H.L. Mencken famously defined puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” He might have been describing contemporary anti-smoking activists, that dour band of fuss-budgets constantly on the prowl for new ways to make life slightly less bearable by limiting the choices available to grown adults.
Incredibly, the latest push from tobacco eliminationists doesn’t involve actual smoking, which has already been driven out of polite society more thoroughly than Rev. Jeremiah Wright sermons, early David Allan Coe records, and Three’s Company-era gay jokes combined. But it does lay bare the prohibitionist mindset and its fixation on scrubbing the planet clean of any behavior or attitude the crusader deems unacceptable.