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The Morality of Smoking and Dumb Questions

I was opening up my e-mail account and I noticed on the new headlines another headline on Obama. I will usually give a quick glance when scanning the news events for the day and then play catch up on the rest of the news with customers throughout the day. The article that caught my attention was an interview Tom Brokaw had with President Elect Obama.

Brokaw asked the President Elect if he had stopped smoking. I thought at first “That’s an odd question but I’m curious so …” Obama stuttered around and said he had fallen off the “wagon” a few times but said there would be no violations of the “no smoking rule” in the White House. It was almost as if Brokaw was really going to lay into the President Elect over this issue. At one point Brokaw tries to corner him by cutting him off “wait then you haven’t stopped.” To which Obama just stammered around the accusation as if he had been caught in a potential troubling issue.

I guess my observation may be simple but I think it’s legitimate. Obviously or I wouldn’t write about it. I recognize the President Elect will be moving into the position with weeks and he is getting ready to take on a real mess. I also realize he has made some surprising picks to his cabinet that have left his followers mesmerized and some are wondering where his radical liberalism went (I’m sure it’s still there). But his smoking habits? You have the President Elect for minutes to interview. In a few minutes he will be on his way and your interview will be over. What will you ask him? About his smoking would not even come to my mind to be honest. With everything going on in the world, U.S., the economy, terrorism, drugs, anything. I mean almost anything would have topped the question “Have you quit smoking yet?” Are you being serious Brokaw? (Like he’s reading this) But still I found it as a wasted question.

We’ve all heard our teachers say “There’s no such thing as a stupid question” as a way to motivate us to ask a question. This is probably just a ploy to break the unbearable silence in their classroom. Well I would have to disagree Ms. Teacher. There are stupid questions and Tom Brokaw just proved my case.

I think this is something that leads to an interesting point on smoking since Brokaw brings it up. While we’re speaking of smoking let’s dive in. Doesn’t this question almost sound as if it were a moral accusation? Have we turned smoking into a moral issue when it really is just a health issue. Why not ask him on his drinking habits? That is far worse by the way isn’t it? To be addicted to smoking would be preferred to alcohol by any rational person.

Is there a picture of FDR without a cigarette in existence? Or Winston Churchill? For Christians CS Lewis was a smoker. Personally I think smoking is gross but for the novice or person not educated on the difference between a Pipe or Cigar and a cigarette. There is. There is a difference between the taste and the addiction. Maybe we’ve succumbed to the Urban Myth of Second Hand smoke kills. Because there are other things that kills more people than second hand smoke and we’re not going after that are we?

I actually wish the big tobacco companies would have stood up when they were brought before Congress. I wish a CEO would have just said “If it kills people then BAN IT!!” But the government won’t ban cigarettes because…..taxes. They get too much money from the taxes of smokers so…friends let’s not fall for the trick that Congress is concerned for the health of smokers they just want their taxes as well. Don’t misunderstand that I’m promoting smoking cigarettes. I’m not. In the same breath however, as much as I dislike them I don’t find the addiction to them a moral issue as much as it is a health issue. Next time you see a smoker maybe we should shake their hand, then I’d leave because I can’t stand the smell of smoke.

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