Monday, November 15, 2010

Blowing Smoke

Was Bob Greene's op ed ("Smoke Got in Their Eyes") an indictment of us in the days of Sinatra or now? Arguably, a half century ago we were unsure of the cause and effect of inhaling tobacco into one's lungs. That debate has long since ended.

So we applaud ourselves for mandating ever more graphic and gruesome statements of the dangers associated with this addictive product. Not only are you doing harm to yourself, those around you can and do suffer the consequences of your decision. We prohibit its sale to minors. Don't smoke inside, don't do this and don't do that. But while we criticize and ostracize, limit and condemn, tell you that you should not, we never even dare to consider the words "you cannot".

When those whose function is to serve and protect know so much, how can they really do so little? It is one thing to fail to act out of uncertainty, naivete or even stupidity. That is not what holds the tongues of those who legislate. It is now only the power of money of the enormously powerful tobacco industry that controls. The images to be projected on these cigarette packs tell us much more than just the story of the sick and dying.

While smoke may have been in our eyes, and blurred our vision at the time Mr Sinatra sang his tune, that is not the case today. And, on many levels, what we now clearly see should make us ill.

No comments: