I am not a tobacco person. My father could knock down three packs of unfiltered Pall Mall a day. I always disliked the smell but I didn’t know how bad it was until I went away to college. When I came home a few weeks later for my first visit, I couldn’t believe the smell. All those years I smelled like stale smoke and never knew. You get used to almost anything. I suppose most of the other kids in school smelled the same. Almost everybody smoked in those days. I was never tempted to try cigarettes. My generation came of age just as the dangers of smoking became clear. Besides, I was on the swim team. You cannot be a good swimmer if you smoke.
I am glad that smoking is no longer allowed in the office or on buses or airplanes. I remember how bad it used to be on long flights. But I do feel sorry for those suckers who have to stand outside in the cold to get in their smoke. We may have gone too far in the other direction. Smokers are one of the only groups left that can be disparaged with impunity in this PC world. Many of the farmers near my forests in Brunswick County still grow tobacco and it grows wild on my land. Tobacco was America’s first cash crop. The colonies around Chesapeake Bay probably would have failed if not for the noxious weed. Tobacco is hard on the soil, so its cultivation tended to push the colonists into exploring new land looking for new places to plant. Tobacco built Virginia, so its not all bad, but many of the soils still have not recovered.
I understand how much the troops in Iraq loved their cigars. I wrote a posting about the Marines’ love affair with the cigar. Somebody read that post just yesterday and told me about the way his company provided cigars to the troops. This is the link.