Words are such powerful things. Words can be a power for good when used well, and a power for ill when used wrong. Something seems wrong with that last sentence, doesn’t it? But this post isn’t about grammatical errors, it is about wrong words. It is about how using the wrong words facilitates enormous suffering throughout the world. This post is about the power of nuance. It is specifically about one wrong word in particular
One has to wonder why there is public resistance to making tobacco products illegal? I suspect it is extremely clever public policy influencing by incredibly wealthy, incredibly immoral, and incredibly greedy corporations. Sadly not only are pubic officials easily influenced, but outright bribery and corruption is alive, well, and officially tolerated in the form of “campaign contributions”. An abominable lack of governmental leadership has permitted big tobacco to confuse people everywhere into thinking smoking is a matter of choice when it is really a matter of addiction. As a result many people are keen to “stand up for their rights“, indeed many people who don’t even smoke tobacco are willing to support the rights of smokers.
What rights, precisely, are they standing up for?
The right to become addicted to a drug with no known benefits and a massive laundry list of detrimental effects, many of which are fatal? The right to a significantly shorter and unhealthier life? The right to part with a substantial amount of their income, for no benefit whatsoever? The right of irresponsible parents to addict their children to an utterly worthless and incredibly damaging drug? The right for individuals to adversely affect the health of everyone around them, as well as their own?
Standing up for those individual rights is downright wrong.
Do you still think using tobacco is a personal right? Then let me give you some personal information that might sway you to correct your thinking. And yes, the evidence is incontrovertible, if you still think tobacco is a personal right your thinking needs to be corrected.
I have calculated the personal direct monetary cost of smoking in my household, where only my wife smokes. In the thirty years we’ve been together she has spent enough money on cigarettes for us to purchase three brand new mid-range cars. In that same time period we have only been able to afford three brand new mid-range cars. And what have we gained from the exorbitant expense of her addiction? We have gained the anticipation of her leaving this world years earlier than she should, unfortunately that is not a gain, it is an enormous loss. My wife is not some weak-minded wimp, she is a wonderful person who cares enough about her family to never smoke inside our home or cars. However she is also a hopeless addict who doesn’t even want to try and kick “the habit“. It is well past time people everywhere changed their thinking and stopped using words like habit to describe this filthy, damaging, and disgusting addiction.
Perhaps when we start using the right words things will finally start to change, and the right word for tobacco is not “habit“, it is “addict“.