The Angry Rant: Smoking is for losers

Ah, Cigarettes. Man's gift to the masses. The little cancer stick that could. The bar of tar. The purveyor of many a case of bad breath and a nagging cough, leading to many spoiled nights in the back of a car at a place that is known as "Makeout Point."

Ah, Cigarettes. Man's gift to the masses. The little cancer stick that could. The bar of tar. The purveyor of many a case of bad breath and a nagging cough, leading to many spoiled nights in the back of a car at a place that is known as "Makeout Point." The life of the tobacco industry has been an interesting one. In the 50s, everybody smoked. Literally. Doctors, lawyers, garbage men. Everybody. As time passed, Cigarettes began to lose steam (or smoke, as it were) until it culminated into a civil lawsuit that cost the tobacco industry over $200 billion, which pretty much confirmed what we already knew: Cigarettes are bad. I know what you're thinking. It was shocking to me, too. I mean, how could Cigarettes be bad for you? Some of our most beloved entertainers smoked! Johnny Carson, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. liked to light them up every now and again, and it's not like they died from complications related to emphysema or throat cancer or anything. These days, Cigarettes are a pariah of the public, and the television shows and the movie studios took notice, all but eliminating casual smoking on camera in their productions, avoiding harsher ratings and protests from the anti-smoking groups. While Hollywood seems to be cleaning up its act, the same cannot be said for our nation's teenagers. While the smoking rate among teenagers is on a steady decline, I can't help but feel that not enough is being done to curb this problem. Case in point: A few weeks ago I was outside of the Mall at Steamtown, and there was a gaggle of teenagers smoking, despite the fact that none of them were over the age of 16 or possessed a valid driver's license. To say that I was apPalled is an understatement. Maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe I never understood why a 15-year-old needs to smoke (too much stress? I guess the last episode of The Hills was really upsetting), but the sight of a group of kids smoking was just infuriating. Why is it that teenagers feel the need to smoke? Is it some sort of initiation to high school freshman? Do kids need to have a black lung to graduate these days? It's not like Cigarettes have a good taste or anything. In fact, one could argue that smoking a cigarette is akin to having a bonfire set on your tongue that consists of human hair and poop. Seriously, does anyone light up for the first time and say "Wow, this is delicious; I could see doing this for the next 20 years, while dropping a sMall fortune and effectively cutting 30 years off of my life! Awesome!" No. They don't. That would be ridiculous. The problem I have with the whole situation is that kids can smoke all they want in public; however, no one ever does anything about it. If you get caught consuming alcohol while under the age of 21, then you could get into some trouble with the law. Why aren't Cigarettes viewed in the same light? How can these babies smoke on the sidewalk in plain view of police officers and not be punished or reprimanded? Do I need to tell you that two of leading causes of death in this country is heart disease and cancer? And guess what? They are both linked to smoking. This country needs to pull its head out of the sand here, and take a look at the bigger problems. Everyone wants to complain about illegal immigration, or abortion, or this or that, but it seems that smoking is never given enough attention. Smoking is a proven killer, whether it's first hand or second, but yet there are no laws to prevent people from doing it illegally. Here is what I propose: If you can't buy Cigarettes, then you can't smoke them either. That means that all those kids who like to smoke with their little friends should get punished, or fined, or something. FurtherMore, if you are of the legal age to smoke, then you shouldn't be allowed to smoke in the presence of those who can't smoke. Which means that you can't smoke in front of your four-year-old kid who is sitting across from you in the smoking section of a restaurant. Honestly, I witnessed this travesty a few weeks ago. A family came into a restaurant; an older man, a younger woman and a baby who was no More than 16-months-old. It wasn't bad enough that they were giving the baby soda, but the man decided to smoke right in front of the kid. Several times. Maybe I'm wrong here (I'm not), but if you're smoking in front of an infant, then you're no better than someone who drives drunk with children in the car. A child cannot voluntarily unbuckle themselves from their car seat to get away from their chain-smoking mother, who is probably too busy looking at her dye-job in the mirror while talking on her cell phone to her bouncer boyfriend, debating with him about whether or not to get another tattoo of Bret Michaels. The moral of the story is this: Kids, don't smoke. You literally have no reason to. It doesn't make you look cool. So instead, why don't you spend your precious allowance on the Juno soundtrack. At least it's a little More intelligent.

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