Wednesday, June 28, 2006

From King to villain

Before the Pilgrims, there were the Profiteers. The New World beaconed with untold riches - and lots of land. The natives introduced the adventurous explorers to a glorious "weed" which turned into a "money" crop so valuable that it was used to purchase goods from England. Virginia and the Carolinas grew wealthy on tobacco, even as the new nation was being formed. Virginia farmers could not have become the movers and shakers they were without the wealth of those leaves curing in the barns behind their estates.

And now, the smoke rising from the end of such a "noble weed" - much altered through chemical processing - is harming many who do not inhale it volunarily. Or so the studies are indicating. Of course, there are so many different factors affecting health, it is hard to define the "otherwise healthy" populous. What causes the underlying conditions that make so many people affected by secondhand smoke? Perhaps it is the "secondhand" smoke that actually is killing smokers who smoke in enclosed areas. It would be interesting to compare the health of those that smoke only outdoors and those that frequent bars.

It would be easy to condemn tobacco ("Big" or otherwise) or to disparage a government that seems to be bent on destroying a time honored industry. I can do neither. The native Americans treated the tobacco plant as an herb - to assist health and well-being (even spirituality). The "habit" of today is akin to the misuse of alcohol over the eons. God's creation is being defiled; we need to find ways to restore the intended use of what He has provided for us.

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