Back in the 1970s when we were young (OK, fairly young), smoking was a large part of life.
No, not just an occasional cancer stick or two, but somewhere around two packs per day. It was part of living like a vampire - coffee and cigarettes until the city edition was out at 2 a.m. Then play poker and smoke until the day crew came in at 6 a.m.
But, in spite of that horrendous lifestyle, we quit smoking. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the writer of these tomes, picture an obese potato chip muncher who also consumes a bunch of unhealthy carbonated beverages. And, oh yeah, throw in a couple of Frito pies while you're at it.
In short, if we can quit smoking, anyone can.
Yet, year after year, government (federal and state) spends millions (billions?) of dollars - unsuccessfully - to get people to quit smoking. The answer is simple and our spouse came up with it 34 years ago:
If you are going to smoke, you have to smoke one of those sub-1 milligram of nicotine, 1-milligram of tar cigarettes. In our case, it was a brand called NOW (there was also a brand named Carlton with an equivalent amount of tar and nicotine).
These butts were so lousy tasting it was hard to smoke them. But . . . the nicotine content was so low that it helped wean one off cigarettes.
One morning, two weeks after our spouse had forced us onto NOWs, we woke up and decided that if we had to smoke those horrendous tasting spikes we'd rather do without.
And we did. The low nicotine content weaned us from addiction, the lousy taste weaned us from the rest of the habit. When we'd tried to quit after years of smoking Marlboros, we climbed the walls. With NOWs it was a relief not to taste them - and there was no wall climbing.
Today, government increases cigarette taxes to ostensibly get people to quit - but also relies on the revenues from those taxes to balance budgets.
It is a ruse. Make people healthy by showing them the correct way to quit smoking (weaning them from addiction).
It's easy - a housewife showed us how nearly 35 years ago.
(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.