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The risks of smoking are greatly exaggerated
TheRecord.com ^ | 20 November 2002 | ERIC BOYD

Posted on 11/26/2002 4:58:07 AM PST by SheLion

Too much is made of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. We're told these chemicals are so harmful that they are responsible for the deaths of millions worldwide. Untold in this "war on tobacco" is that each of the plants we consume consists of an equally daunting thousands of chemicals many of which are recognized poisons or suspected cancer-causing agents.

Cayenne peppers, carrots and strawberries each contain six suspected carcinogens; onions, grapefruit and tomato each contain five -- some the same as the seven suspected carcinogens found in tobacco.

High-heat cooking creates yet more dietary carcinogens from otherwise harmless chemical constituents.

Sure, these plant chemicals are measured in infinitesimal amounts. An independent study calculated 222,000 smoking cigarettes would be needed to reach unacceptable levels of benzo(a)pyrene. One million smoking cigarettes would be needed to produce unacceptable levels of toluene. To reach these estimated danger levels, the cigarettes must be smoked simultaneously and completely in a sealed 20-square-foot room with a nine-foot ceiling.

Many other chemicals in tobacco smoke can also be found in normal diets. Smoking 3,000 packages of cigarettes would supply the same amount of arsenic as a nutritious 200 gram serving of sole.

Half a bottle of now healthy wine can supply 32 times the amount of lead as one pack of cigarettes. The same amount of cadmium obtained from smoking eight packs of cigarettes can be enjoyed in half a pound of crab.

That's one problem with the anti-smoking crusade. The risks of smoking are greatly exaggerated. So are the costs.

An in-depth analysis of 400,000 U.S. smoking-related deaths by National Institute of Health mathematician Rosalind Marimont and senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute Robert Levy identified a disturbing number of flaws in the methodology used to estimate these deaths. Incorrectly classifying some diseases as smoking-related and choosing the wrong standard of comparison each overstated deaths by more than 65 per cent.

Failure to control for confounding variables such as diet and exercise turned estimates more into a computerized shell game than reliable estimates of deaths.

Marimont and Levy also found no adjustments were made to the costs of smoking resulting from the benefits of smoking -- reduced Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, less obesity, depression and breast cancer.

If it were possible to estimate 45,000 smoking-related Canadian deaths as some health activists imagine -- and Marimont, Levy and other respected researchers think it is not -- then applying an identical methodology to other lifestyle choices would yield 57,000 Canadian deaths due to lack of exercise and 73,000 Canadian deaths blamed on poor diets.

If both the chemical constituents of tobacco smoke and the numbers of smoking-related deaths are overstated -- and clearly they are -- how can we trust the claim that tobacco smoke is harmful to non-smokers?

The 1993 bellwether study by the Environmental Protection Agency that selectively combined the results of a number of previous studies and found a small increase in lung cancer risk in those exposed to environmental tobacco smoke has been roundly criticized as severely flawed by fellow researchers and ultimately found invalid in a court of law.

In 1998, the World Health Organization reported a small, but not statistically significant, increase in the risk of lung cancer in non-smoking women married to smokers.

Despite these invalidating deficiencies, the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization both concluded tobacco smoke causes lung cancer in non-smokers.

One wonders whether the same conclusions would have been announced if scientific fraud were a criminal offence.

When confronted with the scientific uncertainty, the inconsistency of results and the incredible misrepresentation of present-day knowledge, those seeking to abolish tobacco invoke a radical interpretation of the Precautionary Principle: "Where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activity should not proceed."

This unreasonable exploitation of the ever-present risks of living infiltrates our schools to indoctrinate trusting and eager minds with the irrational fears of today. Instead of opening minds to the wondrous complexities of living, it opens the door to peer ridicule and intolerance while cultivating the trendy cynics of tomorrow.

If we continue down this dangerous path of control and prohibition based on an unreliable or remote chance of harm, how many personal freedoms will remain seven generations from now?

