400,000 deaths?

[from Mary Powers 940504]

Gary Cziko (940503)

So tobacco is addictive and smokers get the "right" dose no
matter how "mild" the cigarette. So what else is new?

I do want to comment on the government statistics blaming 400,000
deaths a year on tobacco. Blame is the word. I recently read
somewhere (wish I knew where) that these statistics include ALL
cases of lung, esophagal, and larynx cancer, emphysema, etc.
Never mind that lots of folks spent their working careers in
uranium mines, or that people my age grew up in coal-heated
cities, and spot-cleaned their clothes with carbon tetrachloride,
and so on.

One fall-out of this here blame is that it doesn't explain how
people who never smoked end up dead of the above diseases. Oh, we
have the answer! Second-hand smoke! The one and true villain.

I am perfectly willing to concede that to a certain extent
smoking and second-hand smoke cause problems. But the campaign
against them is so thoroughly nasty and righteous and gleeful. At
the library, as I was gradually being pushed out to the
sidewalk - first stop, a segregated table in the staff room - I
mentioned to the black janitor that it felt like the back of the
bus, and he and I connected at a deep level of understanding,
with hugs and tears in the eyes.

Now, of course, no one can be bothered with smoking rooms or
the technologically elementary business of improved ventilation.
Out into the streets with all you disgusting people! (25% of the
adult population). We can blame the consequent increase in upper
respiratory infections on the smoking, since standing around in
the snow and rain obviously has nothing to do with it.

Mary P.