Okay, so you smoked. This was not a “choice,” for a choice is a conscious, rational decision independent of social influence, and that clearly was not the case. Smoking cigarettes was the social norm then, a preposterous reality, but absurdly true. So many people smoked then, in the 50s and 60s and 70s, not just the minority of working and non-working poor now, in this benighted country.
You became an addict, and you smoked in a couple forms: Lucky Strikes and bowls of tobacco, just like your father. Clouds smoke would issue from your nose, your mouth, but that was common in your line of work, and in your position as a male in America after the war. So many corporate profits went into that “pastime,” which did make time be “past” for the tens of millions who died premature deaths from that “natural” habit, but those profits still live on in the future generations of the inheritors of tobacco company fortunes.
We as humans are all caught in our social realities. A smoker is not a fallen human or an evil one, but as a human caught in self-canceling endeavors, ones that involve many forms of irrationality and refusal to accept cognitive failure, a smoker is not a smoker. We as humans will all die individually, and we as humans face an extinction as a species due to our fossil fuel mass mania, but is that all we should be known by? Does a smoker deserve to have the entirety of his or her life marked by that one socially-generated addiction, when all our lives are marked by varying degrees and outcomes of socially-generated truths and lies?
Sure, we as humans are prone to self-exculpating moralism, but that never excuses the pain that others suffer from immutable social horror, now wrought by the supersystem. Rich smokers in the US are going to get cream-of-the-crop medical intervention, which may explain how “immoral” life can be, but it’s those profits that are mostly at “fault,” not the often self-righteous or reality-denying addict.
Can we be proud of having a better functioning rationality system for avoiding the waning social appeal of cigarette smoking? Sure, why not, keep that pride to ourselves, but there are far too many other ramping-up social horrors that we cannot avoid, so though we always need to regard ourselves well, there are going to be some sneaking suspicions about ourselves afoot.