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This week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came out with a series of rather graphic pictures meant to dissuade folks from smoking. You may have seen them. If you did you’ll certainly remember them. If you didn’t, well, I always write for the family audience and it just wouldn’t be appropriate for me to describe them. Suffice it to say, they include plenty of real life medical afflictions. If you have a queasy stomach, don’t look at them. And don’t smoke, too.

It took about three generations for cigarette smoking to go from “therapeutic” to “life-threatening.” Despite the many scientific studies showing its link to cancer, an assertive marketing campaign on the part of the tobacco industry and the associated political campaign allied with it effectively thwarted early efforts. For a long time, regular people just didn’t believe smoking could have been that bad. Even worse, when the final nail in the coffin (pun intended) eventually did arrived, it didn’t come from hard science (as it should have), it came from a gaggle of trial attorneys.

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