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A Question Concerning Smoking Bans

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I just finished reading an editorial in my local paper, The Virginian Pilot, about a proposed smoking ban in the city of Norfolk. It mentions all the typical evils associated with smoking and second hand cigarette smoke.

Here’s my question. If cigarette smoking is so bad for me and the smoke pouring out of my cigarette is so bad for everyone else, why can I still go to just about any store in America and by a pack of these evil things?

I mean, you make me wear a helmet if I ride a motorcycle; you make me wear a seat belt if I ride in a car. You even make me carry a life jacket for everyone on my boat. In some states I can’t talk on my phone while I’m driving. I’m not even allowed to cuss at the beach here in Virginia! But I can still go to a 7-Eleven and by a pack of smokes if I want to!

Lawmakers are trying to pass a law in one state that would outlaw smoking in your car if there are children in there with you. There seems to be a law for just about anything and everything, but evil cigarettes are still legal…one of those things that make you go hmmm…

Yeah, I know they’re bad for me and so does everyone else. If they’re so bad for me then outlaw them. Oh wait! The loss of those extra tax dollars of mine would be more harmful to the government than even my cigarette smoke is to you and me! But doesn’t the government subsidize this industry too? I’m confused!

Here’s the real problem with city councils banning anything. It’s not their job. If they think something is bad for us then put it on the ballot and let the people decide. That’s the way this country is supposed to work. At least that’s the way I remember learning it.

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About Andy Marsh

  • Clavos

    Andy, Andy, Andy,

    A ban on the sale of cigarettes in Virginia???.

    Be careful the agriculture and tobacco lobbies don’t send out a hit man to your house!

  • Hey. they already closed down the smoking rooms at the Norfolk Airport…and like I said, they’re trying to institute a ban in Norfolk!

    You can’t smoke in Charlotte International Airport in Charlotte NC…That’s the heart of tabacco country! I was told that the Charlotte Airport was actually built on old tabacco land…

    If they do like they should…they’d outlaw them and then no one would be able to smoke anywhere! And let’s face it…it really would be a good reason to quit!

  • Getting rid of cigarettes would raise everyone’s taxes. Cigarettes are among the most taxed items and they are always adding more to them. The “sin tax” helps pay for schools, roads, public health, and so on so getting rid of them will get rid of the tax.

  • yeah, and getting rid of helmet laws and seatbelt laws would get rid of a lot of stupid people and that would drop the tax burden…so I don’t buy that one.

  • moonraven

    How would getting rid of stupid people drop the tax burden?

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • fun read there Andy…

    but outlawing smokes would get some kind of revolt going real quick…

    maybe that’s not such a bad thing…


  • I’m surprised you didn’t include me with those names…but anyway…stupid people do stupid things…if they’re stupid enough it’ll get you killed. Riding a motorcycle and not wearing a helmet is a stupid thing…riding in a car without a seatbelt is a stupid thing…more people involved in motorcycle accidents not wearing helmets die than ones that wear them and the same for seatbelts.

    Most of the laws we have in this country are designed to keep stupid people alive…and there are all those warnings on different kinds of meds and cleaners…for the stupid people…I mean, come on…do they really need to tell people not to take preparation-H internally??? Do they really need to tell people not to use their hair dryer in the shower? Only the stupid ones….

    …but then again…they tell me not to smoke…I must be one of the stupid ones too! Why won’t the govt protect me from myself? They protect everyone else from themselves…

  • Yeah I know gonzo…but it’d make me quit! Well, it’d piss me off first…then it’d make me quit.

    But I do remember saying…I’ll never pay $2 a pack…and the rest of you smokers that don’t live in a tabacco state don’t hate me for this…but now I pay $2.70!

    I can remember seastores when I was 18 for $2 a carton! I was outraged when they went to $2,50! And now I pay $27 a carton!

  • Clavos

    I remmeber PX cigs at $1.10, Andy. Back in the sixties, when even in a civilian store they were $.25 a pack, and gas was $.25 a gallon. I could fill my motorcycle for around $.50.

  • We called them Seastores Clav…could only get them underway…but the PX/NEX is still the cheapest anywhere!

  • Clavos

    Yep. There used to be a Navy Exchange in Saigon when I was in Nam. Bought a nice Rolex there, for $80.00, at a time when the same model was selling for $300.00 in the World.

