I am a recovering drug addict. My drug of choice: Nicotine.
On January 14, I celebrated my 35th anniversary of freedom from the chains of tobacco misery, smoking four packs of Pall Mall’s every day. I smoked constantly and everywhere, in the office, in elevators, movie theaters and yes, even in the shower with a burning butt on the edge of the commode. Every morning I suffered twenty minutes of wretched coughing jags, only to light up after.
Nicotine is one of the most addictive and destructive drugs in history. For decades, American culture glorified cigarettes as though part of a sophisticated dress code. It was cool. Practically every movie depicted stars puffing on cigarettes; doctors and celebrities received handsome rewards for endorsing the drug; cigarette companies contributed to political parties while they deliberately enhanced the potency of tobacco to keep people hooked.
My mother smoked Kents with the “micronite” filter, falling for the propaganda they were healthier than unfiltered. She died of cancer, 1966.
It was all a lie. It was all about money. Cigarettes represented a multi-billion dollar industry. Naysayers and scientists who tried to tell the truth, who tried to warn, were ignored. They were bad …