Smoke gets in your eyes

why not smoke cover

Why Not Smoke?

I am such a sucker for this kind of retro cover art. I was sure the publication date was probably in the 1950s instead of 1968.  This poor guy looks bewildered at the concept of smoking. I am sure he picked it up so he could look cool with the other suits at work.

This is a book that is all about convincing you that cigarettes are a bad idea. Instead of quoting some data and making actual scientific conclusions, this book is all about the correlation of personality types and smoking. This book peppers in lots of celebrity profiles of non smokers, which means if you smoke, you can’t be president, governor, a titan of industry, or do musical theater.

The advice is pretty slim. I also like how the author suggests keeping candy handy while you are quitting, but he advises against candy and other sweets a few paragraphs later. I guess when he says keep candy available it is for looking only, not eating.

Busy looking for candy,


PS. In order to promote “balance” in the collection, don’t miss this companion counter argument.

politicians that don't smoke

What is in cigarettes

smoker profiles

captains of industry

hollywood nonsmokers

more politicians



  1. Be like the cool kids and don’t smoke!

    I’m not sure why John Harvey Kellogg was listed as a “man of genius”, unless the author of the book was a Seventh Day Adventist. Kellogg had some “interesting” opinions on preventing masturbation, including circumcising boys without the use of anesthetics and applying carbolic acid to women’s clitorises. It appears that he had a negative opinion of sex in general and supposedly never consummated his own marriage. Some of his other beliefs were satirized in the (not very good) 1994 movie, “The Road to Wellville”.

  2. It’s always interesting to see how language usage shifts slightly over time. I’d assumed this book was going to be trying to convince one to smoke, rather than the reverse, because the title “Why Not Smoke?” sounds like a suggestion for a clever way to pass the time, rather than, say, “Why You Shouldn’t Smoke.”

    1. I think that’s intentional irony, not a shift in language. A quick scan of Google N-gram results suggests that usage was usually as you describe it throughout the twentieth century.

  3. People’s general attitude about smoking may have changed a lot over, but it’s still more socially acceptable to drink alcohol until you’re completely hammered while the media says I’m a literal huge failure just for eating a cookie. Sigh…

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