The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seem more scared than elated by United States smoking rates. They have migrated from a war on the world's top killer, smoking, to being in a war on a chemical, nicotine.
They needn't be concerned. Science and health have won, and it wasn't because of taxes on cigarettes or a cottage industry of anti-smoking ads built by a tobacco company settlement, it was because of peer pressure. In young people. As the American Council on Science and Health, a pro-science consumer advocacy group based in New York City, has said since the 1970s, smoking is a pediatric disease. In the past, 90 percent of smokers picked up the habit by age 18, making adolescence a critical time for smoking-prevention efforts.