Last Update: 26 Feb 00
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SMOKING AND DRINKING
It's a bit strange to think that if either cigarettes or alcohol were brand new products brought up for FDA approval, they would both be rejected resoundingly. Certainly, there are a great many products that are far less harmful that have been given the thumbs-down.
As you might guess, I neither smoke nor drink. Smoking is a no-brainer. Despite the seemingly-infinite war chests and lobbying campaigns of the tobacco companies, there is still not the slightest shred of evidence to suggest that smoking is anything but a deadly behavior or that nicotine is anything but an powerfully-addictive drug. Even so much as one cigarette is harmful to the smoker's health. Everybody who smokes should stop. Nobody who doesn't smoke should start. Period. End of sentence. 'Nuff said...
Drinking is a mixed bag. Alcohol is not a harmful substance unless it is consumed in large quantities. There is some evidence that moderate drinking (no more than two drinks per day) can have some benefits. However, the social aspect of alcohol makes moderate consumption a rather difficult discipline to maintain. We're all familiar with what happens when one over-indulges in alcoholic beverages -- whether for one night or for a lifetime.
In fact, it's how alcohol is generally used -- and not the alcohol itself -- that causes the problems. How many people do you know who consume alcoholic beverages solely because of how they taste or because they might be thirsty? Undoubtedly, there are those who truly enjoy the taste, but without the "buzz", do you think that alcohol would be as popular as it is?
Unfortunately, it has been socially-acceptable to drink to excess practically since the first alcoholic beverage was created. Many people seem unable even to have a good time without "getting loaded" in the process. I always wondered how much "fun" somebody could be having if they awoke the next day unable to remember what they had done the night before - or who they might have done it with. Yet, if one attempts to throw an "alcohol-free" party -- no matter how great it might be -- it is likely not to draw much of a crowd. Too bad.
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