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Charlene Vickers

The one thing the medical profession has never quite understood is why older people are so defensive about their smoking. They don't seem to realize that well into the Sixties smoking was considered the most positive character trait a person could have. The underlying assumption, strangely, was that non-smokers were dangerously and (as was thought at the time the time) unpleasantly sexually transgressive - gay, lesbian, shrewishly virgin, bitterly sexually frustrated*. Imagine how difficult it is to convince someone that smoking is bad if that assumption is so deeply ingrained in their psyche that they don't even consciously realize it's there.

* It didn't help that at the time, lesbianism wasn't thought of as active attraction to women but as bitter, shrewish rejection of heterosexuality by women who had been hurt by a "bad guy" and had therefore irrationally sworn off all men.

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