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Blowing Smoke


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To the editor:

The article on the Mannino and McKinlay studies linking smoking and impotence (Health, "Bad for the Bone," 24 March) never promises that impotent smokers who quit will immediately be able to perform like teenagers, but I can foresee a high rate of recidivism among ex-smokers in the 30- to 50-year-old group when this proves not to be the case. And since psychology plays funny tricks on people, why shouldn't some of the men who give up smoking in order to save their erections come to depend on the latter as they did on the former? Would someone like to ask women how they would feel about having husbands or boyfriends who Just Gotta Have It day and night--or claim that they do ("I didn't love her, honey--but you weren't around and I just couldn't help myself!").

I'm not saying that smoking is not harmful for many reasons, but attributing powers to it that it may not have is the sort of irrational demonization that undermines even the legitimate arguments. Remember marijuana? Remember Communists?

Name withheld

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