Hiya! I've just heard that you, an athletic 16-year old high school student have started smoking 20 a day. Couldn't get enough of that Marlboro flavour, huh? Well, I'd just like to congratulate you on making what will be one of the dumbest, if not the dumbest decision in your lifetime. After all, what more could a popular straight-A high school student with a circle of friends the size of the Catholic Church and a girlfriend who'll put out whenever you want her to want?

Don't worry about those lame-o geeks who go on and on about how smoking fucks up your lungs, gives you cancer, blahblahblah...I mean, all they do is read those stupid anti-commercialist websites all day, stupid nerds! They don't know anything, with their scientifically proven evidence and huge theses backing up their claims...dismiss what they say, you are your own boss!

That's right! In chaining yourself to a large multinational, you have successfully become independent and your own man. Isn't it great! Even better, if you ever want to become a non-smoking nerd again, you won't be able to! You'll always be cool now!

And that girlfriend of yours? I mean, every woman loves the smell of burning leaves down their throat! Ever since puberty, all she's ever thought is "I really want to get tongued by an ashtray one of these days, that would be soooo hot!". She'll love you for starting smoking, she really will. I mean, all that crap about hating smokers and dumping any boyfriend that starts was all grade-A bullshit rhetoric, wasn't it? Those friends of yours, who had parents die of lung cancer when they were very young? They'll support you all the way, I'm sure! Maybe you could get them to start smoking soon as well!

"No," they'll say, "it's unhealthy, it makes you smell like shit and my dad smoked 10-a-day and died of lung cancer!". Fuck that-show them some of the old advertisements! It's been proven* that smoking is actually good for you! All those people who died of cancer, and emphysema, and could never go swimming again because they all had air holes in their chests...phony statistics! Everybody knows that smoking cures colds and asthma! Mmm!

Of course, don't worry about your health YET! You've got years (around twenty of them, actually) to go before you have to worry about cancer! Cancer only happens to little old ladies, and people who smoke weed, right? And even better, you have a filter tip in your cigarette, so all the nasty particulates that cause cancer will stay in that little 2cm long cylinder of...stuff! Isn't it great! Sure, it only filters half of the little bastards, but hey, at least you're not getting all of them!

And you're helping your country aren't you? Every single pack you buy puts a little bit of money in the governments coffers, paying for really kickass public services (like your healthcare) and building up the economy of the country!

Of course your parents will complain, and wonder why you're smelling of smoke. They're being Nazis, ignore them! It's not like they have your best interests at heart or anything! They're restricting your civil liberties, and last I checked you have the right to light up a fag anywhere you like, cos it's a free country! Following the law is for losers, you can do what you want when you want! It's not like your smoking is harming anyone!

I'm sure, with you pumping all of that moolah into the tobacco industry, that all of those tobacco executives would be right behind you, paying your medical bills for you, meeting your every whim! I mean, the tobacco industry truly cares about your health-if they didn't they wouldn't have those little health warnings on them, would they? It's not like the government FORCED them to put them there! Altria, Lorillard and BAT truly respect your decision to make free choices and so they want to tell you exactly how bad it would be to buy their products! They really like you!

Course, you won't need their help-you won't have medical bills! All those geeks saying something about them finding Auschwitz gases in ciggie smoke are just lying...they aren't cool enough to smoke. They don't know anything. Maybe they should have a smoke or two, that would lighten them up!

Once again I would like to congratulate you on being a dumbass. You never know, maybe Darwin was right, huh?

Yours chokingly
Joe Baldwin

Because I don't think enough of my peers realise that smoking is not a good thing to do. They seem to think it's "cool". I could round up about 30 people, at random from my year group, and immediately pick out the ones that smoke. I'm willing to bet it would be about a third.

Recently, British American Tobacco put out a leaflet about the new sizes of health warnings on their cigarette packets. They seemed to be going on as if they are truly concerned about their customers' well being, when nothing could be further from the truth! If BAT had the power to do so, they would not only remove the health warnings but replace them with banners saying "SMOKING MAKES YOU FRIENDS AND IT SMELLS NICE!"! The only reason that they have the warnings on the packets is because the British government had the testicles to increase the warning size.

If the tobacco industry really gave a monkey's toss about health, they would stop lying (in court, under oath) that they really didn't know that nicotine was addictive, and stop putting out logically flawed anti-tobacco commercials, with the "nerd" being the non-smoker. However, they continue to do so!

My mother was a cancer patient until relatively recently (she only got her all clear about a month or two ago) and I know people who have had close relatives die of smoking-induced cancer. I know what it is like to have cancer...you have drugs which make your hair fall out pumped into your veings, you have radiation akin to Chernobyl blasted at certain areas of your body, you have to have MAJOR surgery and be in hospital for weeks on end. Have a high-paying job? Say goodbye to that, you need a lot of R&R after a cancer op. No time for work.

My mother is downstairs smoking a cigarette. She quit for a while before another smoking relative got her to start again. It's that addictive, more so than heroin or cocaine. What I'm trying to say here is don't start smoking under false pretences that being a smoker is like being part of a big club, where everybody looks after one another and you can leave on request, because it plain aint like that. You look like a moron and the tobacco companies don't care at all. My grandmother hasn't smoked for 15 years now, she still needs patches and shit. Just don't be a fucking dick, read up on what smoking does to you and what sort of industry you are buying into (try ash.org.uk for a starting point) and then see if you want to be part of the "special club".
* By scientists working for Philip Morris