Both of my parents smoked when I was a kid. My father eventually quit, but my mother smoked until my father was unable to care for her and we had to put her in a nursing home, which did not permit smoking indoors. Because she was confined to a bed, she spent her remaining years desperately craving cigarettes. Whenever we would visit her, there was nothing that pleased her more than to be lifted out of bed, put into a wheelchair, and wheeled outside for a smoke. She eventually passed away, but not from cancer.
I play pool in a league on Monday nights. There are lots of smokers in the pool hall where I play, and the pool hall has lots of bulky, heavy-duty air filters installed to dispose of the smoke for the benefit of the non-smokers. Every so often, representatives from the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company show up to hand out free packs of cigarettes to those who want them. The smokers stroll up to get their free cigarettes, then they scour the pool hall for non-smokers such as me. The smoker who finds me asks me if I’ll go up and get another handout of free cigarettes, doubling their take for the night.
I usually comply, as a simple friendly courtesy. The R.J. Reynolds representative has a portable scanner that they use to scan my driver’s license. As a result, I get lots of junk mail from R.J. Reynolds. It’s usually fairly modest marketing crap, but yesterday, this 5-inch square box came in the mail:
The box consisted of a sleeve, which when removed, revealed this tray:
Inside the tray was a package:
Inside the package was a cigarette box:
Inside the cigarette box was a “buy one get one free” cigarette coupon:
I’m not saying that cigarettes are addictive, although I believe that. I’m not saying cigarettes cause cancer, although I believe that as well. But I think the evidence in this package is sufficient enough to say that the R.J. Reynolds company doesn’t care one little bit about your lungs, because they’re perfectly willing to cut down oxygen-producing trees in huge numbers just to get you to buy one pack of cigarettes.