C is for Cigarettes. Also for Cancer.
I quit smoking in 1975. Of course, with 20/20 hindsight, I should never have started in the first place. But sixty-plus years ago, cigarettes were cool. Edward R. Murrow, probably the most respected journalist of the 20th century and one of my heroes, interviewed guests on his CBS television show with a lit cigarette in one hand. How cool was that!
Now, 42 years after the last puff of my last cigarette, they’ve found a tumor on my left lung that’s probably malignant. According to the surgeon who’s going to remove it, if you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for ten years, your chances of getting lung cancer “increase significantly.” And it makes no difference how long ago you quit. Damn! Who knew?
I’ll tell you who knew . . . these guys knew! In April of 1994, the top executives from the largest tobacco companies in the United States appeared before a Congressional committee. They raised their right hands and, one at a time, they all testified under oath that they did not believe cigarette smoking is addictive.
Of course, they knew. They knew that tobacco is highly addictive and that smoking causes cancer and other diseases. But their allegiance was to their stockholders and not to the general public. That’s capitalism and those are the rules.
We need to remember those bozos from Big Tobacco whenever we hear business moguls complaining about too much government regulation. Reasonable government oversight and control is necessary and appropriate because without it, business and industry will get away with as much as they can, even if it means people have their homes repossessed . . . even if they lose their life’s savings . . . even if they get sick and die.
And so endith today’s rant.
I’m scheduled for surgery Wednesday morning and will resume these ramblings as soon as I’m up to it. By the way, Edward R. Murrow died of cancer. He was 57.
Best wishes on a speedy recovery!
Here’s wishing for a successful surgery and a fast and easy recovery, Jim.
Thank you for this post – and I respectfully wish to reclassify it. The truth is not a rant.
I wish you the best during your surgery and recovery! Hope for a speedy return back to train travel.
I do wish you all the best for the surgery. Thankfully I have never smoked. I hated my father being near me with his almost non-stop smoking. I suffered from asthma but grew out of it once I was old enough to spend less of my time in the house. My Father died of a heart attack at age 66, his 2nd, he gave up smoking after the first 6 months earlier. I am now 73. My mother lived to 97 but had pulmonary fibrosis and had continual oxygen for the last year of her life. I believe that was due to my father’s smoking, she never smoked. They said her heart was very strong to the end and I have been told I inherited that, thankfully. I am very anti-smoking, cover my face with a handkerchief if a smoker approaches and wish they did not still make movies with the actors continually smoking. It may be realistic for a movie set in the 50’s or 60’s or earlier but I do not think it is necessary. I wonder how much sponsorship they get from tobacco companies.
Wishing you the very best. I smoked a pack a day from high school until age 30. I sympathize with people speaking about lawsuit abuse, that is until I remember that taming big tobacco was a function of the courts.