"How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect." ~ Oscar Wilde - The picture of Dorian Gray
I smoked as a teenager. Nasty habit... and I know this ain't politically correct to say but nobody should smoke. It's just something for bored people with an oral fixation to do. Of course people will probably always be allowed to, but I can't think of a single person I've known who smokes who didn't wish they could quit. Ozzy Ozbourn has done just about everything under the sun including biting off a bat's head and he says Tobacco is the most addictive thing he's put in his body.
This stuff considered, I guess I wonder why anyone would want to start?
Does smoking make someone a 'bad' person? That's a flimsy, outdated connotation at best. I've seen more obese old ladies smoking in their living room than criminal look a likes. Sheesh, for that matter I've heard of more teenage girls shoplifting than a lot of other crimes, so how does one know if the person they are watching smoke is a criminal, mentally ill, whatever? Besides, if you're gonna say it makes you a 'bad' person then there is a hell of a lot of other things that would have to be classified the same.
Hello, I'd like a big mac supersized meal and triple heart bipass surgery by 40. "Over 99 billion served"... anyone never eaten here? Are all those people 'bad' too cause they put something unhealthy in their mouth?
I don't smoke. Anything. The fact is that marijuana is more toxic and deluding than tobacco. I value my mind too much to tamper with the fundamental chemistry of it. However, by that same reasoning, wouldn't I also abstain from psychiatric medication? I still take it just so I can function more smoothly. So determining whether you want to toke it up or take a drag is all about whether it helps you operate as you want to be. So if you want to be in a daze like a sluggish elk that's got no gumption to scatter away from your car when you're screeching up to it, then toke it up. If you want to stare in the mirror as if you just discovered the secret to the universe, toke it up. But damn, I reckon you're brain is just trying to struggle back into its normal consciousness. Like if a surf board suddenly started getting glimpses of a human perspective, realized something profound, only to forget it and transform back into a surf board. That's what marijuana is like. Not that I've done it or anything. No sir... what were we talking about?... I think I'm going to take a quick trip to Taco Bell.
But more seriously - the condemnation of smoking marijuana in the U.S. is actually more of a cultural thing. We don't criminalize everything that is harmful to us, like alcohol and tabbaco, because those have already been integrated into our culture, and have been staples to our economy in past and present. Victor's pretty much highlighting this - that the people in his culture (actually, maybe just him) look down on smoking because it is a cultural taboo (or maybe because he's prejudiced). Australia hasn't benefited from it as much as the U.S. has...
In Australia the incidence of smoking is in decline, with figures from 2004-5 showing 23% of the population to be current smokers, a decline of 2% compared to 1995. Amongst the indigenous population, the rate is much higher, with 51% of men and 49% of women reported being current daily smokers. Young adults are the most likely age group to smoke, with a marked decline in smoking rates with increasing age. The prevalence of smoking is strongly associated with socioeconomic disadvantage, with over double the rate in the most disadvantaged quintile of the population as compared to the least.  Later figures from 2007 show 19% of the population over 18 years of age to be current smokers.