In earlier times, one had to go outside for a breath of fresh air. Now, one must brave a cloud of smoke to reach somewhat fresher air than one can experience inside.
I have never smoked. Never even tried. There must be a number of reasons, but one was because my parents smoked so much. I do not recall ever having the urge or having been tempted by advertising, peer pressure, or common usage around me. I was always repulsed, with the worst suffering being stuck in a middle seat between two smokers on a transatlantic flight (before the days of even non-smoking sections).
Now, one spots poor souls with furtive expression shivering in the cold or sweating in the midday heat outside buildings in most civilized countries (poor nations have yet to demand such suffering), dramatically sucking on expensive tubes of paper. I do not feel sorry for them, because I suffered for years from second-hand smoke in cars, restaurants, meeting rooms, etc.. I have inhaled more than enough of impurities produced by people satisfying an addiction.
One or two of these people, who once (perhaps) thought holding a cigarette made them elegant, sophisticated, or whatever, must be intelligent. Still, little do they realize how pathetic they look. What is sophisticated about openly displaying on the sidewalk one’s need for self-indulgence and/or self-destruction?
If governments did not earn so much money from taxation, perhaps they would ban the practice. Not that this would work, because weak people will always find a way to satisfy an addiction, especially one which they are not willing to admit to having...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.