Not much humor in this one. I hope my friends who smoke don't take offense by this. It's not directed to them, or not directly. In my work, I send documents out. Lots of 'em. The numbers are declining, because we live in the e-age, and that's probably a good thing. But still, paper flies out the door on a daily basis. Let's say that I discovered that embedded in the paper was a chemical that caused people not only to get sick but also had addictive properties so they started contacting me for more shipments simply so they could keep handling this toxic paper, because they just couldn't help themselves. They handle the paper, they wear out the chemical, they want more paper, they handle it again, start to get sick, wear it out, order more, get sicker. Now, if that were to happen, I - and any of us moral beings - would be HORRIFIED. We'd stop sending that paper out. We'd try to recall what we'd already sent. We'd sever our connection with the paper supplier. Whatever it took, we'd do what we'd have to do, in order to stop our willful poisoning of our fellow humans. UNLESS we were a tobacco business developer. Then we'd analyze it to find out what this addictive stuff is in order to put MORE of it in there, and get it out in even MORE ways. We'd lobby legislatures to keep it legal as an informed choice of the consumer. And we'd start marketing our poison paper to younger and younger consumers to get them drawn into longer and longer addictions. Because we're building a business based on dependence of this toxic stuff that we're supplying, and young addicts make for good long-term business. Don't roll your eyes at me and say it's not a fair comparison. It's exactly fair. It's a vivid reflection of what has actually gone on. Understand, I'm not faulting the consumer in this, the smoker. At least, not too much. It's painfully obvious how harmful this legal drug is, and also painfully obviously, people will make decisions against their best interests that will harm them for life, and they're often making this choice when they're emotionally immature. And who knows. Maybe this experience will help them learn to make better decisions, like not running cars over cliffs or pointing guns at their own heads or getting face tattoos before filing to run in the next Congressional election or thinking Drano might be a good mix with Southern Comfort. I can fault the government to some extent, and you know the argument. If people can't buy Vicodin and heroin and hash brownies out in the free market, why are they allowed to buy tobacco products that are just as harmful? But I understand the difficulty. Tobacco is legacy-legal. We tried Prohibition to limit a legal-but-harmful product before, and that didn't work out so hot. Just because a camel has its nose in the tent doesn't mean we should let in the whole herd. (Yes, that was an intentional pun.) Besides, there are millions of people currently and legally addicted to tobacco, and they consider it their ongoing legal right to keep feeding their addiction. Then you factor in the supply of millions of legal guns if we decide to cut off their smokes. Hey, it could get ugly. But I'm not talking about the smoker. I'm not talking about the government (and so I'm bucking the current popular trend). I'm talking about the producer, the marketer, the distributor. The ones who know what they're doing to their fellow citizens when they send this crap out. So, speaking of Prohibition, we have a number of toasts in this world when people raise a glass of adult beverage. In Russia, we might say, "Za vashe zdorovie!" In Sweden, a toast is a skål. In Mexico, "Salud!" In Scotland, "Sláinte!" And it all translates (more or less) as, "Health!" When tobacco executives have drinks and clink glasses, do they say, "Addiction!" Or, "Slow degeneration and death!"? I mean, it would be a little hypocritical to toast to health when their careers, their livelihoods, are engaged in dismantling it. Unless it would be, "To health, despite us!" Now, if you're feeling defensive and want to point out people and companies in the cigarette industry who treat others kindly, who contribute to charity, who coach youth soccer, I believe you. That's good for them. And for that matter, I'm sure there are drug cartel leaders who are wonderful family men and caring employers. But they're still doing what they're doing, and what they're doing is a severe, often fatal, detriment to others. For the life of me, I can't understand how people do this willfully, to take conscious actions that they know will sicken and make addicts of people. How they can purposefully push products that they know will severely degrade others' quality of life? I simply don't comprehend how these folks can live with themselves doing all that, unless they're just so bereft of morality and goodwill that the welfare of their fellow humans simply doesn't matter to them, or matters less than an ongoing business model.