Smoking in the Hospital and Everywhere Else

When I was a lad, more than forty years ago, it seemed like everyone smoked including me. I started when I was fourteen. Probably a little young. I held off on drinking till I was fifteen. And I didn’t smoke marijuana until I was sixteen which shows you I was hardly a juvenile delinquent.

But this post is about cigarettes and you could buy them everywhere, including, I distinctly remember, the waiting room of the Orangeburg Regional Hospital. These days, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD for instance, you can’t smoke anywhere on the entire twenty-six acre campus. If you want to smoke you have to leave. Good idea, I say. I quit smoking long ago and it bothers the hell out of me now. Ex-smokers are always the worst but only in my thirties did people begin to ask permission to smoke in your home. Before that, guests just lighted up. That wasn’t rude. Now you would be thought of as an alien from another planet if you did that.

I remember visiting my sister in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in 1976. We went to the movies and employees roamed the isles offering cigarettes, candy, Coca-Cola, and beer during the performance. You could smoke away during the movie.

I’m sure glad to know my physician thinks smoking is good for the health and that unfiltered Lucky Strikes won’t irritate my throat.
Gosh, my physicians treating me for lung cancer just can’t seem to agree on that their favorite cigarette is.

[Images courtesy of Go Retro.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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