I’ve never been a smoker and never will be, but as some of you know, in college I dabbled a bit with cigarettes, just for the heck of it, mainly so I could pretend to be like Sgt. Saunders on “Combat” as my brothers had done before me.
Sarge favored Camel straights, and if those were good enough for Vic Morrow’s character and my brothers, they were good enough for me. Straights, for the uninitiated, have no filters.
With what seemed relatively little effort, I progressed to the point where I could smoke like a real smoker — that is, inhale the cancerous plume into my lungs without even coughing (I wasn’t bad at blowing smoke rings either, though I typically reserved that little trick for the odd occasion when I would fire up a Swisher Sweet cigar).
During my first three college years, I probably went through 50 Camels and 20 Swishers. I knew I would never end up a habitual smoker, and then I decided I was done even playing around with tobacco at some point during my junior year; it was after I saw a commercial for a special smokers’ toothpaste in which a woman took a drag on a cigarette and exhaled through a white handkerchief, staining it brown.
“If cigarette smoke does that to this handkerchief, think what it’s doing to your teeth,” she said.
Myself, I was thinking about what it was doing to my lungs, and I swore off even my infrequent brand of smoking that very evening.
I would prefer that people I care about not smoke, as it’s obviously an unhealthy waste of money, but I figure if anyone wants to smoke, it’s his or her business as long as the person doesn’t bother any nonsmokers with his or her habit.
And that includes not throwing cigarette butts, which these days almost always include filters, on the ground.
Those stupid filters will probably outlive us all; being synthetic, they do not biodegrade (I was just wondering the other day, why doesn’t some green scientist invent an organic filter, like something made out of, say, carcasses of those sponges that live in the ocean?).
Speaking of outliving, smokers obviously tend not to outlive nonsmokers, so from an actuarial standpoint they are sort of doing society a favor; on average they will take less out of Social Security, Medicare, etc.
But back to these filters:
Really, I just don’t get it. I mean, if you want to smoke, why not just go with straights and get the full effect, and if you don’t want the full effect, then why not just quit?
Filtered-cigarette smokers seem kind of wimpy to me. I mean, if I as a 20-year-old novice could handle the straights, can’t they?
When I am made king, the first thing I will do — OK, maybe the third, after outlawing soccer and dismantling the federal Department of Education — is to ban filtered cigarettes in an anti-litter move.
We seemingly can’t train smokers not to toss cigarette butts wherever they feel like it, but at least if they were smoking straights, those butts — just paper and tobacco — would be gone in a week, tops.
Until I am made king, I am asking all of you cigarette users to just say no to filters. I will even say please.
Thank you. Sarge would be proud of you.