Eric Boyd of Waterloo has management experience across a wide range of sectors.


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: antismokers; bans; butts; cigarettes; ericwho; individualliberty; michaeldobbs; niconazis; nicotinekoolaid; prohibitionists; pufflist; riiiiight; smokingbans; taxes; tobacco
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If we continue down this dangerous path of control and prohibition based on an unreliable or remote chance of harm, how many personal freedoms will remain seven generations from now?
1 posted on 11/26/2002 4:58:08 AM PST by SheLion
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To: *puff_list; Just another Joe; Great Dane; Max McGarrity; Tumbleweed_Connection; maxwell; ...

2 posted on 11/26/2002 4:58:47 AM PST by SheLion
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To: SheLion
I would be tempted to believe this if I didn't know so many people who were destroyed by smoking and saved by stopping.
3 posted on 11/26/2002 4:59:53 AM PST by AppyPappy
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To: AppyPappy
Destroyed? Not slowed down, but utterly destroyed?

I'm glad I don't travel in your circles, what with the constant inconvenience of stepping over the bodies of the destroyed.

How does one come back from destruction, by the by? Or were you using hyperbole to make a point?

4 posted on 11/26/2002 5:15:12 AM PST by metesky
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To: SheLion
But if those people had never smoked, would they have found another cause for their ailments?? This is the question. I worked for a doctor. They can only diagnose by deduction. We give them a set of symptoms, they find the common denominator. Smoking was so big with the WWII generation, it is easy to blame it for all ailments. My dad quit smoking in the 60's. He had smoked about 10 years. In the 80's he came up with heart disease. Guess what they blamed it on. SMOKING! No one took into account his high stress job, lack of significant exercise or high fat diet (well known in the 50's and 60's). Here's another. When my sister quit smoking after 5 years, she ended up with horrid breathing problems, my niece who never smoked has sleep apnea. Has this become the catch all of our society? And explain my grandfather who smoked since he was 12 and is still going strong at 82??
5 posted on 11/26/2002 5:16:42 AM PST by netmilsmom
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To: AppyPappy
re:
"..if I didn't know so many people who were destroyed by smoking.."

My mother died of lung cancer after almost 70 years of smoking
three to four packs per day. She started when she was in her teens.

My father (still alive) smoked the same amount [nearly] as long, plus
inhaled her "second hand smoke for their entire marriage (and until her
death). He suffers from no lung ailments.

People "are destroyed" from their own neglect; from inherited
deficiencies and weaknesses, or diseases. Banning smoking in a public
place to thwart a nuisance situation should be left to the proprietor
of the business, not the legislative body.

 

6 posted on 11/26/2002 5:17:23 AM PST by Deep_6
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To: AppyPappy
My wife, who is a chemist, is damn tired of BS science being used by advocacy groups and an enabling media who asks for no relevant facts, data, or sources to the table, just scary claims, shocking accusations, and WAG'd numbers.

If 4000 chemicals are present in cigarette smoke, how many are present in the baseline air used? How many chemicals are present in the air while sitting at your computer?

I am no great fan of smoking. The only dog I have in this fight is the one that demands sound science. If I were a cigarette company, I would be suing these advocacy groups for false claims. What do they have to lose? They are already the villain in the first place.

This all started when Crest claimed "Three out of four dentists recommend Crest" back in the 60's. Well, three out of four lousy journalists who can kiss my A$$ would prefer I use Charmin(over using no toilet paper at all).

7 posted on 11/26/2002 5:20:27 AM PST by blackdog
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To: SheLion
Great post!

The problem with the majority of scientific studies (on smoking and any other currently PC taboo topic) is: the people conducting them start with their findings in mind prior to conducting their research. Once you know what you want to prove...the rest is easy!

8 posted on 11/26/2002 5:20:55 AM PST by borisbob69
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To: SheLion
This is a wonderful post. Nice work, SheLion! ;-D
9 posted on 11/26/2002 5:22:15 AM PST by Judith Anne
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To: SheLion
"The risks of smoking are greatly exaggerated. So are the costs."

