"I have no attitude without a cigarette." - Lou Reed
I want to rant for a moment about this new – altogether ridiculous – price increase on cigarettes. Look, I’m a smoker. Yes, I know it’s bad for me and, yes, I know that I’m not doing anyone any favors by smoking in public. So please stop infuriating me with all your damned medical particulars and government imposed propaganda as though I’ve never heard it all before. You nonsmoking folks out there, who do this sort of thing, sound like mechanized parrots. It’s not as though I can claim that I was one of the millions of duped folks from the Fifties, who were under the impression that cigarettes were good for us. Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble never hawked Lucky Strikes to me as a child, so I have no excuse for my addiction and I can’t exactly bring about litigations against Hanna-Barbara ... Even though Yogi Bear and The Jetsons seriously screwed me up for life.
In the government’s newest battle against the Evil Tobacco Companies®, they have decided to hike the price of cigarettes up at least another seventy-five cents per pack. Some places have had the shear audacity to charge an additional dollar a pack. My god! Don’t these people realize that we smokers have life and health insurance policies to pay? Coffins are expensive these days, damn it, and funeral arrangements are out of this world!
Seriously, though, everyone knows that smoking is bad for us. But, lest we forget that it is an addiction, it tends to be a habit more difficult to break than alcohol. Seventy-four percent of all smokers who quit eventually return to the drug. If alcoholism is to be clinically categorized as a disease, and alcoholics aren’t made to take swigs in back alleys and designated drinking areas, then why have cigarette smokers been ostracized by today’s society? Why blackball the smoker, when it’s the tobacco companies that are perpetrating the original sin?
Smokers have been completely demonized and have almost no rights in this country, and worldwide. The few rights smokers do retain are being lost on a minute-to-minute basis. There are risks in almost every aspect of life, and I realize that the antismoking campaign (read: socio-political propaganda akin to that of Hitler’s Nazi regime) has been designed to make people think that we are doing away with those risks by way of drowning out the people’s right to smoke. However, bear in mind that in 2004 automobiles killed approximately 42,000 people in the US, whether those people happened to be driving or not. Should we take away cars then? Yeah, that’ll happen as soon as we finally get fed up with paying these prices at the gas stations. By the looks of it, we’re not even close to that extreme. And if you think that alcoholics are only a danger to themselves, and that they’re only ruining their own health because it’s not an airborne contamination, think of those 42,000 auto fatalities again. Almost 17,000 of them were alcohol related.
Also in 2004, the first anti-smoking treaty – the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – was ratified. This is yet another shining example of how the United Nations intends to control every aspect of the lives of everyone on earth. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH, appropriately enough) is the lead organization in America and it has promised to “concentrate on enforcement efforts.”
Now, it’s 2005, and the ASH has plans for all of us – evil smokers and angelic nonsmokers alike. It plans to “take advantage of a new ruling which now makes it possible for sensitive nonsmokers to sue states which do not provide them with reasonable protection from tobacco smoking pollution.” These suits will eventually cost taxpayers millions, draining vital resources from other more serious needs, such as infrastructure improvements. In California, where these improvements are so very necessary to earthquake preparedness, laws have been enacted to prevent people from smoking on the damned beaches!
Planning on purchasing a condo or moving into an apartment soon? You’d better not be a smoker. ASH intends to encourage and assist lawsuits by apartment and privately owned condominium dwellers who object to neighbors smoking IN THEIR OWN HOMES! This is pure fascism, using the power of the state to prevent people from endangering themselves and others. While I agree that smoking around other people isn’t a very nice thing to do, why impose this law upon me as I sit alone in my apartment? And, all this is happening in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Public Prosecutor.
Brought to you by the same fine folks who gave you the McDonald’s Hot Coffee lawsuit of 1994, where an 81 year-old woman was awarded $2.9 million because she spilled coffee on herself – her claim? McDonald’s neglected to place a “Caution: Hot Contents” warning on the cup. Go to any MickeyD’s in the world, now, order a cup of mud and look at the lid. That’s the power of the United States Prosecutor’s office.
OK, I’m done for the moment. You may now resume your daily intake of non-taxed cholesterol and high fructose corn syrup.