THE ISSUE: North Carolina is considering raising the legal smoking age to 21 — treating tobacco the same as alcohol. If passed, purchasing by or selling tobacco products to minors would be a class 2 misdemeanor. People disagree as to whether this is an effective public health measure or a restriction on freedom. You can read the other point of view here.
The health risks of smoking, even to smokers, are accepted as reality. Yet to paraphrase i‑ek, we know what we are doing. We choose to do it anyway.
Around 15 percent of American adults currently continue to smoke cigarettes in the face of a relatively constant rate of decline in the practice. Those who do are disproportionately poor and uneducated. Smoking is now a thoroughly classed activity, which of course explains a large bit of the ideological vigor with which smokers are currently gone after.
It seems for upper middle class busybodies, low wages and dim prospects are not enough punishment for the masses. What small pleasures one can take in a day, cigarettes particularly, should be snatched out of the hand too.
If one is upper or upper middle class and dares to smoke, betraying the class, they are often viciously accosted or more politely isolated outside of events or meetings. The joke is on the busybodies: outside, smoking, is where the coolest people inevitably meet.