Saturday, July 2, 2011

Just How Addicitve Is Nicotine?

I just finished reading an engrossing book entitled, From the Holocaust to Hogan's Heroes. It's the autobiography of Robert Clary, the popular actor who played the character, corporal LeBeau, on the 1960s - 1970s television show, Hogan's Heroes.

What I didn't know, and probably a lot of younger people who have seen him on reruns didn't know, was that Robert Clary spent about three years of his teenage life as a concentration camp prisoner during World War II. He was the sole survivor of his entire family who were deported to concentration camps from France, in 1942. Read the book, it's very compelling.

If you know anything about the concentration camps of World War II, you know that they were created to exploit and exterminate Jews, political prisoners, criminals, homosexuals, gypsies, the mentally ill and anyone else the Nazis hated.

If you were lucky enough not to be exterminated immediately upon arrival in camp, then you were expected to work everyday from dawn till dusk while being humiliated, abused, beaten, tortured, starved, and then murdered if you broke a rule or when you couldn't continue to perform your tasks (or even on a whim).

One of the interesting stories Mr. Clary told about being a concentration camp prisoner, that I'd like to share with my readers, was about some fellow prisoners who smoked. According to a paragraph in Chapter Nine, Page 80, in his autobiography -
"Among the inmates there were people who were so hooked on smoking that they would sell their piece of bread in exchange for a few cigarettes. Smoking was more vital to them than food. Like my father, I had never smoked and had never liked it. Therefore, I could not understand these people. I would think, "What are these idiots doing, exchanging their precious rationed bread for a smoke?" We had barely enough food. They were killing themselves."

So, now when someone asks you about the addictive powers of nicotine, you can tell them that it's so addictive that even starving concentration camp prisoners would abandon the one thing keeping them alive, just so they could smoke a cigarette and get their fix.

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