Rush Limbaugh, who announced this week that he has advanced lung cancer, has a history of praising the practice of smoking.
Speaking to a caller in 2015, Limbaugh said that Americans should thank smokers.
“Earlier you were saying about smoking, that people ought to be thankful that there are smokers, because the money gotten from smoking helps to fund all these child programs and everything?” a caller told Limbaugh. “But that’s like saying I’m glad that there’s bumper accidents because then auto mechanics would still have jobs and it improves the economy.”
“Well, now, wait. Hold it, hold it just a second,” Limbaugh grumbled. “I’m sure the hospital industry would agree with you that they support knives, there wouldn’t be scalpels without knives.”
“Smokers aren’t killing anybody,” the conservative host added.
“Except themselves,” the caller noted.
“Yeah, but how long does it take?” Limbaugh scoffed. “There’s no even major sickness component associated with secondhand smoke. It may irritate you, and you may not like it, but it will not make you sick, and it will not kill you.”
“Firsthand smoke takes 50 years to kill people, if it does,” he continued. “Not everybody that smokes gets cancer. Now, it’s true that everybody who smokes dies, but so does everyone who eats carrots.”
Limbaugh ranted as the caller listened: “I’m telling you, there ought to be some measure of appreciation for people who buy tobacco products, despite the forces arrayed against them, It’s getting harder and harder to use tobacco products, unless you want to call marijuana tobacco, and you can do that anywhere, for the most part. But the fact of the matter is they have to endure a lot, the public hates them, they’re despised, they can’t smoke in places of comfort anymore, can’t even smoke outside in a park! And yet their actions and their taxes and their purchases are funding children’s health care programs. I’m just saying there ought to be a little appreciation shown for them, instead of having them hated and reviled. I would like a medal for smoking cigars, is what I’m saying.”
Just years later, Limbaugh would reveal his lung cancer live on his radio show.
“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming,” Limbaugh said on Monday. “I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”