we are having. On the one hand the nannies want to ban tobacco smoke and on the other hand the same nannies want to de-crminalize marijuana. Has anyone ever been charged with a DUI resulting from smoking tobacco?

edwardroyce said...

Well the human body is a chemical factory. I've found over the years that changing my ph balance when feeling unwell does make a difference. Frankly I wonder if it is vitamin C that does it when drinking orange juice or simply the effect of drinking a highly acidic solution. Personally I choose to make very spicy dishes including tumeric, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Spicy pickled vegetables work well though my fave is gumbo.

The key to understanding all of this harks back to the 1970's with the whole "food pyramid" nonsense. Due to government interference and forced propaganda we all started to shift our diets away from protein based to more wheat and carb based. And now we're seeing the effects of it. More diabetes, heart disease, etc etc etc.

I'd like to think that the people responsible feel bad about it but the reality is that the outcome might have been planned all along. I can't begin to number the liberal tree-huggers I've met who are very brazen about wishing most of humanity to simply die and disappear. Not a metaphor btw.

chuckR said...

A Russian researcher suggested that nicotine's role in suppressing Crohn's symptoms made a good argument for Crohn's sufferer's to take up smoking in their 50s. He observed that natural causes would get them before cancer and in the meantime they'd be asymptomatic.

Palladian said...

Jesus, Elliott A, I'd hate to hear the speech you give before you fuck.

Palladian said...

Can you imagine what Thanksgiving is like at Elliott A's house?

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT CORONARY PLAQUES? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CHEMICALS ARE IN THAT TURKEY? HAVE YOU SEEN THE BLOATED, SCARRED LIVER OF A WINE DRINKER?

JAL said...

Aren't e-cigarettes being outlawed in restaurants, airplanes etc.?

When I shared article w hubby, he didn't realize that the nicotine isn't the lethal part of smoking.

Nicotine is not illegal, so ....

Some people can barely live without coffee and have headaches is they miss their morning cup for more than a day. So what.

Nanny nanny go away.

Disclaimer: I do not and never have smoked.

EDH said...

If you want a truly frustrating job in public health, try getting people to stop smoking.

No sympathy whatsoever. Although they write the rules and impose the duty on others, I've never seen one of these "public health" assholes actually take on the task of telling someone to their face that they cannot smoke, anywhere, even outdoors.

Craig said...

Nicotine gum in my experience delivers nicotine just as effectively as cigarettes without causing damage to the lungs. Unfortunately, it's priced at a level commensurate with the artificially or legally inflated cost of cigarettes instead of a modest and competitive markup from the actual cost of production. There's no reason in the world for the gum to be priced any higher than cigarettes were forty years ago. A one thousand percent increase in the price of cigarettes is a huge deterrent to smoking. A one thousand percent profit margin on the gum is a criminal conspiracy.

Dead Julius said...

Oh, you used "prohibitionists" in your short post.

Coming after the airing of that Ken Burns documentary, that's like throwing down the white glove and challenging society to a duel.

But, Althouse, don't you yet understand that Democrats and Republicans both hate anything that is pleasurable? It is yet another aspect of their hatred of freedom.

And electronic cigarettes are indeed pleasurable to those who use them.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I still dream about smoking, and wake up feeling guilty.

Happens to me too. Except that I don't feel guilty as much as disappointed.

Allie said...

Well the human body is a chemical factory. I've found over the years that changing my ph balance when feeling unwell does make a difference. Frankly I wonder if it is vitamin C that does it when drinking orange juice or simply the effect of drinking a highly acidic solution. Personally I choose to make very spicy dishes including tumeric, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Spicy pickled vegetables work well though my fave is gumbo.

The key to understanding all of this harks back to the 1970's with the whole "food pyramid" nonsense. Due to government interference and forced propaganda we all started to shift our diets away from protein based to more wheat and carb based. And now we're seeing the effects of it. More diabetes, heart disease, etc etc etc.

I'd like to think that the people responsible feel bad about it but the reality is that the outcome might have been planned all along. I can't begin to number the liberal tree-huggers I've met who are very brazen about wishing most of humanity to simply die and disappear. Not a metaphor btw.

