Doug Masson is one of Indiana's best bloggers. He focuses on local politics and news mostly; he's a daily stop on the intertubes for both Jerame and I. He did a post Saturday about Indiana's high rate of smokers and he used an interesting comparison. What do you think of it?
...Indiana is passed only by West Virginia in percentage of adult smokers. At 26.1%, we have more smokers than Kentucky. In this day and age, what in the world would possess you to start or continue smoking? Of course, the fact is, while starting smoking is a free choice, once the habit is established, the decision to stop smoking is not a simple matter of choice. Your body is addicted, and your mind is no longer the free agent we contemplate in simplistic economic scenarios...
It occurs to me that some of the arguments made by social conservatives against normalizing homosexuality in our society actually make some sense when applied to smoking. Smoking is a choice, not how you are born. Smoking is harmful behavior. There is a Tobacco Industry agenda to convert young people to make a lifestyle choice. Smoking in mainstream culture may make my kids think it's o.k., and cause them to choose a harmful lifestyle. So, while I don't necessarily support criminalizing smoking, I might be open to the idea of getting the behavior into the closet.
It reminds me of that "Smoking Is So Gay" public service announcement by the Onion.