Though the show has been on for some time, I just saw this a couple of days ago and it fit neatly in with what had been tumbling about in my head in regards to nicotine and the times we live in.
Nicotine has been seen as a good fit for the industrial age in that it was one of the few drugs that not only provided a respite from stress, but did not interfere with productivity. If anything, it enhanced it.
Though many of our everyday chores have been either eliminated or become much less onerous, life is not experienced as being any less stressful. It could well be that some of these chores, even if not exactly pleasurable, functioned also as islands of calm – stabilizers of everyday existence. With the emphasis on information, speed, and connectivity, it is not surprising to see reports on rising attention deficit disorders, and in general the drop of the average person’s ability to read to the end of a sentence or even complete the simplest
Nicotine focuses attention and relaxes. If ever there was a drug for our age, nicotine is it.
And with the rise of safe enough sources such as smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes, for many it might just be the answer to dealing with the modern, fast-paced, and cluttered cognitive environment.
Just to be clear, this is not a nicotine-for-all argument but a recognition that for some it is a pragmatic solution to the fragmentation of modern life. Even though I never get headaches, and thus don’t need aspirin, doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize that it might be essential for others.