Simple(ton) Math: Smoking Cuts Lifespans By Decades

Vulnerable kids always get caught up in the tobacco industry scam that smoking is the key to grown-up cool. The reality is, when it happens, for each new addict the first cigarette means a guarantee of early death. The Bible says life expectancy is 70, but today’s average for a non-smoking American is up to about 80. For smokers, maybe early 60s.

As with any teen, I didn’t think of smoking as a deadly health hazard. However, after just one try way back then, puffing on a burning stack of leaves wrapped in paper, I always found was stupid as hell. I eventually realized it’s actually a slow suicide for the addict.

As I got older, the big ad campaigns for cigarettes were everywhere. Not only with full-page newspaper and magazine ads, but also radio and TV programs were heavily sponsored by tobacco companies. Movie and sports stars made lots of money posing with the deadly products.

Did it affect their lifespans? Consider famous smokers who didn’t make it to three score years and ten: Babe Ruth 53, Humphrey Bogart 57, Jackie Kennedy 64, Steve McQueen 50, Enrico Caruso 48, Nat King Cole 45, Gary Cooper 60, Errol Flynn 50, Clark Gable 59 and George Harrison 58.

Not coincidentally, all three R.J. Reynolds died in their early 60s. The records show that Sr., Jr. and RJR III, owners of the cigarette company were heavy smokers.

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