I've been trying to talk myself into quitting smoking. That addiction has gripped me for 53 years. I quit shooting speed one day because, after 16 years, I realized it could kill me. I just quit and never did it again. After 28 years of drinking excessively, I went to an AA meeting and learned I could get sober and stay that way. But there's nothing to be done about smoking. After years of deleterious behavior, I was afraid there might be something wrong. I had a physical, and I turned out to be healthy and functioning correctly. All those years of dissolute living and nothing to show for it. But I can't talk myself into breaking the nicotine addiction since it isn't threatening my health...yet. I've heard heroin addicts say that it's easier to kick heroin than quit smoking. I've tried quitting smoking a few times. I make it to 4 days, then I get crazy irritable. I can't stand being that way, and people around me are at risk, so I start again. The real reason I want to quit is the expense. I'm burning up $6 a day. It's a crime. I could donate that money to DK, the ACLU, PFAW, the Sierra Club, the Humane Society, or any of the many other progressive or humanitarian causes I support. Anyway, thinking about my smoking habit led me to contemplating the anti-smoking campaign of a few years ago. I still marvel at what they accomplished and how successful the movement was. And I wondered why the gun regulation campaign can't be just as successful.
Smoking used to be as much a part of peoples' lives as guns, and I'd bet that when the anti-smoking effort started, there were more smokers than gun owners. When the anti-smoking movement started, I didn't expect it to get very far. I'm not sure but I think it really got rolling when some class-action lawyers down South sued either one cigarette maker or a bunch of them. Whatever. They won the suit and got billions of dollars out of the suit. (There was some controversy later. The lawyers sued on behalf of a state to recoup health care expenses, then failed to live up to their deal. Or something like that.) The point is, the cigarette maker, (I think it was Phillip-Morris), with zillions of dollars on hand to hire lawyers, pay lobbyists and buy elected officials, lost in court. It was totally unexpected, and it stunned the tobacco companies. Not only did it cost them billions of dollars, but they were stopped from advertising and sponsoring events and competitors. They can't claim their product is in any way healthy. Now, they can't label packs as light cigarettes, since they aren't any less of a hazard. I think they had to pay for a massive anti-smoking campaign directed at minors, and laws were enacted making it really illegal to sell cigarettes to minors. Cigarette machines were abolished. And the second-hand smoke issue was introduced. This led to abolishing smoking in almost any public place.
I've always smoked at home, and in someone else's home; I've smoked in restaurants and bars; in the hospital; on planes; working at the Harris Co. sheriff's office, dispatching; in my car; and in jail. When smoking started being abolished, I was certain there would be a limit to their success. I didn't believe they could stop people from smoking in bars. If I was drinking in a bar, I had to smoke. Not any more. (I don't go to bars or drink.) They actually managed to prevent smoking in bars. That left one sure exception. There was no way in hell that smoking could be eliminated from jails and prisons. No f_ing way. Couldn't be done. All those prisoners with all that time on their hands couldn't be cut off. Besides, cigarettes are commerce in prison. They buy drugs and other contraband. They're used to obtain information. They make friends. They can buy a hit, inside or out. There would be riots if the cons were denied cigarettes. And yet... So I say this: If smoking was curtailed everywhere, especially in prison, then regulating and restricting private ownership of military combat weapons and high capacity clips is not impossible. And forget the 2nd amendment. We've had so many Constitutionally protected rights taken away, this one isn't close to being important.
I know the NRA has managed to impose legislation on us that forbids anyone from suing gun makers when one of their weapons is used to commit mass murder. We need to replace several Senators and Representatives whom the NRA owns, and we need to get a whole bunch of laws passed that make firearm regulations strong and tight. I wish a young, idealistic lawyer would find a way to sue just one of the evil, greedy, heartless gun manufacturers. One successful lawsuit against that industry would be an epic victory.
So what about it? Does anyone else see that there's a good chance of prevailing over the industry whose products are way more deadly and dangerous than cigarettes? It's a public safety issue. It's a health issue. It's a moral issue. The gun makers and the NRA are the villains here. I'm tired of them defiling the Constitution by using it to justify and perpetuate their evil predilections.
I'd quit smoking if it would, in any way, move this effort along. Seriously.