so, if a group of people today volunteered to die 10 years early compared to the rest of the population, therefore consuming fewer resources, leaving a smaller carbon footprint, using less of their social security, easing the population explosion, all while increasing the income of both private industry and the federal government, wouldn't we congratulate them for that? give them a party? medals? their own memorial? i mean, this is a group who is willingly choosing to check out early from this hotel california, leaving more for the rest of us. they must be, depending on your worldview, either true christians for their selflessness, true environmentalists for their grasp of the big picture as it relates to humans being the biggest reason it's getting harder for the earth to sustain more humans, or the highest order of animal if you're a peta person who, while considering animals and humans equal in their worth, knows that animals who can contemplate their impact on the world around them further than their next meal would of course decide to move over and let others have more room to exist. any way you spin it, this is a good deal, right? i mean, these folks are knowingly going to give up 10 years of potential life.
so i propose that we change a few of our signs. first, not 'thank you for not smoking', but 'thank you for smoking - just don't do it right here'. a new one, 'smoking saves lives - just not yours'.
there are more, i'm sure. my affection for reverse psychology is irresistible here - by promoting smoking (like big tobacco doesn't already do that, by reverse psychology) we would be actually decreasing the number of new smokers. by encouraging kids to smoke, they'd come home from school saying 'are you trying to kill me? don't you know what this does to your lungs?' instead of 'i know that happens to everybody else who smokes, but it won't happen to me'.
we could, after seeing the success of the reverse psychology campaign for smoking, venture into other areas - i envision the teacher taking the condom off of a banana, demonstrating how to properly tourniquet one's arm to shoot up heroin, of course using a dirty shared needle, while drinking a fifth of jack daniels and driving down the highway. it could work!
addendum: the article in the paper said that while smokers cost more in healthcare dollars than nonsmokers BUT they died on average 10 years earlier so the total 'lifetime' cost was actually lower. this was my 'inspiration'.