THE big push to get Americans to live healthier continues. We biggie-size the verbiage just like the drive-throughs biggie-size the drinks.
Fat gave way to overweight, which gave way to obese, which was upgraded to morbidly obese; our language expands with American waistlines.
By any measure, though, as a nation we are not exactly svelte.
So we tell ourselves as we munch our cheese doodles that at least we don't smoke.
Well, 80 percent of the adult population in America does not smoke and that makes us feel better about ourselves.
Every society has a caste system of some sort. And there is always somebody at the bottom who the rest of us dump on.
We chose smokers.
In January 1964, the surgeon general declared smoking hazardous to one's health.
Television networks weaned themselves from tobacco ads over the next seven years, and eventually magazines did as well.
Gradually smokers became the most reviled group in America. We pushed them outdoors, in the rain, to smoke.
To be sure, the anti-smoking effort was the biggest and most successful public health initiative since the polio vaccine.
The population has doubled, but the number of smoking-related deaths continues to be around 450,000 people a year.
Besides, beating up smokers is fun sport.
The Food and Drug Administration just ordered tobacco companies to put ghoulish images on their cigarette packs as a warning to smokers of the dire consequences that are possible if you smoke.
This seems to be more about humiliating a group of people than getting anyone to quit.
So why does the FDA not simply ban smoking? Smokers have had two generations to rid themselves of the habit.
There is no reason for anyone under 60 to smoke. The government warned them. Now would be a good time to ban cigarettes and yet we will not.
Besides, society needs smokers, because they pay hefty taxes to the government.
Smokers are cash cows.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that for every 10 percent rise in taxes, there is a 4 percent drop in smokers.