Gallop Poll (Mitt Romney's pollster) has found that a fifth of Americans believe smoking should be banned from our lives and eight of ten think it should be illegal to smoke in public.
That's quite a change from a generation ago when a near majority of American adults (and a hell of a lot of kids) smoked and smoking was seen as part of a normal, everyday life in movies, advertising, books--everywhere. In 1965, 42.4 percent of Americans smoked, most often without repercussion.
If you smoke these days, you're more likely to be considered a pariah. Can't do it at places like ballgames and festivals, restaurants and concerts. It's harder to get and keep a job if you smoke. It's harder to get and keep a girlfriend/boyfriend if you smoke (take a look at the online dating services and count up how many people are looking for a smoker to link up with).
In Europe, smoking remains aggressive and obnoxious. Here it's becoming rare and a habit of the poor and the uneducated.
Twenty percent of U.S. adults smoke and nearly 70 percent of them want to quit, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Smoking's costs in our country are put at $97 billion in lost productivity plus $96 billion in health care expenditures. Want to understand why health care costs are so high? Look at smoking and obesity.
About five million deaths a year are ascribed to smoking. In the U.S., that number is 440,000 with another 40,000 dying from second hand smoke. It looks like the numbers are catching the tobacco industry. Finally.