11/8/11 8:49 PM
Edward Royce, I am a liberal and I am a follower of Paleo Primal diet. I have never felt better eating lots of healthy fat and red meat, all kinds of meat, bacon,lots of good veggies and fruit every few days, mostly berries on my homemade yogurt. Completely gluten and Legume free, my lipid profile is perfect, blood pressure perfect, blood sugar perfect.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not a smoker, and I cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke. Cigar smoke makes me wheeze and sneeze.

Dad's dad was hooked and smoked unfiltered camels. Died of tongue and throat cancer. That is not a pretty way to go. Dad's Mom started and stopped smoking whenever she felt like it. So nicotine in my family either grabs you like a vice, er, vise, or it doesn't. Addiction is a variable thing.

Irene said...

Palladian, Black Russians were exquisite.

SukieTawdry said...

HT said...As someone with Celiac disease, I can appreciate that nicotine is also said to either prevent or suppress this disease. Maybe that's why I got in, x number of years after quitting.

My friend, who suffered from colitis in her younger years, was a smoker until she had a heart attack. After she stopped smoking the colitis came back (since controlled). The doctor said nicotine forms a coating on the colon that prevents the inflammation.

Pogo said...

Like the Global Warming morons, anti-nicotine zealots are only interested in power.

They don't give a damn about facts, they don't even give a damn about health, they just want to control you. It is, as Palladian noted and Paul Johnson described, yet another foray into Puritanism.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Our family GP, Dr. Gordon Anderson, M.D., and long since deceased, smoked constantly in the examination room. "It's strep, Mary," he'd tell my mom, blowing blue smoke in my face. Those were the good old days.

Ralph L said...

Thirty years ago, my parents weekended a couple times a year with the long-time head of the Tobacco Institute, then a rich & powerful lobbying group, and others. As soon as he retired, he and his wife quit smoking (but not drinking).

I've always despised the smell, but the prohibitions are getting out of hand.

Nora said...

People that have the power to prohibit and regulate will certainly use this power, ... and also abuse it, as the article Ann posted a month, or so ago, claimed (on people in positions of power, that are not translated into social status).

I know that benefits of nicotine had been already identified at least in the early 70s, when my English tutor, who's day job was translations of the articles from the Western medical publications for the Soviet medical institution, told me that she read about benefits of nicotine (to brain chemistry and nervous system in general, AFAIR) in a journal she was given to transalate.

Sorun said...

I used the nicotine patches to help me quit. I remember them fondly, especially the nights I forgot to remove the patch. What funky and vivid dreams I had.

edwardroyce said...

@ Allie

1. btw I find it is a very small and specific set of tree-huggers who believe that the world would be improved by fewer people on it. And they're not that picky about who it is that should "disappear".

2. If archeologists can be believed then organized agriculture has only been around for about 10,000 to 15,000 years. And examining skeletons of early humans who migrated from hunter-gatherer to farmer has consistently shown a 5" reduction in average height. A reduction in height is not a good sign as it is evidence of some level of malnutrition.

IMO the reality is very very simple. Most animals are rather on the lean side as it can be difficult to acquire and maintain a load of fat. Carbs aren't all that plentiful in the wild and there is evidence that early people instead of making bread actually used what carbs they could find to make beer or other alcoholic style beverages.

Because you haven't lived until you have tried grinding wheat or barley by hand in a mortar and pestle. As for grinding corn into masa, I'll leave that to the wonderfully skilled Mexican ladies because I've never done that well either.

Palladian said...

Irene, in that slightly more carefree time of my life, I also liked Sobranie "Cocktails", especially the pink ones when I was feeling especially fey...

SukieTawdry said...

Tyrone Slothrop said...Our family GP, Dr. Gordon Anderson, M.D., and long since deceased, smoked constantly in the examination room. "It's strep, Mary," he'd tell my mom, blowing blue smoke in my face. Those were the good old days.

