I read an email the other day that contained this bummer of a statement: "Cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users."
It's not news, but it's true.
If somebody invented cigarettes today, they'd be tossed in the clink. A thing you burn, that creates annoying smoke, and will kill you if you keep using it? And it's addictive, designed to make you want to keep using it?
There is no reason for cigarettes to be legal. Maybe you don't like the government telling you what to do, but currently the cigarette companies are the ones telling you what to do.
Specifically, they are telling you that it is a-OK, even cool, to light some carcinogens on fire and inhale the smoke. As a bonus, you're messing with the lungs and brains of people who come near you. Why the hell would you want to do that?
The government is very, very belatedly dealing with the situation (how long have we known cigarettes are useless death sticks?) but this litany of recommendations and restrictions don't really go far enough.
There are now plans afoot in various places in the world to regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes so that it falls below addictive levels. (The FDA recently opened up a docket for public comments on this very topic in the US, for example.)
If this becomes the new norm, nobody will have the excuse that they're smoking because they are addicted. You will literally be filling your lungs with garbage smoke for no reason. Good luck to the tobacco companies, who will probably still find a way to market the heck out of this.