Sigh. Tell that to all the folks in my waiting room....
10 posted on 11/26/2002 5:27:09 AM PST by Dr. Luv
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To: netmilsmom
NBC had a report Monday night of a non-smoker who got lung-cancer. Never in the entire story did they mention RADON.
11 posted on 11/26/2002 5:29:25 AM PST by eccentric
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To: SheLion
Just be glad all the smokers don't quit en masse, or the already overbudgeted US economy would collapse from huge a shortfall in tax dollars.

Hyprocrites one and all: they whine about 2nd hand smoke, but are glad to squeeze the tobacco industry cow for all the milk they can get for their special interest crap.
12 posted on 11/26/2002 5:29:36 AM PST by Rain-maker
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To: AppyPappy
This article really set me straight too. I thought all those people in my family died as a result of smoking but thanks to SheLion I now know they died from eating too much sole. (I'm series!) ;9/
13 posted on 11/26/2002 5:30:05 AM PST by Ditter
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To: metesky
Dead. As a pipe cleaner.
14 posted on 11/26/2002 5:30:18 AM PST by AppyPappy
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To: metesky
Destroyed? Not slowed down, but utterly destroyed?

Totally mind-boggling! My goodness. With talk like this, who needs the anti's! They have pulled the wool over more eyes then we thought.

15 posted on 11/26/2002 5:32:14 AM PST by SheLion
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To: netmilsmom
When my sister quit smoking after 5 years, she ended up with horrid breathing problems, my niece who never smoked has sleep apnea. Has this become the catch all of our society? And explain my grandfather who smoked since he was 12 and is still going strong at 82??

And "they" told us that if we stop smoking, within two years, our lungs will be a pink and shiny. Yes, right!

My Grandmother smoked three packs of unfiltered Camels and lived to be 86 year's old. Died from old age.

I always ask: if smoking is SO dangerous, why is it still a legal commodity? But we all know the answer to that one. MONEY! It's no worse then alcohol! Except to the prissy noses that can't stand the smell!

16 posted on 11/26/2002 5:35:22 AM PST by SheLion
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To: Deep_6
People "are destroyed" from their own neglect; from inherited deficiencies and weaknesses, or diseases. Banning smoking in a public place to thwart a nuisance situation should be left to the proprietor of the business, not the legislative body.

Your so right. If a person is an avid couch potato, that alone will take him to an early grave. Then you add obesity, and a drinker, and we can even throw "a smoker" into this mix, and what do you have: a VERY unhealthy person.

We have sports professional's who smoke. It doesn't stop them! It's like anything else: if you exercise and eat right, being a smoker is not going to kill you.

17 posted on 11/26/2002 5:38:40 AM PST by SheLion
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To: blackdog
Tobacco contains nicotine. That's poison enough. Smelling cigarette smoke will not hurt you. Being around copious amounts probably will. There is a balance there. The government has no business regulating it unless it harms kids. A woman who would rather smoke than see her child healthy is an abomination. I took one of these kids to the morgue once.

I smoked for 10 years. I know what cigarettes can do. I love cigars and I love pipes. But a cigarette is a nasty little instrument used merely to deliver death and disease to its user.

18 posted on 11/26/2002 5:40:42 AM PST by AppyPappy
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To: SheLion
This is pretty easy to clear up. If you think tobacco is no more dangerous than onions or carrots try eating a few ounces of tobaco and write back if you recover.

Tobacco is not only dangerous in it basic form, but the delivery vector, setting it on fire and inhaling the fumes, is dangerous in its own right.

You certainly have the right to smoke and I fondly wish you well. Personally, I've spent too much time with my wife in oncology facilities in the last five years to willingly engage in any activity that increased my risk even slightly.

I'm going to assume you're too grown up to be offended or impressed by scare stories but unless you've been there, you wouldn't believe how bad it can be.

