Thursday, 21 January 2010
Smokers and death.
Yes, it's an ashtray and yes they are skulls and yes the inscription does say 'see you later'.
It's my favourite ashtray, pictured after its annual proper cleaning (rather than just emptying). I've had it for years and I bought it because it was funny. If I recall correctly it was advertised as 'an aid to giving up smoking'.
Over at Dick Puddlecote's there are images of what cigarette packs would look like if they were 'made really scary'. I'd buy them. In fact I'd revel in them. Dick reports on the story Giolla mentioned in comments a few posts back. I was going to have a go but Dick's already said all there is to say.
Put more skulls and corpses on cigarettes. The more the better. We'll laugh at them and delight in them. They will not put us off buying tobacco, they will make us buy it all the more.
Does this mean that smokers are intrepid, heroic people who know not the meaning of fear? No it does not. It means that smokers don't care about the warnings because we know they are only put there by people who are permanently scared of everything. It means smokers don't spend every waking minute worried about dying of something. It is not that we want to die, it is not some kind of slow-motion death-wish, it's that we just aren't permanently terrified.
We are also not scared by odd and uncertain associations. There was a review, in last week's New Scientist, of a book written by a doctor in the 1950's who linked smoking with the sudden surge in cases of lung cancer. Sounds plausible until you stop and think for a moment. The surge in lung cancer happened in the 1950's. Now, by no stretch of the imagination could anyone claim that Francis Drake's voyages happened shortly before that. Nor that nobody smoked in the 1920's. I'm not saying smoking cannot cause lung cancer - any foreign chemical taken into your lungs has the potential to do it - but I am saying that most of the links are based on some pretty shaky science. There were many more pollutants in the air in 1950 than just tobacco smoke. There still are. Frank Davis covered this nicely, some time ago.
I smoke and I'm going to die one day. Every smoker is going to die. Actually, not all that many of us die of something horrible. Most of us just get old and die.
So is every non-smoker. Even those who have never breathed a single molecule of tobacco smoke. Some of them will die of something horrible too. Some will die of lung cancer and blame smokers. They'll blame the little roll of burning leaves, not the log fire, the bonfire, the traffic fumes or anything else. There's really nothing in tobacco smoke that's not also in all those other things other than nicotine - and nicotine at that concentration is not harmful. At all. If it were, then selling much higher concentrations in stick-on patches and gum would be illegal. Well, it no longer matters how the non-smokers die. They'll blame smokers for it anyway.
We all die. There is nothing anyone can do to stop it and nobody knows when it'll happen so just forget about it and get on with enjoying whatever time you have.
And while you're doing that, leave me alone to enjoy whatever time I have.
But please, put more skulls and coffins on the packets. They look great.
Posted by Leg-iron at 00:25