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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Sylvester Stallone, Mar/Apr 98

(continued from page 5)

I'd like to respond to the George McGovern piece you ran in your December issue, entitled "Whose Life Is It?"

My parents have smoked all of their lives and continue to do so. My father was an extremely fit boxer, soccer player and athlete in his early days; he is now 67 years of age and still walks his greyhounds several miles each day as he has done for more than 50 years. My mother was an excellent swimmer in her youth and was always an active sports mom. Both of them encouraged physical awareness and participation from all six of their children.

As far as I know, both my mother and father smoked through all of our childhoods. Smoking, as we all know, is an individual's choice as is drinking and other personal interests that one chooses to follow. Four out of the six children have chosen to smoke at some point in their lives.

My brother and I chose not to smoke, apart from the five Park Drives we bought, lit and took drags from when we were about 13 years old. Our secret activity was discovered when I took the remaining two cigs home to my mother with the matches and insisted we found them, although we were nearly sick from our experience. We were NOT hooked--yippee!

My wife has smoked all her adult life and we have one beautiful, active, energetic and fit daughter who is seven years old. Although I have never smoked, I respected my wife's choice to smoke. I must admit that I had advised her of the possible complications that might arise from her smoking, but always considered her freedom of choice and defended her in such events and often became frustrated with tunnel-visioned perceptions by others. I have known friends to ridicule her for smoking, when these people should often look at themselves when they have devoured huge meals and searched for more food because this wasn't enough, and have gone from 120 pounds to 280 pounds in 10 years and still do not get the message that their own temple is being defiled by their misguided perceptions, brought about by freedom of choice. I have watched many examples of this type of judgment against those who smoke by those who have other and equally beguiling pastimes.

These days, there seems to be much less freedom of choice with much more oppression from our left-wing activists, who ravage us with social guidance and political correctness. It makes me sicker than those three cigarettes I sucked on!

My siblings and I have grown into independent and healthy adults, luckily and possibly as normal as any healthy person can be. Our ages are between 33 and 41 years; I am 37 years old and beginning to mellow out. In the past six months I have taken an interest in having a cigar and seem to like the idea of relaxing in my smoking jacket and having a puff, along with the accessories that accompany the pastime. I never imagined in a million years that I would enjoy cigars, but this has proven to be the case.

This letter is not in direct support of smoking or problems connected with it, but it certainly supports George McGovern's freedom of choice idea. It is my belief that freedom of choice is an integral part of the Western world, of modern democracy and all people. This must be maintained or else we will continue to fall into the pattern of: Free...so long as we conform!

Michael J. Stewart
Suffolk, England

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