Reader Mike writes;
Sorry to be a downer, but my father was an avid pipe smoker and subsequently died of lung cancer at age 66. I did enjoy the smell of the smoke as a kid, but I would rather have him around to spend time with the grandkids he never knew (In fact his first grandchild -my daughter- was born 7 days before he died).
Understood, Mike. My Dad also died fairly young partly due to complications from emphysema.
This is one reason I would not have made so free with this sort of post over at Jimmy's blog... pipe smoking is something I enjoy, but indulge in only occasionally (like a few times a month). Like drinking alcohol, it's not something I would exactly recommend to someone who hasn't tried it ("Gee, Bob, did you ever consider taking up smoking?"), but - in moderation - I see little harm in it.
But I know moderation can be an elusive thing, our fallen nature being what it is. A lot of Americans, having 150 cable channels and abundant food, simply lack the maturity and discipline to avoid becoming corpulent and pasty-skinned T.V. zombies. Some people who drink become drunks, and some people who smoke will indulge beyond the limits of good sense. I am aware of that, and for that reason I am careful about when and where I smoke my pipe.
Though it might be argued that I should keep the whole thing to myself, I'm just allergic enough to political correctness that I don't quite bridle to the idea. I can't control what other people do, and I enjoy the society and camaraderie of other pipe smokers. I also don't really mind giving the real hard-core anti-smoking zealots a poke in the eye.
There is no really good reason to take up smoking, and yet, I look forward to my next pipe. All I can say is, if you don't smoke now, don't bother starting - there are more worthwhile hobbies. If you just can't help but try out pipe or cigar smoking (cigarettes are out of the question) think of it the way you would a lavish meal or a good bottle of wine... indulge like that every day and not only will you find less enjoyment in it, you might find yourself with a real problem.