19 posted on 11/26/2002 5:40:55 AM PST by muir_redwoods
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To: blackdog
If I were a cigarette company, I would be suing these advocacy groups for false claims. What do they have to lose? They are already the villain in the first place.

I often wonder this myself. But Big Tobacco fell to their knees in front of the Attorney Generals and now there isn't much Big T can do to defend themselves.

But the junk science put forth by the anti-smoking health groups is getting way out of hand, and the general public believes it.

20 posted on 11/26/2002 5:42:25 AM PST by SheLion
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To: SheLion
To reach these estimated danger levels, the cigarettes must be smoked simultaneously and completely in a sealed 20-square-foot room with a nine-foot ceiling.

I was in that room at a bar once.

21 posted on 11/26/2002 5:46:27 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: blackdog
Well, three out of four lousy journalists who can kiss my A$$ would prefer I use Charmin(over using no toilet paper at all).

We should find out who that fourth journalist is. He or she needs to see a physician. Or a psychotherapist. Or both.     =;^)

22 posted on 11/26/2002 5:50:53 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts
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To: borisbob69
The problem with the majority of scientific studies (on smoking and any other currently PC taboo topic) is: the people conducting them start with their findings in mind prior to conducting their research. Once you know what you want to prove...the rest is easy!

Junk Science

23 posted on 11/26/2002 5:51:21 AM PST by SheLion
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To: Judith Anne
This is a wonderful post. Nice work, SheLion! ;-D

Thanks! Judith Anne!

But no matter how much we bring out about this issue, there are still a certain few that the anti's have brain washed. There is NO convincing them. If you know what I mean.

24 posted on 11/26/2002 5:52:37 AM PST by SheLion
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To: muir_redwoods
Breathing onion smoke isn't too much fun either.
25 posted on 11/26/2002 5:52:55 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Blood of Tyrants
And junk science it is. There is way too much of it these days, but tobacco leads the way. BTW, personal anecdotes of your 82-year-old grandfather who is healthy or your 23-year-old uncle who died don't really add anything to the discussion.

Also, I would hope that all smokers start rolling their own or buying out of state or from the I-net. That would let these greedy bastard state legislatures at least be honest with their constituents.

And next time you go by a trial lawyer - blow smoke in her face. Greedy bastards -- class action a**holes!!!
26 posted on 11/26/2002 5:53:57 AM PST by szweig
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To: muir_redwoods
Sorry about your wife. But I've been there and done that with my dad. (Heart attack, bypass surgery, colon cancer within 5 years). You're right, I would prefer to not increase my risk, but everytime my husband tries to quit, he makes us all soooo miserable, I'm out buying cigs at 4.00 a pack. When you are hooked, it's a bite to quit. Better to cut down, continue to cut down and finally give up all together. It's a dirty habit but someone must support all those social programs ;-).
27 posted on 11/26/2002 5:56:35 AM PST by netmilsmom
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To: Dr. Luv
"The risks of smoking are greatly exaggerated. So are the costs."

Sigh. Tell that to all the folks in my waiting room....

This COST business has been blown so far out of proportion it's time for an oil change, Dr. Luv.

The BIG LIE That Smoking is an Economic Burden To Society

The Congressional Research Service, in the 1998 revision of their study found: Smokers cost the federal government $9 billion in medical care and $10 billion in lost contributions to social security, etc. But they also found they save $40 billion in retirement costs (mostly social security), about $8 billion in nursing home costs (mostly from Medicaid), and they collect $5.6 billion in cigarette taxes. When added up, smokers saved the federal government $34.6 billion dollars yearly.

State governments saved money too. After subtracting net medical costs of $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion from lost contributions from a savings of $4.8 billion in nursing home costs financed through Medicaid and $.6 billion in retirement savings, and $7.6 billion in cigarette taxes, smokers saved the states almost $9.7 billion.

That's a total saving of $44.3 billion.

Since this 1998 report, taxes have skyrocketed on cigarettes in many states and the tobacco settlement was signed. The settlement was for reimbursement of past and future medical expenses, so states have not only been reimbursed, but smokers are paid up to infinity on future medical costs.