LOL. In the 70's, a friend who was in the hospital after a hysterectomy shared her room with a woman who required oxygen. The nurse moved her into a private room so she could smoke.

SukieTawdry said...

Palladian said...Irene, in that slightly more carefree time of my life, I also liked Sobranie "Cocktails", especially the pink ones when I was feeling especially fey...

We used to stock up on Cocktails in New York when we were headed for glamorous places like Paris. Is Nat Sherman still at 42nd & 5th?

William said...

Back then, I gave them up a few times. But it was hard to stay on the wagon. Everyone around you was lighting up. It was like giving up drugs in an opium den. Nowadays, here in NYC, you have to go to western Montana to find a place to light up. It's much easier to give them up in such an environoement... I've been on the wagon for quite a while now--almost twenty years. I still feel twinges, but more from movies than from real life. In real life, I see people huddled in the cold, looking very neurotic as they try to up their serum nicotine level. In movies, you see Bogie, with maximum cool, taking a drag as he eyes Lauren Becall. You just know how good that cigarette tastes and dormant cells spring awake. Nicotine is a remarkabably persistent habit.....One reason to give them up is that you spend far more time wanting a cigarette than smoking a cigarette. And the money they charge makes it a major vice. Good riddance.

Mumpsimus said...

We'd see the same hostility if a treatment were developed that let people eat what they liked without getting fat. Or let them be fat without health consequences. Or gave them the benefits of exercise without the work. And we sure saw it when effective and convenient contraception became available.

Denying pleasure to others is central to the authoritarian soul (see Orwell).

Almost Ali said...

Just before I quit smoking, I called the tobacco company to ask why their/my cigarettes (Vantage 100s) refused to stay lit. Aside from the cigarettes, I was going through lighters like crazy.

The woman at the other end of the 800 number stated quite matter-of-factly that they were now making their cigarettes with "safety paper" - which would self-extinguish if the user failed to keep puffing. Adding that the "safety paper" was a new government rule.

My first reaction was to reach through the phone and beat the woman to death - simply on principle.

But after considering the years of government and corporate abuse regarding my smoking, I quit. And I've been one lousy citizen ever since.

Beldar said...

The last cigarette I smoked:

It was a Marlborough, and I smoked it on Monday, July 11, 2005, in the parking garage of Houston's Methodist Hospital, into whose emergency room I was about to walk.

I asked them to re-assure me that I wasn't having a heart attack. They couldn't; I was.

The last time I wanted a cigarette: Check the nearest clock, for if it's keeping good time, it will be displaying my answer.

I enjoyed every cigarette I ever smoked, and some of them I enjoyed a very great deal indeed.

It is a habit I despised, but to which I'd return in an instant -- if only it didn't kill my own sense of smell, hamper my sense of taste, shorten my wind, cause me to cough chronically and with nasty production, and otherwise destroy my health, while making me smell like an ashtray to everyone around me and emptying my wallet to support government overspending.

Beldar said...

@ crosspatch: Serious pot smokers nowadays use vaporizers. That doesn't mean that pot-smoking has become healthy; but it's considerably less toxic than raw or even filtered pot smoke.

purplepenquin said...

On the one hand the nannies want to ban tobacco smoke and on the other hand the same nannies want to de-crminalize marijuana.

The opposite is also true...a lot of the folks who call out for increased penalties against "druggies" do so with a beer in one hand and a cig in the other.

Prohibition is a failure, no matter what the substance being banned is.

HT said...

The key to understanding all of this harks back to the 1970's with the whole "food pyramid" nonsense. Due to government interference and forced propaganda we all started to shift our diets away from protein based to more wheat and carb based. And now we're seeing the effects of it. More diabetes, heart disease, etc etc etc.

It might have been the government that put out the food pyramid, but it was the experts from places like Harvard and others who were instrumental in advising govt officials. Gary Taubes details this in his tomb, Good Calories Bad Calories. I read it last year. Basically, this is a case of willfully throwing knowledge away. In the 70s, we went backwards, as you say. Until then, many doctors and other health people knew that carbs contributed to increased sugar production and weight gain. (I'm not doing the argument much service here...)

