If there’s anything we know about smoking, it is the detrimental health effects of the habit, which can lead to premature death.
Historian, philosopher, mathematician, and overall bad ass Bertrand Russell found that argument a hard sell. Not least of which because being a smoker once saved his life.
Bertrand Russell on Smoking
Asked in the above interview what his favorite vice was, Russell quickly stated that it was tobacco.
“I smoke a pipe all day long, except when I’m eating or sleeping,” Russell says.
“Hasn’t that shortened your life?” the interviewer asks.
“Well, they used to say it would when I first took to it, but I took to it some seventy years ago, so it doesn’t seem to have had a very great impact so far. In fact, you know, on one occasion it saved my life.
“I was in an airplane, and the man was getting a seat for me, and I said, ‘Get me a seat in the smoking part, because if I can’t smoke I shall die.’ And sure enough, there was an accident, a bad accident, and all the people in the non-smoking part were drowned. All the people in the smoking part jumped into the Norwegian fjord where we landed and were saved, so that I owe my life to smoking.”
It must be responsibly said that we know even more now about the dangers of smoking than they did in Bertrand Russell’s time. Still, it seems if he had been a nonsmoker he wouldn’t have been around quite so long, and he wouldn’t have been able to share this fantastic story.
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