SMOKING AND DRINKING|
It's a bit strange to think that if either cigarettes or
alcohol were brand new products brought up for FDA approval, they would both be
rejected resoundingly. Certainly, there are a great many products that are far
less harmful that have been given the thumbs-down.
As you might guess, I
neither smoke nor drink. Smoking is a no-brainer. Despite the
seemingly-infinite war chests and lobbying campaigns of the tobacco companies,
there is still not the slightest shred of evidence to suggest that smoking is
anything but a deadly behavior or that nicotine is anything but an
powerfully-addictive drug. Even so much as one cigarette is harmful to the
smoker's health. Everybody who smokes should stop. Nobody who doesn't smoke
should start. Period. End of sentence. 'Nuff said...
Drinking is a mixed
bag. Alcohol is not a harmful substance unless it is consumed in large
quantities. There is some evidence that moderate drinking (no more than two
drinks per day) can have some benefits. However, the social aspect of alcohol
makes moderate consumption a rather difficult discipline to maintain. We're all
familiar with what happens when one over-indulges in alcoholic beverages -
whether for one night or for a lifetime.
In fact, it's how
alcohol is generally used - and not the alcohol itself - that causes the
problems. How many people do you know who consume alcoholic beverages solely
because of how they taste or because they might be thirsty? Undoubtedly, there
are those who truly enjoy the taste, but without the "buzz", do you think that
alcohol would be as popular as it is?
Unfortunately, it has
been socially-acceptable to drink to excess practically since the first
alcoholic beverage was created. Many people seem unable even to have a good
time without "getting loaded" in the process. I always wondered how much "fun"
somebody could be having if they awoke the next day unable to remember what they
had done the night before - or who they might have done it with. Yet, if one
attempts to throw an "alcohol-free" party - no matter how great it might be - it
is likely not to draw much of a crowd. Too bad.
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