Monday, November 2, 2009

The Tobacco Smokescreen: Distracting Bigotry

In NYC we are now fighting the prohibition of all flavored tobaccos; plus the threat of banning smoking outdoors in parks and beaches so 'children won't have to see smokers'. Meanwhile, taxation, smoking bans, and de-normalization of smokers continues to increase. Yet, we learned this year that the use of anti-depressants has doubled over the last decade and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, you can walk into any convenience store, supermarket, or 'nutritional center' and buy yourself amphetamine-like drinks and diet pills, erectile aids, and five hour energy shots. Plus, I just read that the new 'hot' product on the market is caffeine laced meat!

Politicians and legislators are beating up on the tobacco industry and the people and businesses suffering the most are retail tobacconists and luxury tobacco aficionados. Yet, 'feel-good' prohibitions, taxation, and restrictions continue to be passed by local, state, and federal agencies. Meanwhile, the substantive problems of the world seem to go unaddressed. At this point, even cigarette smokers are more than paying for any societal costs associated with their pleasures, yet the government is milking them to pay for childrens' health-care - this is happening because the societal perception that cigarette smokers (or all smokers) are "filthy" or "dirty" people with a "disgusting" habit. Well, as long as our government chooses to stigmatize and punish unpopular people, I can guarantee that nothing positive or substantive will ever get done. Consumers of alcohol and fat people beware! This will not stop until we stand up and help minorities protect their choices/pleasures/freedoms, even if they are not the freedoms that we choose to exercise.

"You can only be free if I am free."
- Clarence Darrow

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