Protect the Innocent from Second Hand Smoke

October 4, 2013 · Posted in Assault on Cigars · Comment 

Dear Innocents,

I understand your annoyance at being subjected to offensive odors and the health risks associated with smoke wafting about like a boney hand with a mind bent on murder. And, as a cigar smoker, I cringe at the idea of raising the ire and lowering the life expectancy of most non-smokers. If I have transgressed upon your physical and mental health in the past I sincerely apologize.

Over the last couple of decades America has made many positive moves to protect non-smokers from the ails of second hand smoke by outlawing smoking in most public buildings and in many outdoor areas as well. Here in California, for example, Cal State Fullerton recently became the first CSU campus to become completely smoke free. Why is this such a good thing for you innocents?

According to a 2007 study conducted by a couple of Stanford researchers, if an innocent were to sit within 18 inches of a cigarette smoker who smokes two cigarettes over the course of an hour the innocent would be exposed to the equivalent of an hour’s worth of sitting in a “tavern with smokers.” Personally, I think it’s utterly offensive if an innocent were to innocently sit down next to a smoker and the smoker didn’t immediately put out the cancer stick and walk away in shame.

Sure, according to the same study, if an innocent were to wander no closer than six feet close to a smoker said innocent “would have little problem.” But that’s not really fair when the smoker is sitting in a spot less than a couple of feet from where the innocent would prefer to sit. Why should that innocent have to alter their habits?

Kudos to Cal State Fullerton and every other locale that has banned smoking outdoors. Even though most of the time innocents are just passing through these places and are not subjected to the cold, wispy death grip of smoke for long, most likely not long enough to cause any harm, you can never be too cautious when it comes to such matters. At this point, many other smokers will be nodding their heads in agreement with what has been written here but are thinking that cigar lounges and other places that allow smoking acceptably protect the innocents.

Unfortunately, they would be wrong to even consider that as an acceptable compromise. As most intelligent people already know, people who don’t smoke frequently find employment at establishments that allow smoking. Sure, all of the employees at the cigar shops that I frequent smoke cigars themselves but what if an innocent wanted to work at a cigar shop or, more likely, that’s the only place they could find employment in these troubling economic times? By allowing smokers to light up in these places is unfair to those people.

At this point it goes without saying that restaurant smoking patios are completely unfair to the innocents as well. Prior knowledge that these restaurants allow smoking on their patios isn’t enough. What if the innocents had their hearts set on an al fresco dinner? Or, worse, what if the restaurant only has seating available on the smoking patio? Fortunately, the progressive city of beautiful Coronado has recently made strides to make smoking illegal in almost all cases. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.

Now my fellow smokers must be in the throes of a nervous breakdown because they will have to admit that smoking outside represents a clear and present danger to all the innocents out there. I’m afraid that my fellow smokers are deluding themselves if they don’t accept this fact. But what about smoking at home? That should protect all the innocents, right?

As we have learned, there is a thing called third hand smoke. If you are not familiar with this danger then let me give you a short synopsis: the homing missiles that are smoke particulates cling to everything they come in contact with and when those smokers venture out into the world they are like suicide bombers that don’t die quickly by spreading carcinogens everywhere they go.

Smoke Face MaskThe only logical solution is to completely ban all tobacco products. This will be tough to enact but it has to be done to protect all the innocents, especially the children. Needless to say, this will be a tough nut to crack but, hopefully, it won’t go as horribly as the War on Drugs. It will take a comprehensive strategy and will probably take a while yet for all those troglodyte smokers to get with the program but it is definitely a worthwhile undertaking. A recent, somewhat whimsical, effort to shame smokers into embracing life can be seen by these Halloween masks made to look like smokers’ faces. They are hideous masks and I’m sure they’ll make some smokers rethink their lives.

In closing, I apologize for everything I and my fellow smokers have exposed you innocents to. The madness must stop and with some effort on all of our parts I’m sure we can rid the world of the disease called smoking.

Sincerely,

Travis

PS: I will have a review of the Quesada Heisenberg up this weekend.

AFGL: Saints, Bans and BSG

May 1, 2011 · Posted in AFGL · Comment 

A Few Good Links for this Sunday include: a new Catholic Saint, a couple of smoking bans and where you can watch Battlestar Galactica online.

[Pope John Paul II] is being beatified on the day the church celebrates the movable Feast of Divine Mercy, which this year happens to fall on May 1, the most important feast in the communist world.

The coincidence is ironic, given that many believe the pope played a key role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

  • For fans of Battlestar Galactica, which is one of the best science fiction series I have ever seen, you can watch every episode on Netflix now. If you haven’t watched it yet you should give it a try. The series tackles many issues that our society faces today and the action is pretty good as well.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

November 3, 2009 · Posted in Assault on Cigars · Comment 

One Step Forward

As a cigar smoker you can’t help but pay attention to the never-ending assault on our freedom to smoke cigars. So, when there is a nominally positive step, like was seen when a proposed smoking ban was narrowly defeated in Indianapolis, I am happy.

Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before Indianapolis follows in the footsteps of so many other cities throughout America (and the rest of the world) and seriously restricts the rights of smokers.

Two Steps Back

Remember my post a couple of weeks ago about how the FDA had banned almost all flavored cigarettes (except menthol) and how this would probably lead to a total ban on all flavored tobacco products? If not then you should go back and read it because this is exactly what is happening in New York City (thanks Bloomberg).

According to Cigar Aficionado, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has signed into law a ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco products within city limits. From Cigar Aficionado:

“Introductory number 433-A would ban the sale of tobacco products with characterizing flavors, except for menthol, mint, or wintergreen, in any location other than a tobacco bar,” said Bloomberg in the official press release. “This bill improves upon the recent federal ban on flavored cigarettes and makes New York City the first city to protect children from all flavored products on the market.

