Midweek Rant #18: Telling Old People They’re Going to Die

It’s safe to say we’ve reached that point where it’s socially acceptable to tell people they’re going to die from smoking cigarettes.

I myself fall into the very large category of “only when I’m drinking” smokers.  This, the largest group of twenty-somethings, would be willing to name their first-born children after you if you were to bum them a cigarette at a party or outside a bar.  Fortunately there exists this arena in which smokers can not only avoid vilification, but also achieve ‘hero’ status by providing a fag to someone that’s totally jonesin’.

Outside of this arena, however, the “only when I’m drinking” smokers will keep quiet and be of no assistance as the “never would I ever” smokers sling rocks of Truth at poor, defenseless, and helplessly addicted smokers.  Clearly not having enough will power to beat their addiction, they are no match for the self righteous do gooders on a quest to rid the world of this awful plant…tobacco.

I have known “never would I ever” folk that would do hard drugs – mushrooms, cocaine – and yet they would go out of their way to scold someone for smoking.  Lots of people smoke pot, which contains as many if not more carcinogens than tobacco, and for some reason they just don’t “get” how people could smoke cigarettes.  Someone might be an absolutely perfect citizen and do nothing wrong at all, and yet still they will be an asshole and a hypocrite if they choose to berate someone for exercising a God-given freedom in a legal manner, when done in a courteous and respectful way.  Yes, cigarettes are terrible.  But two wrongs don’t make a right.  

People are people, and we like to put each other down when possible.  It’s a bummer, but it happens.  But regardless of how much veracity there is in the attack, I find it completely unacceptable when this is done to old people.

Here’s the thing.

Old people have lived much longer than you, and no matter how smart you think you are, they are smarter…because they lived longer than you.  Sure, they don’t even know how to turn on a computer, let alone send an email.  They don’t know how to do that crazy hard Calculus problem you got right on your last exam.  They may have only been educated through the 8th grade, but trust me – they’re smarter than you.

They understand that smoking is bad for them.  If you were as smart as they were, you’d understand that telling them they’re going to die from smoking is not going to help them quit.  Please stop talking down to them and let them enjoy the rest of their lives.


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