Cigarettes smell bad. They pollute the environment.
Even the most dedicated smoker knows this. The fundamental truism that divides
the world into smokers and non-smokers, makes tobacco a uniquely anti-social
drug. History is full of people loitering
in doorways and hanging about on street corners, because the non-smokers
had decreed that smoking should not take place indoors.
There have been a few half-hearted attempts at total prohibition, but tobacco's
noxious character has made it effectively self-regulating. While we are
perfectly free to legally buy cigarettes, the army of non-smokers have made
damn sure we can't smoke them anywhere. Ever since tobacco's devastating
effects on health became known, all-out war has
been raging between the tobacco-free masses and the PR officers of the tobacco
firms. Caught in the middle are the sorry addicts, alternately apologizing
for their weaknesses, and noisily asserting their rights to a slow,
The reasons why tobacco has always slipped through the prohibition net are
fairly simple. It's way too boring a drug to seriously upset the puritans, and
nowhere near subversive enough to bother the powerful. It's irrestibly and
perfectly addictive, so a huge number of people will buy into it regularly,
raising relaible tax revenue for governments and turning a healthy profit for
the capitalists. The political influence of the
tobacco industry in the West is enormous. In the USA, as a direct result
of lobbying by the tobacco merchants, cigarettes are sold virtually unregulated.
In this case, money talks.