Again with the “protection of children” shtick. Wouldn’t banning the sale of tobacco products accomplish that goal? Oh, wait, that’s right, IT IS ALREADY ILLEGAL TO SELL TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO MINORS!!!

Basically, what all the smoke-Nazis are doing is infringing on the rights of adults to supposedly “protect the children.” And sure, you would be right if you said that flavored tobacco products are more palatable for minors than the real stuff but that doesn’t change the fact that laws are already in place that prohibit the sale of all tobacco products to minors and that is the way it should be.

But I’ll play this rhetorical game with the smoze-Nazis. If it is copacetic to ban flavored tobacco products because it appeals more to children than a Partagas Black Label cigar then shouldn’t we also ban all flavored alcohol? I’m talking about those flavored vodka brands, mixed drinks, and the such.

Why is it alright to ban flavored tobacco products because it is viewed as a gateway to a lifetime of blah, blah, blah but flavored alcohol is alright even though it could also be categorized as a gateway to a lifetime of blah, blah, blah? There is, of course, little difference between the two (and, to be honest, I would wholeheartedly support a ban of all flavored vodkas… I’m kidding – sort of).

I guess the only silver lining to this whole story is that thanks to the repressive regime that is running New York (both the governor and Mayor Bloomberg) the rich are leaving that state in droves. It’s only a matter of time before those politicians will need to raise more tax revenue to cover their grandiose spending programs and that is when they will “reluctantly” legalize flavored tobacco products again.

Flavored Cigarettes Banned… Flavored Cigars Next?

October 6, 2009 · Posted in Assault on Cigars · 3 Comments 

A couple of weeks ago Patrick S at The Stogie Guys wrote a post titled Stogie News: Flavored Cigarette Ban Hits, Cigars Next? Short answer: Give ‘em time.

From another blog:

One of the problems with the new legislation is that the law does not clearly denote what constitutes a cigarette.

The most common distinction between a cigar and a cigarette is in the way each is wrapped, with cigars being rolled in tobacco leaves and cigarettes being cased in paper. Officials have been “deliberately vague” in letting the public know whether the ban would apply to flavored small cigars and cigarillos.

In a letter to tobacco manufacturers the agency noted that the ban applied to all “cigarette-like” products, regardless of how they are packaged and/or marketed.

Part of the confusion is due to the strict deadline that the agency had to meet. It only had 90 days to put the ban on flavored cigarettes into effect.

Catherine Lorraine, a lawyer in the agency’s tobacco center, said, “We will be looking at products on an individual basis to determine if it meets that aspect of the legislation.”

The post goes on to explain that the reason for the ambiguity is due to the short amount of time the poor FDA had to create these new bans. It had nothing to do with the FDA wanting to create regulations so broad that they could easily be expanded in the future. No way!

Just remember, the FDA could have just enforced laws already on the book that prohibit tobacco consumption by minors. Instead of doing the sensible thing, they just went ahead and banned flavored cigarettes. And, thanks to what I think was a purposefully broad regulation, flavored cigarillos are next. Just you watch.

Cuba Cuts Back on Cigar Tobacco Acreage

October 5, 2009 · Posted in Assault on Cigars · 2 Comments 

Despite all the rosy projections for the cigar industry I have read and heard about for the last couple of years it looks like Cuba is going to cut back production by 30%.

Cash-short Cuba is slashing the amount of land devoted to growing its famous tobacco by more than 30 percent as the global recession and worldwide spread of smoking bans bite into sales of the country’s prized cigars.

Demand for Cuba’s cigars fell 3 percent in 2008 and earlier was reported down 15 percent in 2009 because of the recession and the smoking bans adopted in a growing number of places as a public health measure.

Cuba’s National Statistics Office, in a report posted on its web page (www.one.cu), said land to be planted with tobacco for next year’s crop had dropped to 49,000 acres (19,800 hectares), down from 70,000 acres (28,200 hectares), which was in turn less than 2008.

[SOURCE]

The theory from some of the cheerleaders in the cigar industry (Ahem, Cigar Aficionado) was that higher taxes and smoking bans would not affect premium cigar sales too much because, well, we will still buy expensive cigars despite all the roadblocks erected in front of us… just because we like premium cigars so much and our wallets are always full of money.

It is probably true that the Cubans are cutting back production of their lower level cigars; so Montecristo, Bolivar and Cohiba will not be affected as much – I’m guessing. It’s also true that the recession is having a significant impact on cigar sales. Actually, now that I think about it, according to Greg Mankiw’s blog:

The consumption of high-consumption households is more exposed to fluctuations in aggregate consumption and income than that of low-consumption households in the Consumer Expenditure (CEX) Survey.

Accompanying chart:

The exposure to aggregate consumption growth of households in the top 10 percent of the consumption distribution in the CEX is about five times that of households in the bottom 80 percent. Given real aggregate per capita consumption growth about 3 percentage points less than its historical mean during the past year, these figures predict that the ratio of consumption of the top 10 percent to the bottom 80 percent has fallen by about 15 percentage points (relative to trend).

Basically, what this graph shows is that during a downturn there is less cigar money; especially amongst the wealthier cigar smokers.

I don’t think it’s too controversial to claim that the goal of governments all over the world is to create a permanent recession in the tobacco industry. Through increased taxes and more aggressive smoking bans, governments are in the process of destroying the cigar industry. It will take time but, with small, incremental steps, governments all over the world are working overtime to make cigars too expensive even for the so-called wealthy people who smoke them.

Cuba cutting back tobacco acreage may turn out to be a reaction to the global recession. Or it could be a harbinger of more serious cutbacks to come.

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