Yesterday I made an admonishing gesture to a friend who is still smoking a pack or more of cigarettes each day. Waving my finger at him in passing, I reflected on his
surprising outrage at being called an addict by one of our mutual acquaintances. A smoker myself for twenty years before giving up cigarettes, I certainly consider cigarette smokers addicts.
Only an addict would go to such extraordinary lengths to obtain the source of his addiction. If, for example, I ran out of cigarettes, I would not stop seeking them until I was successful. I recall one Christmas I ran out of them and walked from one closed neighborhood store to another in South Philadelphia for over two and a half hours before finally finding an open convenience store on Broad street. The fact that I'd missed much of my family's celebration of the holiday was secondary to my craving for nicotine.
Too many times to remember I'd dress at two or three o'clock in the morning to obtain them. For
nothing else ever have I considered making such sacrifice or concession.
Only an addict would continue to present himself publicly as a social pariah. I think it is fair to say that most non-smokers view smokers with some revulsion. Since cigarette smoke is unpleasant to non-smokers and its health consequences are now understood by everyone, it is clear that anyone who smokes around others is saying, in
essence, "I don't care if my smoking sickens you" or "I don't really give a damn if what I'm doing kills you." Such perceptions by non-smokers can only negatively affect the social status of smokers. It's fairly common to hear people comment negatively about smokers these days. Words like "ignorant" and "disgusting" are ones often associated with cigarette smokers. I once...