Promoting a health hazard more deadly than third hand smoke!

I shouldn't be sitting here writing a blog post; I should be outside gardening or something. Besides, the latest research shows that sitting in a chair is hazardous to my health. Which means that by sitting in this "death chair" and writing this blog post, I am contributing not only to my own physical decline, I am directly contributing to the decline of the physical health of my readers who are almost certainly sitting in chairs while reading this post -- something I either knew or should have known.

So, it is no exaggeration to say that I am a public health hazard!

Isn't what I am doing at least as bad as "third-hand smoke"?

I thought a warning might be in order before I head outside to do some gardening.

Yet still, there's something about this that bothers me. This creepy feeling of having been a nanny who warned readers that sitting there and reading blog posts is bad for their health -- that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and it rubs my libertarian wool the wrong way. How can I correct the resultant imbalance of karma? I started out by feeling guilty, and now I feel guilty about feeling guilty!

What's a blogger in my situation to do?

Hey, maybe I should plant tobacco!

It's still legal, and there's a booming interest in seeds. Plus, it's a healthy outdoor activity, and I don't have to smoke the stuff to enjoy the experience of growing it. As to what to do with it, I don't know. Is it legal to give it away as a form of charity? (It is legal to grow or possess tobacco, and while they might not allow the tobacco companies to give it away, I don't see why private citizens cannot give it away in a non-commercial manner.) Smokers are addicts who face an increasingly unaffordable habit (in New York, cigarettes are up to a whopping $11.00 a pack), so I think offering free tobacco to New York's poor and working class people might be a very humane thing to do, lest they start committing crimes to fuel their habits. What? You think I'm kidding? A guy with a four pack a day habit would have to spend over $1200 $1300 per month -- just to support his addiction.

So why shouldn't I grow tobacco to give it away? You know, just to annoy the bureaucrats and irritate those who consider all libertarians inherently selfish.

But OTOH, would it be altruism?

(I should add that I wasn't trying to be facetious with that last line -- I only said it because many people think that altruism is deadly.)

posted by Eric on 07.25.10 at 12:09 PM


Apologies for being such a buzz-kill, but thought this was interesting:

I understand that it's considered unwise to handle (or plant?) tobacco near other plants in the Solanacea group, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. They are all susceptible to Tobacco Mosaic Virus, which the tobacco carries in somehow (though maybe not if you're the only grower in your neighborhood, and you grow it from seed).

On the plus side, tobacco also contains natural insecticides -- which are just as deadly as the unnatural ones.


Casper   ·  July 25, 2010 9:15 PM

Interesting. Thanks. They are all in the nightshade family (and eggplant seeds contain nicotine), so that's worth keeping in mind. I have a couple of tomatoes, but I think I would be the only tobacco grower in your neighborhood -- once I get the seeds) so I think I'll probably be OK.

Eric Scheie   ·  July 25, 2010 10:10 PM

I had eggplant for dinner last night.

Typical dim witted semi-on-topic blog comment.

Because we haven't been getting enough of them lately.

M. Simon   ·  July 26, 2010 9:34 AM

oh. I'm sorry. I'll try to comment more often.

Donna B.   ·  July 27, 2010 4:15 AM

Hm. I was just accepting Eric's argument that we should assert our right to grow tobacco and give it away, then moving on to practical how-to considerations.

The main point had already been made nicely and didn't appear to need any help.

Casper   ·  July 28, 2010 1:40 PM

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