The July-August issue of Harvard Magazine carries an excerpt of a book by a Stanford professor, Robert N. Proctor, published by the University of California Press, titled Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition.
Among the reasons cited in the excerpt that cigarettes have caused a "holocaust" and ought to be outlawed is that "smoking is estimated to cause more than 20,000 spontaneous abortions — perhaps as many as seven times that."
None of this is a laughing matter, but I had to struggle to suppress a chuckle on reading that rationale. Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California treat respectfully the idea that cigarettes should be banned in part because they cause between 20,000 and 140,000 abortions (a year?). But since 1973's Roe v. Wade decision there have been 50 million legal abortions in America caused by parental choice, Planned Parenthood, the Supreme Court, you name it. If some author called that a "holocaust" and wrote a book proposing "the case for abolition" of abortion, you can sure bet it wouldn't be published by the University of California Press and excerpted in Harvard Magazine.
I'm a nonsmoker myself and I do not favor a blanket federal ban on either abortion or cigarettes. I understand, too, that some may find significance in the distinction between an abortion that is a parental choice and one that is an unintended consequence of a parental decision to smoke. In general I favor reserving the term "Holocaust" strictly to describe what the Nazis did in World War II. All those points aside, though, it strikes me as oddly convoluted, or at least inconsistent, to hold the view that cigarettes should be banned because they cause abortion, while at the same time opposing going the direct route and banning abortion.