Let me begin by stating one simple fact: I loathe smoking. It was a factor in both my parents’ deaths. It’s a foul, stinking, habit that kills people, but slowly enough that too many don’t care. If the tobacco plant were to vanish from the face of the earth, I would do a happy dance. Subsidies to tobacco farmers is probably the single government expenditure that most drives me insane.
That being said, I have to once again decry the insanity of the Massachusetts judicial system. The Supreme Judicial Court, the same body that gave the country officially sanctioned gay marriage by a 4-3 vote, has been weighing a lawsuit against Philip Morris by the widow of a smoker who died of lung cancer. And they have ruled that the smoker cannot be blamed for his own death.
For 40 years, cigarettes have carried warning labels. And their health threats have been known for far longer. Any one who smokes knows full well the hazards of smoking — or at least ought to. And nobody is ever forced to become a smoker — it’s a conscious decision, and one that (as I understand it) takes a bit of effort — it’s a highly unnatural act, and takes considerable practice and effort to get over the unpleasant aspects of smoking. We are bombarded with anti-smoking messages and campaigns, the drug stores are filled with products to help smokers quit, taxes on cigarettes are getting higher and higher, and laws against smokers are getting more and more draconian. In short, it’s getting harder and harder to begin and continue smoking, and takes a lot of effort to begin and sustain the habit.
But the Supreme Judicial Court doesn’t recognize that. To them, apparently Philip Morris kidnapped Stephen Haglund as a youth and forced him to start smoking. They gave him cigarettes at every opportunity. And every time he tried to quit, the came around and threatened his family before tying him up and sticking more and more cigarettes into his mouth. He did nothing wrong, contributed not one whit to his death. It’s all the fault of that evil tobacco company.
Some day, my innate laziness may win out and I may move to Massachusetts. I will just give up on being independent and responsible for myself and free, and let Big Nanny run my life for me while I do whatever the hell I like with myself.
On that day, I hope some kind soul kills me, because at that point I will no longer deserve to live.