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Smoking Politicians

ZOË RICE: Tom Brokaw, allow me to virtually fist bump you for writing this recent op-ed piece. Perhaps I will seem square for shaking my fist at cigarettes, and indeed I’m a former smoker myself (nearly ten years past quitting). But the toll this devastating habit takes on our country’s health shouldn’t be downplayed. Obesity may be the health-epidemic-du-jour (and a worthy one), but could Michelle Obama take an equally firm stance against smoking? She and her family stand in all their leanness as examples of fighting childhood obesity, a cause she publicly rallies against. However her husband, our President, can not act as a role model in the fight against tobacco addiction. And I think that should be part of his job.

AKIE BERMISS: I can completely understand where Zoë is coming from, but I disagree wholeheartedly. I mean, I agree that smoking is probably the most horrible and deadly of all bad habits, that far too many Americans do it, and that many of us are likely to die from it. On the other hand, as a smoker (of cigars), I understand what it means to have a vice. I understand how worldly pressures can lead to comfort in acting out “bad” habits. There’s nothing I crave more at the end of a hard day than a nice cigar and some peace and quiet. And I say, let a man have his vices. Assuredly, too many vices is not a good thing but a person with no vices at all? That’s just disturbing.
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