Recently, Charles O. Kidd asserted in a letter on this page that the consumption of alcohol was more dangerous than smoking. He argued that laws banning smoking effectively denied his political rights, and suggested that there is no evidence that cigarettes are harmful. His letter even seemed to admonish those who seek to stop children and teens from smoking.
Certainly, excessive drinking, especially before driving, is dangerous; that's why we have laws that address drunk driving. However, I would suggest that people who drink at restaurants - in public, and in a town like Danville, where most people know each other - are more likely to drink responsibly than people who drink to excess at home. I would also suggest that most closet alcoholics are probably also smokers. The two habits have been clinically shown to be closely related. Many brands of cigarettes contain over 110 different chemicals that are added to the tobacco, which are designed to stimulate various pleasurable sensations. Every smoker knows what I am talking about - the momentary and quite legal high that comes from lighting up a cigarette. Camel, for instance, puts chocolate in their cigarettes along with dozens of carcinogenic agents that would put Iraqi WMDs to shame. Some of the chemicals used in cigarettes stimulate the body's desire for alcohol, and for this reason smoking, especially by teens, is viewed by health specialists as a "gateway drug" leading to alcohol abuse.