Here’s the first rule of social crusading: MAKE IT ABOUT THE CHILDREN.
That’s what was going on with S-CHIP a year ago and that is what is behind this newest assault on a legal product that we all enjoy – cigars. Here’s the gist of the whole thing from California’s Modesto Bee:
The packaging is pretty and the product sounds tasty, even a little wholesome. But inside the brightly colored wrappers that tout an assortment of flavors such as vanilla, strawberry and peach are cigars and cigarillos — and, according to public health advocates, a not-so-subtle strategy to target young people with cheap, candy-flavored tobacco.
“They do not see these little cigars — because of the candy flavor — as smoking,” said Debra Annand, director of health education services of the American Lung Association. Even worse, she said, is that federal regulations define cigars in a way that allows tobacco companies to escape the steep taxes that have been levied against cigarettes in recent years.
Health advocates know that smoking habits, particularly among adolescents, are affected by cost.
“It’s like gas prices,” said a 17-year-old girl smoking outside Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Va., recently. “When they go down, you get excited.”
Now a move is under way by public health advocates to push back against cigar usage by taxing some cigars like cigarettes.
The logical thing to do would be to prosecute retailers or others who sell to minors (and the minors themselves) if you wanted to stop children from smoking tobacco products. But no, that’s not their goal.
The goal of the anti-smoking lobby is to eventually outlaw all tobacco products. Like the neo-prohibitionists they are, they can’t stand the fact that some people are just not as “smart” as they are and don’t see the obvious pitfalls of smoking. These people are fascists (and yes, the Nazis did have anti-smoking laws).
How much blood do these vampires want? Again, from the Modesto Bee:
Federal excise taxes amount to 39 cents on a pack of 20 cigarettes, while cigars are taxed at a maximum of 5 cents each, according to Art Resnick, a spokesman for the tobacco tax bureau.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has urged states to consider taxing all tobacco products to bring them in line with cigarettes. Ten states have imposed taxes that treat some cigars like cigarettes, the Cigar Association says.
In May, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Joshua M. Sharfstein proposed banning the sale of single, cheap cigars. Noting that cigarettes must be sold in packs of 20 and cost as much as $5, Sharfstein would require Baltimore merchants to sell cigars in packs of five or more, with the aim of discouraging young people from trying the cheap nicotine hit of a single cigarillo.
And don’t think that this is some kind of end-game either.
“If [outlawing the sale of single cigarillos is] implemented, it’s not going to be a miracle fix of the problem, not by any stretch. But it’s a component,” the health commissioner said.
Get ready because all of this is coming to a head very quickly. Once we get nationalized health care and the health of every last person in America is under the management of our government more draconian restrictions will be passed. I can now easily imagine a day when all tobacco products are outlawed in this country.