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Smoking is a vile habit, unless it s cigars

Congress sent to the White House legislation that gives the federal government new powers to regulate and restrict cigarettes, the single largest cause of preventable death. I hope it doesn't include cigars.

Smoking is a vile habit that not only makes a woman's breath smell bad, but can lead to any one of a dozen or more diseases. The same applies to men, although their breath may not have smelled sweet in the first place.

President Barack Obama, who has spoken of his own struggle to quit smoking, praised the bill, saying it "will make history by giving the scientists and medical experts at the FDA the power to take sensible steps." Maybe Obama should smoke a cigar every now and then just to keep in the habit.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chief sponsor of the House version, called the regulation "the single most important thing that we can do right now to curb this deadly toll." I agree. More than 400,000 people die every year from tobacco-related diseases, according to government figures. About 45 million U.S. adults are smokers, though the prevalence has fallen since the U.S. surgeon general's warning 45 years ago that tobacco causes lung cancer. You'll note that these figures don't break out cigars.

The bill puts special emphasis on dissuading some of the 3,500 young people who every day smoke a cigarette for the first time. It prohibits use of candied and flavored cigarettes popular among young people and severely restricts advertisements and promotions

targeted toward youth. It bans use of words such as "mild" or "light" that give the impression that the brand is safer.

Now, wait a minute, I do smoke "mild" cigars occasionally, and while I'm not going get on a high horse and write about government intrusion into private enterprise, I don't see anything wrong with a good cigar now and then. Sure, I'm risking several forms of cancer, but I take a risk every time I walk across Main Street to get my hair cut, and don't get nearly as much pleasure.

Writer Mark Twain - who was almost never seen without a cigar - tried to give them up when he got married and found it the hardest two weeks of his life. His novel, "Roughing It" was written about this time and while OK, it wasn't one of his better works.

In a perfect world I would advocate the total ban of cigarettes.But a fine cigar - and I'm not talking about those cheap plastic-tipped kind - is an instrument to be savored at the end of a day with a glass of cognac or wine. Better still is the opportunity to spend time with friends while savoring the aroma. It takes a long time to smoke a cigar. It can't be done quickly. There is also a lot of complexity in the aroma, depending on the type and age.

Sure, teens should avoid smoking at all cost. But to my way of thinking - which I'll admit may be clouded - a good cigar every now and then isn't that bad.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Source: Daily Democrat

Smoking is a vile habit, unless it s cigars