Leaving out new taxes and the settlement, smokers have been overpaying the state and federal governments for an average $950 each year I figure. But to be fair, there are about the same number as former smokers as smokers so if there is ever a rebate given, it should be split up between the two groups and average about $475 each, each year.

Now, the state insurance program may feel the effects of smoker’s costs, but either it should be taken out of the excise tax or figured into the tobacco settlement, which supposedly covers it.

Not only that! We HAVE our own health coverage, thank you! No one, not even you, have to pay for US should we ever get sick! And that's a fact.

28 posted on 11/26/2002 5:57:40 AM PST by SheLion
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To: eccentric
NBC had a report Monday night of a non-smoker who got lung-cancer. Never in the entire story did they mention RADON.

RADON is a silent killer. But if a person smokes and is around RADON and gets sick and or dies....guess what they blame the death on. heh!

29 posted on 11/26/2002 5:58:55 AM PST by SheLion
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To: AppyPappy
If they are dead, AP, how were they saved by quitting?
30 posted on 11/26/2002 6:00:01 AM PST by metesky
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To: SheLion
I am a former 2-pack smoker who quit more than 10 yrs. ago so, I have some sympathy for smokers. Quitting was a personal decision to me - I simply decided that there is more for me to enjoy in a longer, disease-free life. In other words, the pleasure that smoking gave me was not worth the future pain caused by smoke-related diseases and the shorter life.

Anyway, what I want to say is that I accept smokers' right to smoke as much as they want. I also do not want to smell or inhale the by-products of their activities. If you come to think of it, no one wants to smell or inhale other people 'gas', right? So... I'm for smokers' right to enjoy themselves for as long as they do it 'discretely'. After all, no one should deny other people's right to fart as much as they want. In the privacy of their home or in specially-designated public spaces, such as restrooms.
31 posted on 11/26/2002 6:00:06 AM PST by A Vast RightWing Conspirator
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To: SheLion
bump for later read
32 posted on 11/26/2002 6:00:48 AM PST by Cacique
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To: AppyPappy
I smoked for 10 years. I know what cigarettes can do. I love cigars and I love pipes. But a cigarette is a nasty little instrument used merely to deliver death and disease to its user.

Is ANYTHING we are posting getting through to you at all? Or do you refuse to remove your blinders? Why are you so pig-headed!

You know what: a lot of people can run 10 miles. Most can't. A lot of people can smoke without repercussions.......some can't. It all depends on generics.

33 posted on 11/26/2002 6:02:10 AM PST by SheLion
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To: borisbob69
That's true. The guys who found the like between smoking and lung cancer were looking to prove a link between automobile exhaust and lung cancer. What they found was that smoking was the main culprit.
34 posted on 11/26/2002 6:02:47 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Rain-maker
Hyprocrites one and all: they whine about 2nd hand smoke, but are glad to squeeze the tobacco industry cow for all the milk they can get for their special interest crap.

And the “Tobacco Cash Cow” is being paid 100% by smokers who pay cigarette taxes. Not Big Tobacco and NOT the Government. The smokers who pay taxes are paying for all of this control, restrictions and abuse.

But it’s definitely something we never ask for. Big T sold us out.

35 posted on 11/26/2002 6:04:25 AM PST by SheLion
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To: SheLion
This unreasonable exploitation of the ever-present risks of living infiltrates our schools to indoctrinate trusting and eager minds with the irrational fears of today.

Maybe to turn attention away from the real risks?

36 posted on 11/26/2002 6:05:18 AM PST by A. Pole
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To: Ditter
Common, Ditter. I already have you on my list of a anti-smokers. So I know why your here. To diss decent Conservatives who choose to smoke a legal product.

Go ahead. Blow your smoke, Ditter! Get it out of your system and move on!