(Not sure how your liberal bashing at the end ties in with everything else.)

tim in vermont said...

As someone who suffers from OCD in one of its various debilitating forms (I could deal with just tying my shoes three times..) I have been tempted to try smokeless cigarettes. Tobacco killed my father, he had a heart attack within minutes of lighting his first cigar in a decade in celebration.

But sometimes I just feel like a cigarette would help, and I have never smoked one.

tim in vermont said...

Regarding the food pyramid, maybe the experts recommended it, but they were experts chosen by a wheat state Senator, McGovern, who decided that they were "doing good" and doing well.

One more story of disastrous good intentions form the Left.

Pogo said...

tim in vermont, this isn't about smoking, but using nicotine without smoking.

gerry said...

[FUN WITH TYPOS]

Like the chemicals they put in hair polish remover

Do you have to matt it all down together before polishing hair? Does it stay in place while swimming then?

Thanks for the chuckle!

Simon said...

purplepenquin said...
"Prohibition is a failure, no matter what the substance being banned is."

Prohibition can work when the legal changes track cultural changes fairly closely. Fifty years ago, smoking was ubiquitous, but through a slow campaign to change public mores, accompanied by shifts in the law that supported the change and occaisionally prodded it without ever getting ahead of it, we've arrived at a point where smokers have become social pariahs and the habit itself is collapsing (in 2007, Gallup found that the number was approaching 20%). In another thirty years, I wouldn't be surprised if it's illegal and no one cares. Prohibition works when social attitudes are such that most people don't want to engage in the conduct in the first place and prohibition simply polices the margins; that's why laws banning contraception worked when every Christian group agreed that contraception was a moral wrong and virtually everyone was a Christian, at least nominally, and it's why prohibition of alcohol failed at a time that virtually everyone drank to one extent or another. Right now, smoking is on the wane as a habit, is deemed outre by society (there was a time when it was considered sexy and glamorous, but today the association is anything but), and not only are those trends likely to accelerate, but what's more, the larger government looms in healthcare, the stronger its incentive is to call time.

Scott M said...

The opposite is also true...a lot of the folks who call out for increased penalties against "druggies" do so with a beer in one hand and a cig in the other.

Quite...because as we all know, pot is the only dangerous drug that gets abused.

Class factotum said...

I intend to start smoking when I am 70 and already have wrinkles. Given my genetics, I will probably live to my mid-90s. Twenty five years of (light - it's too expensive to have more than one or two a day) smoking will be fun and it might not be enough to give me that nasty dry, leathery skin around my mouth. And even if it does, I'll be really old anyhow so who cares.

MadisonMan said...

I intend to start smoking when I am 70

I've thought of doing this as well. Your sense of smell is shot then anyway. But I have my Mom's lousy respiratory system, and smoking would just mean incessant coughing.

Firehand said...

Had an argument with a very 'progressive' type a while back on the subject. My point was "If a bar or restaurant allows smoking, I don't have to go there; I'm not going to ban something for EVERYONE just because I don't like it." The response:
"You don't have a right to do something that poisons me!"
"You don't have to go in there, then you're not exposed."
"I have the right to go anywhere, and I shouldn't have to put up with being poisoned."
Amazing how someone who claims to be for individual freedom wants to ban anything that might be a problem for her, and thinks her rights mean she can order anyone to give up anything she doesn't approve of.

Christy said...

It should be a misdemeanor to shoot anyone who lights up within smelling distance.

I don't care whether it does a body good or whether it gives a body cancer. Light up close to me and I get a running snotty nose and globs of snot running down the back of my throat. Frequently I get a headache. I grew up with smoking parents and thought I was alergic to everything. Not until I moved away did I ever have clear nasal passages.

Do what you like in your own space, but don't bring it near me.

BTW, I remember an entire issue of Newsweek back in the 70s devoted to the benefits of cocaine.

Simon said...

Christy, what about the situation that Firehand described, where you're in a space that isn't your own?

Scott M said...

