Isn't Addiction a Lifestyle Choice?

RECEIVED Mon., April 25, 2005

To the editor,
    OK, three times is enough. Louis Black, Michael King, and now Daniel Mottola have in the course of arguing the pros and cons of smoking bans, called smoking a “lifestyle choice.” No one can claim ignorance of the truth that smoking is not a lifestyle choice. It is a devastating addiction that kills 1,000% more people per year than all other drugs combined. Smoking is not a choice. It is a compulsion brought on by experiencing the effects and then having to continue. Even the tobacco companies have admitted it and paid heavily for pushing it to children.
    Smoking is a horrible addiction, and we have finally trumped the poor tobacco companies' bulging PR coffers and gotten the word out. There will be no turning back. There is no argument from a smoker that means anything. They are sick people who need help. Just like alcoholics, we must approach them with understanding and kindness and then try to help in any way we can. Secondhand smoke is not even an issue. The source of the problem is and always has been that they are trapped in a desperate compulsion brought on by a substance that attracts and then kills. If I can do anything to help them, I will. Banning smoking anywhere helps them. They are the real victims, and any business that depends upon encouraging this horrible addiction in order to survive (like tobacco companies or bars) must be eliminated. There is no argument that can validate preying upon these unfortunate addicts in order to make a living.
Michael Hankin
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