Thank You For Smoking

thank-you-for-smokingThank You For Smoking

by Christopher Buckley | 272 Pages | Genre: Fiction | Publisher: Allison & Busby | Year: 2003 | My Rating: 9/10

“That’s the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.”
― Christopher Buckley, Thank You For Smoking

I started reading this book at a very interesting time, when I finally kicked the butt after 13 years of smoking cigarettes. I know the havoc it has played on my health in past several years, and I don’t need any scientific data to tell me that smoking is bad. I know that there’s people out there way smarter than I am, but a tobacco lobbyist is NOT one of those people! I shall no longer be yanked around by their stinking propaganda. It is my hope that others can also break free from tobacco’s hold. It’s hard. It’s worth it.

Nick Naylor, the main character, is a tobacco lobbyist and the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, a tobacco industry lobbying firm that promotes the benefits of cigarettes. He spends most of his time making media appearances to spin whatever claims that any health professional makes about the harmful effects of tobacco. He often laments throughout the book that the media does not give him as much screen time as “health professionals”. Nick’s a player and women are attracted to him like moths toward flame. He’s part of the MOD Squad – the Merchants of Death. It includes him, representing the tobacco lobby, and then a lobbyist for alcohol and for the gun lobby. Because of his ability to easily be unethical and convincing he has become a target for anti-tobacco terrorists and is under investigation from the FBI. The main wheels of the story starts turning when Naylor is kidnapped and is almost killed because his kidnappers stick Nicotine patches all over his body, which he miraculously manages to survive the effects. His doctor says it’s because he is a smoker and his body was therefore not as overwhelmed by all the nicotine patches as a non-smoker’s body would have been. The result is that Naylor can no longer smoke cigarettes ever again because there is now too much nicotine in his system. I enjoyed Naylor’s voice because he is so cynical but also very self-aware. Sometimes he seems like he really believes in the things that he is spouting to defend the people who write his pay checks, but then in the next paragraph, he’ll use the same line that he uses for everything, which is “Where are the data proving this?”

This humorously toned, sharp and witty political satire set in Washington, DC is my Read of the Week.

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About Manu Mayank
I work as an International development professional. My interests include reading, writing, traveling, movies, music, cosmology, collecting stamps, matchboxes, and rocks, mentoring, coffee, and computer games, among many more.

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