People will always make excuses for doing things the easy way, or to explain away their chemical addictions. Social smoking? Yeah right, I'm sure if there was no nicotine in tobacco everyone would still be sitting around smoking with each other.
Anyone who thinks smoking makes them fit in either needs a spine or new friends. [insert additional berating comments that we've all heard many times before but refuse to listen to here]
Your opinions are prejudiced and show you clearly have never smoked or know what you are talking about. And of course nicotine is an important part, it's one of the reasons smoking gives pleasure. There are lot of "useless" activities or food that would be given up, if they didn't give pleasure, for example coffee or sky diving. But nicotine is not the only reason that makes smoking addictive, why would the use of addictive substance help quit addiction to the addictive substance in question? This paradox is the reason, why I personally feel that nicotine gum is bs. When I was in the army, I had a liutenent who was addicted to snus and tobacco. His wife wanted him to stom smoking, so he started using nicotine gum. The end result? Eventually he started using snus and smoking again, but in addition he was also addicted to nicotine gum.
The only folks still arguing that tobacco and alcohol don't harm people are the addicts and companies selling to them.
I don't work for tobacco company and I don't smoke either, and when I used to smoke, I was never physically addicted. I could stop smoking whenever I wanted and I did it couple of times to win bets, never had withdrawals. And yet I cannot agree with your statement as a whole. It's just too black and white.
Not even tobacco companies or smokers deny that tobacco and alcohol are able to cause damage. But I refuse to support the claim that tobacco and alcohol are harmful, when there are no studys or evidence that demonstrate that moderate casual smoking clearly causes harm. And when there are many studies that show that moderate use of alcohol has health benefits. There are no studies for health effects of moderate casual smoking, but some studies have found out that smoking has some health benefits like preventing Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease among other things.
I recall reading a medical study years ago that said the damage from 1 cigarette took about 1 month for your lungs to regenerate the damaged cells, assuming the carcinogens didn't cause a cancerous mutation of course. This was actually testing folks using scopes and everything, not some assumptions based on faulty cause-effect guesswork.
I'll call that "study" bs and I'd like to have a reference. I guess it's ok to lie, when it's done in a good cause?
Nothing in life is 100% certain, but neither is russian roulette. Doesn't mean you should ignore the risks. To sit there and do all these harmful things because you only live once seems pretty backwards. "I only live once, so I better mess it up while I can" seems a bit more accurate. If you feel you need to be intoxicated or stoned to enjoy life, consider what you're trying to avoid by being half conscious if at all. Yes moderation in life is good, but that doesn't mean do everything some. "Eat lead paint, but only in moderation" "drink antifreeze, but only in moderation" "I stick a gun with 1 bullet in my mouth and pull the trigger, but only occasionally and at parties"...
Nice strawman. Relax, have a glass of red wine and one cigarette. You might be suprised to find out that it won't kill you or throw your life into downward spiral.
The younger you are, the more blissfully ignorant you are.
Ignorant? Ignorance would imply to lack of knowledge? How does this have anything to do with decisions to smoke? People who choose to smoke don't do it because they don't know about the dangers of smoking, it's more of a value/moral choise because it's done based on a feeling and usually on an impulse.
Your statement however applies to children as they don't have fully developed brains, so they aren't always able to make rational decisions. But it's not really a good argument against a 25 year smoker.
People who really believe that old people know better can be split into two groups. When the other was young, they used to believe they were right and old people were wrong. In their own opinion they are always right, throughout their life. Now they can just use the excuse of knowing better because of being old.
The other group has great respect for authority and when they were young they rarely questioned the truth of things told to them by authorities like parents. Now that they are old, they still don't question authoritys and believe that themselves have authority by age and because of this, they know better.
The opposite of your statement is not true either: "The older you are, the less ignorant you are." Old people are usually unable to change their opinions, even if they are proven wrong. But this phenomen isn't directly related to age. It's because of their overly large trust in authority. Believing that age is infallible authority, is just as bad as it is for church to use bible as authority. Inquisition of Galilei is good example of the bad use of infallible authority. Or the the popes condemning of condoms. Parents usually use their authority wrongly when they reply "Because I say so." to a child that is disobedient and asking why he should obey.
Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy and especially bad, when it is used in moral debates or when the authority in question is age.