One recent afternoon, I lit a Marlboro and slipped into a Times Square strip joint. I sidled into a peep-show booth, inserted a dollar bill, and when the glass partition had risen to reveal the exotic dancer inside, exhaled.
“Whew!!!” hissed the girl inside the booth, disdainfully, waving the smoke away with her hands. When the stench had dissipated, she leaned down and said gruffly, “We work on tips: three dollars to strip, five dollars to touch.”
“Do you mind if I smoke?” I inquired.
“Do what you want,” she sneered. “It’s your show.”
I handed her a five, evaluated her “dancing” for 30 seconds, and left. I was immensely discomfited. Here was a woman with more tattoos than the 7th Fleet working as a stripper in the sleaziest dive in Manhattan, yet even she looked down on me as a smoker. At that moment, I realized that the anti-smoking movement was a thundering juggernaut that had penetrated even the lowest substratum of American society, and that smokers, as a class, were doomed.