Wait, Now Smoking's Bad For You?

“One of the reasons we have not yet banned nicotine outright in this country,” a brilliant social theorist declared several years ago, “is that it is the cheapest treatment for anxiety that we have, in the sense that majority of the people suffering from the mental issues that are somewhat soothed by nicotine will pay for the drug without any kind of government or employer subsidy, and if we actually got rid of cigarettes the true cost of treating everyone who doesn’t even know that they’re smoking to be less sad would maybe break the country.” But what if smoking actually causes schizophrenia? “61 separate studies suggests nicotine in cigarette smoke may be altering the brain,” which experts call a “pretty strong case,” so I guess that’s that. Don’t smoke to keep yourself sane anymore, it’s only making things worse. (Also, pain medications will heart attack or stroke you, no matter how good they taste. Pain, it turns out, cannot be prevented; only postponed.) Sorry, smokers. The good news is it that quitting smoking is not impossible; why, the New York Times recenty told the heroic tale of a man who somehow managed to pull it off. There’s hope for you yet! I mean, unless you have a headache or your back hurts.