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Easy to smoke

But then again ...

A close relative just had his second heart attack. It seems that he will recover, but it was a very serious one. One of the contributing factors to this seems to be the fact that he was a heavy smoker. Notice the “was” part of that statement. If they do become an ex-smoker, then it follows that more time on earth seems likely.

I can see eyes rolling about now: Here come several hundred words about the evils of smoking. Not so much. I was a heavy smoker myself. I know how hard it is to give the pesky things up. I loved to smoke. But I quit. Not easy, but I did. But what amazes me is that with all we know about smoking, you can still buy cigarettes almost anywhere. You can’t smoke them at a bar or restaurant, but I saw a machine where you could buy them at one recently. You certainly don’t have to go through nearly the amount of trouble to buy a pack of cancer sticks that you do to buy a quart of Four Roses. They only sell rot gut hooch at state-controlled liquor stores. But you can buy smokes at the grocery store. I am a little surprised that you can’t buy them at my gym.

I was at the drug store the other day, to pick up the newspaper. I couldn’t see anyone behind the counter. “Just a second,” a voice came from behind. I craned my neck and saw the clerk on her hands and knees shoving cigarettes into the rack. “Gotta stock up them smokes,” I said, thinking about my relative and his recent near miss with eternity. “Oh yeah, we can’t keep them on the shelf” was the reply. This was in a drug store, remember? The same place where I buy pills for all my ills and remedies for all my maladies is dispensing cancer and heart attacks by the carton. And in what struck me as a supreme irony, the walls next to the racks of stinky smokes (wait, no lecture, right?) were filled with aids to stop smoking. Rows upon rows of patches and gums and all sorts of ways to kick the habit right next to the habit and in a store dedicated to better health through chemistry.

I said I was a heavy smoker. I gave them up long ago, but I still think about what damage I might have done. But in a free society we can choose do as we please. As long as it’s legal. Want to smoke? Be my guest. No lecture from me. But I just wish it was a little harder to get your hands on them.

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