It’s been so cold here this week that I haven’t been able to bring myself to go out for a cigar. It was certainly too cold to go for my usual walk (although I managed to have one in the snow yesterday), and once I got home from work, going out to a cigar shop for a smoke didn’t feel like a good idea either. This cold and snow and stuff is getting to me! C’mon Spring! Maybe because Winter got off to an early start we can expect it to get warmer sooner? We’ll have to wait until February 2nd to see what the groundhog has to say (that’s the only event of any importance happening that day, right? 🙂 ). Anyway, when I don’t smoke any cigars, you get the benefit of one of my rants. Today’s editorial is on smoking bans and regulation.
This week we learned that my home state of Pennsylvania had bills in both the state house and senate (Thank you Halfwheel) that aim to remove exemptions in the 2008 “Clean Indoor Air Act”. The exemptions these bills want removed are tobacconists, bars, casinos, private clubs and “other places”. This is an obvious assault on freedom! Private Clubs? Really? Shouldn’t not only private clubs, but private businesses be allowed to decide what legal activities can go on in their businesses? What next? Private homes? Your yard? There is also proposed legislation in PA to ban smoking in your car if there are children present. Hey, I get protecting kids, don’t get me wrong, but this is legislating what should be common sense, and taking away personal liberties at the same time! There is legislation like this popping up all over the country, so we need to pay attention! Cigar Rights Of America lists them all.
Beside the myth of second hand smoke (OSHA has Permissible Exposure Limits for all of the measurable chemicals in tobacco smoke, see here) , what are some of the reasons cited for smoking bans? Park and beach bans cite litter as a reason. Gee, aren’t there already laws against litter? How about enforcing existing laws instead of making up new ones? I would be willing to bet that every public park and beach in the US (and elsewhere, I would guess) has laws on the books regarding litter. You drop something, you pick it up or get a fine. I’m even fine with calling a cigar butt litter, even if it’s biodegradable. I don’t need to see a chewed up stinky cigar butt on the ground. Put it in the right place, it’s not that big a burden, right? We are, as a rule, considerate, responsible cigar smoking citizens, are we not? Another popular anti-smoke angle is that we don’t want people to think that smoking is “normal”. Kids see adults smoking and want to do it, sure, I get that. What about a little thing called PARENTING? Can you imagine what the orphanages would look like if parenting was legislated and enforced? For example, I smoked in front of my three children all of their lives, and I smoked cigarettes too up until about 7 years ago. I never worried about them sneaking cigarettes or cigars, and they never did! Both my sons joined me for a cigar on or after their eighteenth birthdays. My eldest son, who went to Cigar Safari with me in 2011, probably hasn’t smoked a cigar in a couple months (has a humidor with a bunch of pretty decent cigars), but will join me for a smoke from time to time. My youngest has smoked on and off, and goes to a hookah bar with friends from time to time. The nannies would paint me as a bad parent, perhaps, but I see success! They were adults when they smoked their first cigars, capable of making their own choices. My daughter has never smoked as far as I know, I think our setting a bad example turned her off to the habit, she rebelled by being far more conservative than her mother and I. Another win for us! Anyway, the point is, raise your kids to know….wait, I don’t really have to expand on that….raise your kids! Don’t rely on society to do it for you! If we outlaw all the things we don’t want our kids growing up doing there won’t be anything!
I’d like to implore everyone to be vigilant and contact your legislators when ever one of these bills comes up, not only locally, but nationally as well. These people work for us, they need to hear from us. Cigar Rights Of America has tools that allow you to send a pre-written e-mail to your elected officials. Fill in your zip code and it automatically fills in the right people, again, both state and federal governments. While you’re there, make sure to send an e-mail to your Federal legislators about the FDA regulating our cigars out of existence! You can do that here. I don’t even think you need to be a member to use these tools, but for $35 a year it doesn’t hurt. Please let these people know that we are voting citizens and we value our freedom to enjoy a legal product (which, by the way, governments are making a ton of money on!). It’s not going to stop at tobacco, you know, and all of these bans put people out of work!
On a related note, my father-in-law pointed out this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about The State of Pennsylvania subsidizing films that feature smoking. Anti-smoking zealots will target anything smoke related, but I bet they have a cocktail or two and get behind the wheel of their pollution producing automobiles (or worse, take a bus?). Do these people really go to movies and look for things to complain about? The article is here.
Finally, I’d like to point you to a couple articles by one of my favorite musicians, Joe Jackson. I don’t know that Joe is a cigar smoker, and many of his works relate to U.K. smoking bans, but it applies to us here in the colonies as well.
Also, check out Joe’s essay “SMOKE, LIES AND THE NANNY STATE” which he published in 2007. I’m going to go line up some Joe Jackson tunes and have a cigar.
One final thought: Maybe if states that banned smoking were not allowed to generate income from tobacco taxes, they’d think twice about bans. Once they get rid of tobacco, you better believe they will come after something else you like. Live and let live, folks! Until the next time,