Mike–Please accept my condolences regarding your father’s passing. You also have my empathy regarding your mother’s current plight.
I have to say that you have eloquently expressed the situation regarding the Smokers’ Rights Lobby. Overall, their attempts to defend their bad choices are really very sad and pathetic. You have seen firsthand the results of the Tobacco Lobby’s policy of concealing the dangers of which they were aware. Your parents grew up in an era where their habit was promoted by everyone around them–to the detriment of all.
So, anyone who became hooked on tobacco prior to the last couple of decades was really making their decision without any good scientific information. For someone to try to defend this noxious habit today, in light of all available evidence is really tragic–in a multitude of ways.