Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nicotine Talk: Just So Much Hot Air

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nicotine Talk: Just So Much Hot Air

Article excerpt

MILLIONS of Americans have used a simple but effective method to quit smoking.

One of them was my wife. A couple of them were my closest friends.

Here's how they did it. They said: "I quit."

And they did.

They didn't chew nicotine-laced gum. They didn't put nicotine patches on their arms. They didn't join support groups, go to a clinic, consult a shrink, or undergo hypnosis or acupuncture.

They just decided that putting smoke in their lungs was bad for their health, and they stopped doing it.

Was it easy? No, each experienced some discomfort. But they stopped and haven't had a puff in years.

That's the way the majority of people who successfully quit smoking have done it: cold turkey.

Yes, the various aids - patches, gum and so on - might make it easier. But long before they existed, people actually did it on their own and still do.

Which is why it is kind of silly for the Clinton campaign to be boasting that Clinton has deeper concerns about smokers than Bob Dole.

They have jumped all over Dole because he said something to the effect that he isn't sure how addictive nicotine is.

If Dole meant that he doesn't think nicotine is addictive, he's wrong. It is. But I don't think that's what he meant.

If he meant that some people are more easily addicted than others to nicotine or other harmful substances and behavior - which I think is what he meant - then he's right.

That not only applies to cigarettes but also to booze, drugs, gambling, eating too much, eating the wrong foods, trying to be too skinny or engaging in dangerous sex.

Hardly a day passes without a new addiction being defined.

Recently, some researchers said we have an alarming growth of computer users who have become addicted to wandering the Internet for hours on end.

I don't know what harm that does, because it keeps them out of bars and pool halls. But it is now considered an addiction.

So why are the two candidates for the presidency jousting over who worries most about the guy with the hacking cough?

The fact is neither political party nor either candidate can claim to be the unrepentant smoker's best pal.

By now, just about everyone knows that smoking is bad for the health. …

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