If you smoke and you still don't believe that there's a definite link between smoking and bronchial troubles, heart disease and lung cancer, then you are certainly deceiving yourself. No one will accuse you of hypocrisy. Let us just say that your are suffering from a bad case of wishful thinking. This needn't make you too comfortable because your are in good company. Whenever the subject of smoking and health is raised, the governments of most countries hear no evil, see no evil and semll no evil. Admittedly, a few governments have taken timid measures. In Britan, for instance, cigarette advertising has been banned on television. The conscience of the nation is appeased, while the population continuous to puff its way to smoky, cancerous death.
You don't have to look very far to find out why the official reactions to medical findings have been so luke-warm. The answer is simply money. Tobacco is a wonderful commodity to tax. It's almost like a tax on our daily bread. In tax revenue alone, the government of Britian collects enough from smokers to pay for its entire educational facilities. So while the authorities point out ever so discreetly that smoking may, conceivably, be harmful, it doesn't do to shout too loudly about it.
This is surely the most short-sighted policy you could imagine. While money is eagerly collected in vast sum with one hand, it is paid out in increasingly vaster sums with the other. Enormous amounts are spent on cancer research and on efforts to cure people suffering from the disease. Countless valuable lives are lost. In the long run, there is no doubt that everybody would be much better-off if smoking were banned altogether.
Of course, we are not ready for such drastic action. But if the governments of the world were honestly concerned about the welfare of their peoples, you'd think they'd conduct aggressive anti-smoking campaigns. Far from it! The tobacco industry is allowed to spend staggering sums on advertising. Its advertising is as insidious as it is dishonest. We are never shown pictures of real smokers coughing up their lungs early in the morning. That would never do. The advertisements always depict virlie clean-shaven young men. They suggest it is manly to smoke, even positively healthy! Smoking is associated with the great open-air life, with beautiful girls, true love and togetherness. What utter nonsense!
For a start, governments could begin by banning all cigaratte and tobacco advertising and should then conduct anti-smoking advertising campaigns of their own. Smoking should be banned in all public places like theatres, cinemas and restaurants. Great efforts should be made to inform young people especially of the dire consequences of taking up the habit. A horrific warning-say, a picture of a death's head- should be included in every packet of cigarettes that is sold. As individuals we are certainly weak, but if govenments acted honestly and courageously, they could protect us from ourselves.