It's not quite the same, but I took up pipe smoking a few years back. Maybe a couple times a month while drinking socially or just hanging out on the back deck (perfect time of year for that).

If they could just make cig smoke smell as good as the vanilla/cherry blend I've got for ye ol' Meerschaum.

J said...

Does Frau Althouse take money from Big Tobacco (or other lobbys/powerful interests)??

Disclosure time

Freeman Hunt said...

I've thought of doing this as well. Your sense of smell is shot then anyway. But I have my Mom's lousy respiratory system, and smoking would just mean incessant coughing.

But if we could use these e-cigarettes....

Simon said...

J has left a new comment on the post "Does Frau Althouse take money from Big Tobacco (or other lobbys/powerful interests)??"

Have you ever noticed that the amplifier "big" is reserved for industries (and other entities) that are the subject of formally-approved received opprobrium? We hear all about big tobacco, but you never hear complaints about "big coffee" or "big soda," even though the latter in particular would be a perfectly apt use of the term from a language standpoint. (More so than tobacco, even; is there really such a thing as small tobacco? Who is the RC Cola of cigarettes?)

Which industry will be the next object of mass demonization? Which industry will the lawyers sue the hell out of on the pretext of of plaintiffs who must be claiming to be so dim that they didn't know what anyone with an ounce of common sense would have known? I think it will be fast food; for one thing, it's already happening, and for another, while I've yet to hear anyone upbraid "big grease," they already have the big mac!

And isn't it interesting that the chosen focal point of anger at an industry is, of all things, size? D'you think that they're maybe... compensating... for somethin'?

Oligonicella said...

Almost Ali --

"The woman at the other end of the 800 number stated quite matter-of-factly that they were now making their cigarettes with "safety paper" - which would self-extinguish if the user failed to keep puffing."

Fuck! That's why my joints keep going out.

edwardroyce said...

"If they could just make cig smoke smell as good as the vanilla/cherry blend I've got for ye ol' Meerschaum."

They do make pipe tobacco cigarillos. Basically a slightly larger cigarette, not quite a cigar.

damikesc said...

Put me in the same group as those who may not like smoking, but find anti-smoking zealots absolutely loathesome.

Freedom is far more important than my personal comfort.

I ban smoking at my house with no second thoughts. But to tell a business owner he/she cannot allow smoking in their place of business? What right do I have to do that?

Francisco D said...

Alley may be surprised that I generally agree with her on diet issues. However, she misses that Vitamin C is essentially Ascorbic ACID. The only reason to be afraid of your OJ is the high glycemic index.

Smoking is hypothesized to have prophylactic effects on autoimmune disorders, mostly due to nicotine.

I have yet to see convincing evidence that nicotine affects mood, except that it (like alcohol and other substances) can arouse dopamine production in the pleasure centers of the brain.

The primary "relaxing" benefits of smoking are psychological - focusing on the smoking ritual and taking your mind off other stressors. There are better ways to achieve the same effect.

Panachronic said...

It is incredible to me that so many commenters have entirely missed the gist of the NYT article.

E-cigarettes are emerging as the most effective device ever conceived to reduce and/or eliminate tobacco use, and the FDA is fighting them tooth-and-nail. Why?

The answer should be obvious: there is no Big Pharma FDA patron making money from them.

It seems to me the government would like us to eschew cigarette smoking, but only if it benefits their friends.

edwardroyce said...

@ Panachronic

E-cigarettes are emerging as the most effective device ever conceived to reduce and/or eliminate tobacco use, and the FDA is fighting them tooth-and-nail. Why?

It isn't anything nefarious. It's bureaucracy in action.

The FDA wants e-cigarettes defined as a "drug delivery device" because that puts them under the control and regulation by the FDA. Plus you've got purists who are so opposed to smoking that they don't want any aspect of smoking, no matter how potentially benign, to exist.

Then there is another fear by some that e-cigarettes are in fact a potential drug delivery device and if you can inhale nicotine then why not other drugs that can be vaporized?

And the e-cigarette isn't new. It's been around for 40-50 years now.