Okay...this may sound like the "running broad jump" but here goes: America seems to have swapped one addiction for another. I grew up in a smoking world it seemed to me as a kid that all adults smoked. My dad was a three-pack-a-day man and mom went through a pack or so a day herself and my grandmother was an occasional smoker, my great-grandfather smoked a pipe. I was about 7 before I found out there were adults who didn't smoke. Tobacco was a great cash crop for farmers too.
Along came the anti-smoking campaign and like any other crusades of this nature it started off slow. I don't know the percentage of the adult population that smoked but it was significant. And there were the usual school kids who thought it was so cool to smoke. But mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow and so it was with the anti-smoking campaign. They got Congress to pass a law fobidding us from advertising cigarettes on radio and television--that cost us a cool $Billion but we still advertised other tobacco products like chewing tobacco, snuff and cigars. But soon Congress forbid that.
The big hit came with the class action suits cranked up by Big Law. People who came down with lung cancer or any disease thought to bew associated with using tobacco products soon hit the courts and sympathetic juries awarded the "victim" or his/her family tens of millions of dollars. We were told that these suits were good to make "Big Tobacco" pay for their sins and it would reduce health care costs. So far I haven't talked with a single health care provider who's profited from these massive suits. And we were told by the anti-smoking crowd that the only way to get kids from smoking was to ditch "Joe Camel" the cartoon character used by R. W. Reynolds for their Camel brand. Headline News: Joe's gone but kids are still smoking.
But it seems one addiction is always replaced by another. Many who quit smoking began eating and food tasted so much better now. Lots of folks packed on the pounds and isn't that supposed to cause health problems as well? And although it's almost a sin to smoke anymore--smokers at work have to go out to some gazebo hundreds of feet from their place of employment to enjoy a smoke, suddenly "along comes Mary." Tobacco is forbidden but marijuana is okay? Despite federal laws against it, state by state it's becoming legal. Yet marijuana is much more addictive, burns hotter and is harder on the lungs and has a hypnotic affect on the user.
Even worse--opioiods. We get addicted to them easily and in the process of needing more and more of them many die. Thouands are dying every week and it's causing a true health crisis the likes of which we've never seen. We've swapped one addiction for another and frankly, smokikng is better. The opioiod crisis has gotten so bad and the negative publicity so great that those who truly need the drug are finding it harder to get. This is heartbreaking and terrifying at the same time we have to get a handle on it like we got the handle on cigarettes..frankly smoking was better for you.