ethel’s words

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IF YOU SMOKE, SMOKE WITH JOY

I intend to be finished with the subject of smoking “studies” and the stripping of Civil Liberties in that regard. But I want to say a few words to smokers--hoping to reach some.

I wish smokers would organize to try to secure the right to have smokers’ clubs, for Civil Liberties, if nothing else. (Where are all the Civil Libertarians?) A study as worthy as most we have been subjected to, might show that smoking prevents bigotry. I am a “quitted” smoker, going without for two main reasons: My government wouldn’t identify for me, the extra stuff that is put in cigarettes (contents that are reported but kept secret) and getting organic stuff at that quitting time was a hassle. More importantly: I had observed two elderly smokers (in particular) whose favorite chairs were surrounded by cigarette-burn tiny channels in the carpet, from cigarettes dropped off as they dropped off. I was seventy at that time; I am now 84.

Old age is not a time to smoke for other reasons, also. If you smoke, exercising is imperative. So I hope smokers will prepare to age without nicotine for the sake of others, unless they have a way to keep safe. I stopped smoking after retirement; I made a project of it: I did not force myself to do anything demanding. I used throat discs as a substitute for smoking. I believe that helped. I was ill; my stomach seemed paralyzed. Gain weight? Not I. I could hardly eat. One event: My estrogen reappeared. My muscle changed to fat and I lost about seven pounds. I hover at 103 (at five-four). Nobody, nothing, had prepared me for these bad experiences, though I had read all the “anti-” articles. I offer my personal experience, hoping it may be useful to others. I suppose “toughing it out” is what is called “cold turkey”--even for a vegetarian.

I do not advocate flouting the law, however stupid, bigoted, or disgusting, unless in a well-announced action of Civil Disobedience. But I do say, if you want to smoke, or you can’t stand the sickness of quitting, then smoke with pride, with joy, with pleasure--as we used to do, in our companionable, friendly way.

It is not illegal to smoke--yet; it is not immoral. (After all, to some societies, tobacco is sacred, as medicine and for ritual. We have a right to choose our sacred beliefs.) Yet I see you smokers, in public, hanging your heads as if embarrassed. I say, no! Lift your head. You are a free American--so far. Enough! Illigitimi non carborundum. Nulli bastardos carborundum.

Ethel C. Hale