The war on smoking continues in Denton and across the nation. It began in earnest when the U.S. surgeon general reported in 1964 that smoking is hazardous to your health and could lead to a cancer diagnosis.
Now, 54 years later, the city of Denton is finally getting around to banning indoor smoking in all bars and restaurants.
The Denton Record-Chronicle published a front-page photo of two guys smoking and one guy vaping at The Loophole, a watering hole on the Square. As of Jan. 1, they will have to take their cigarettes and electronic vaping devices outside to patio areas and use them between gulps of adult beverages.
Smokers have become the equivalent of modern-day lepers, shunned because of the dangers associated with second-hand smoke and because stale smoke covers their clothes and makes them smell like an ashtray.
Many people continue to smoke because nicotine is so addictive. Some researchers say it's harder to stop smoking than to stop using heroin.
This is serious stuff. Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans every day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Anti-smoking commercials currently running on television are pretty startling. They assert that more people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined.
Among the diseases associated with smoking are heart disease, emphysema, acute myeloid leukemia, and cancer of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, lung, stomach, kidney, bladder and pancreas. Smoking also is linked to reduced fertility, low birth weight in newborns, and cervical cancer.
Today, it's beyond question that tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction. Nicotine changes the brain, and that's why it's so hard to quit.
Smokers love to fool themselves into thinking that vaping is safer than cigarettes. Or that so-called "organic" or "natural" cigarettes are safe. But make no mistake about it.
There is no safe cigarette.
Many smokers pay as much as $7.50 for a pack of coffin nails. That price alone should be enough to convince people to stop slowly killing themselves.