Nobody Told Me!

Last week there was a new story about a woman who is suing a tobacco company because her husband died of smoking. She says that the cigarette companies never warned him that it was dangerous.

Well, I hold no brief for the cigarette companies, but this goes too far! He didn’t know? On what distant planet was he living?

Did he never wonder why cigarettes were called “coffin nails?” Did he never hear the song my college roommate used to sing (as he smoked) in the distant past: “Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette. Smoke, smoke, smoke it til you smoke yourself to death. Met St. Peter at the Golden Gate, said “I hate to make you wait,” but I just gotta have another cigarette!”

That smoking is not a beneficial habit is not exactly recent news. Also last week, I came across a letter written by former President John Quincy Adams who died in 1848 at the age of 81:

“In my early youth, I was addicted to the use of tobacco in two of its mysteries, smoking and chewing. I was warned, by a medical friend, of the pernicious operation of this habit upon the stomach and the nerves; and the advice of the physician was fortified by the results of my own experience. More than thirty years have passed away, since I deliberately renounced the use of tobacco in all its forms; and although the resolution was not carried into execution, without a struggle of vitiated nature, I never yielded to its impulses; and in the space of three or four months of self-denial, they lost their stimulating power, and I have never felt it as a privation.
I have often wished that every individual of the human race afflicted with this artificial passion, could prevail upon himself to try but for three months the experiment which I have made; sure that it would turn every acre of tobacco land into a wheat field, and add five years of longevity to the average human life.”

Adams’ “early youth” would have been in the 18th century, well over two hundred years ago. This time, I hope the tobacco companies win and send a message: “If you don’t know by now, it’s your own darn fault!”

1 Comment

heidiApril 12th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Hi Chris,
I heard you were preaching today in Sharon. Sorry I wasn’t there. But I got to preach today too…for the first time. A lowly curate/assistant doesn’t usually get that opportunity. The vicar in charge of the English congregation here was happy to not have to preach today!
Happy Easter to you and Peg!

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