37 posted on 11/26/2002 6:07:11 AM PST by SheLion
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To: netmilsmom
My father was born September 8, 1907. He smoked from his fifteenth year until his seventy-fifth year, sixty years in all.

At seventy-five he quit because, "The G-- damned things are slowing me down!"

He died in his sleep November, 19, 2002 at 95 years, five weeks.

38 posted on 11/26/2002 6:07:23 AM PST by metesky
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Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: muir_redwoods
I'm going to assume you're too grown up to be offended or impressed by scare stories but unless you've been there, you wouldn't believe how bad it can be.

Honey, at my age, it doesn't make much difference. If you think I am going to give up my coffee and cigarettes now, after enjoying them all the days of my life, well........there is no way!

Been there? I have been there. And I had a team of Doctors that ask me if I smoke, how much I smoke and they all said my smoking did not cause my cancer. And not one of them told me to quit. Cancer is caused by all sorts of things. Not just smoking. I'm a survivor and I smoke!

40 posted on 11/26/2002 6:10:40 AM PST by SheLion
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To: Blood of Tyrants
To reach these estimated danger levels, the cigarettes must be smoked simultaneously and completely in a sealed 20-square-foot room with a nine-foot ceiling.

We like to use this one: how about I sit in a sealed, smoke filled room for 6 hours. You sit in a sealed garage with your car running for 6 hours. Let's see which one of us comes out alive.

41 posted on 11/26/2002 6:12:24 AM PST by SheLion
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To: SheLion
If you think I am going to give up my coffee and cigarettes now, after enjoying them all the days of my life, well........there is no way!

I'm a survivor and I smoke!

LOL...... yep... one every minute.

42 posted on 11/26/2002 6:14:28 AM PST by kjam22
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To: szweig
Also, I would hope that all smokers start rolling their own or buying out of state or from the I-net. That would let these greedy bastard state legislatures at least be honest with their constituents.

Thank you!!!

Personally, I have been rolling our own for 17 months now. The money saved for Christmas is mind-boggling!


and

Smokers United


43 posted on 11/26/2002 6:15:32 AM PST by SheLion
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To: SheLion
God Bless You!!!! I think you are too cool.
44 posted on 11/26/2002 6:15:51 AM PST by netmilsmom
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To: netmilsmom
It's a dirty habit but someone must support all those social programs ;-).

I'm sorry you feel that way. But not all of us look at smoking in this same light.

My belief is this: when a person has a hard time quitting or can't quit, it's because they love to smoke. When you love to do something, it is not easy to give it up.

My father woke up one morning, lit a cigarette, went "YUCK!" Put it out and never smoked another one to the day he died. You really have to hate it to quit easily. I love to smoke. There is no way I am going to punish myself by quitting.

I sure could be doing a lot worse. And as long as it's legal, I am smoking!

45 posted on 11/26/2002 6:19:35 AM PST by SheLion
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To: SheLion
You get no argument from me. If smoking is really as dangerous as the claim, it ought to be outlawed yesterday.
46 posted on 11/26/2002 6:21:51 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: netmilsmom
It's a dirty habit but someone must support all those social programs ;-).

About supporting social programs: many smokers across the US are now buying cigarettes from the Internet, or from Reservations or Rolling Our Own. So.......this money is NOT going for those Social Programs. And, when all the smokers find out about the wonderful way to save on taxes, guess what? They will be coming for YOUR wallet when their "social programs" funding runs dry from the smokers.

47 posted on 11/26/2002 6:22:31 AM PST by SheLion
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Could you please give me a link to that study?
48 posted on 11/26/2002 6:22:44 AM PST by netmilsmom
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To: metesky
If they are dead, AP, how were they saved by quitting?


49 posted on 11/26/2002 6:24:15 AM PST by SheLion
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To: A Vast RightWing Conspirator
In the privacy of their home or in specially-designated public spaces, such as restrooms.

Oh your a real sweetheart. Hope you got this out of your system, so you can go on to have a marvelous day!

50 posted on 11/26/2002 6:25:46 AM PST by SheLion
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