  • I bought one in Tijuanna for $20. The second hand didn’t sweep, but it looked pretty…

    People would look at it and say, what kinda watch is that…I’d say, Srolex…

  • a little over $6 a pack here in Maine…going to NH where there is no sales tax shaves a buck off of it

    but i digress…


  • It’s been my experience travelling around the country that the prices are like that just about everywhere…except the south…we’re always last for everything down here! Or should I say they’re always last for everything…being a displaced yankee and all…

  • MooCow

    To force your beliefs and values on others is what’s truly immoral. America was once the land of the free. Now our nation seems to have been reduced to an exercise in livestock management. Do we respect each other as humans, or do we just bray at each other like herd animals?

  • The reason why cigarettes/tobacco-products aren’t outlawed is not just because of the loss in tax revenue but also because the tobacco industry has long been known to have its hands deep in the pockets of Congress.

    MooCow: “respect” is a two-way street. Much of the opposition to smoking is not just due to health-related reasons. It’s also because for decades non-smokers (the majority) have had to put up with the insufferably rude behavior of smokers (the minority) who have forced their habit on non-smokers, who are usually only given one option when voicing complaints about smoke: go elsewhere, someplace there is not smoke. Now the tables have been turned and the minority is finally having to deal with an annoying inconvenience for once. It’s about friggin’ time.

  • REMF

    “Yep. There used to be a Navy Exchange in Saigon when I was in Nam. Bought a nice Rolex there, for $80.00, at a time when the same model was selling for $300.00 in the World.”

    And after Kerry gave his 1971 speech, the price in 1966 went up to $250.00!!

  • Tom – that’s not really a fair statement is it? Are all smokers rude…do all of us blow our smoke in your face? I mean, come on, I don’t even smoke in my own house!

    But, it is legal. And that’s my point. If it’s so fucking bad…then outlaw it and be done with it.

    And if you were a smoker…or better yet a business owner, would you really want the govt interfering with YOUR business…or are you one of those, I need the govt to control me and every one around me kind of people that can’t speak for themselves.

    I learned when I was a kid not to smoke at the dinner table…listening to my father bitch at my mother about it…but that’s not the point of this anyway…it’s LEGAL! If it’s so bad for all of us, smokers and non-smokers alike then fucking outlaw and and get it over with…otherwise…leave me the fuck alone to smoke my legal cigarettes.

    And leave the local tavern owner alone to decide what kind of customers he wants in his establishment. Obviously, we’re either not the minority like you say, or we spend more money…at least down here in the south.

    And really…after spending months in CA this year and having to go outside and smoke, because of CA law, not because of any choice of a business owner, it really doesn’t bother me…but it shouldn’t be that way…if it’s legal, it’s legal, if it’s as bad as they say it is then it should be illegal. It’s getting to the point in CA that you’re gonna get in more trouble for smoking a cigarette than a joint!

    It’s between a businees owner and his customers…you know, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone kinda thing. Or like I said, leave to all the people, not 8 or 10 or however many you may have on your local city council.

  • And one more thing…Tom…you ex-smokers…and you sure sound like one…are the biggest pains in the asses of all! You’re like muslim extremists that have to cover their women because they’re afraid of the temptation…you need to rid the world of smokers because every time you see one light up you want to light up and it fucking kills you!

  • RJ

    “But I do remember saying…I’ll never pay $2 a pack…and the rest of you smokers that don’t live in a tobacco state don’t hate me for this…but now I pay $2.70!”

    Well, it’s about $3.50 a pack in Florida…and I hear it’s closer to $5.00 a pack in Michigan and NY…

  • RJ

    I recall, back in the mid-to-late 1990s, being able to buy a couple packs of semi-generic cigs (say, Dorals) for about three dollars. (Yes, I was poor White trash.)

    Now you can’t even buy one pack of Marlboros without putting a serious dent in a fin (thank you for the 65 cents in change, Habeeb).

    Of course, it was around the same time that I could fill up an 11-gallon tank of gas for about a sawbuck.

    My, how times have changed… :-/

  • The reason you can’t just outright ban the SALE of cigarettes is that it would be political suicide. Too many people are addicted and the sudden removal would see hospitals flooded with people suffering withdrawals.

    The only effective way to rid society of them is to slowly phase it out. Start by eliminating the sale to minors, then force smokers away from public places while making it cost so much that every time they smoke they have to wonder if it’s worth it.

    If you’re going to ban an addictive substance you’re better off going after the least popular ones.

  • That always seems to be the reason shit can’t get done in this country…we need MORE political suicides around here!

  • Clavos

    Given that smokers now number fewer than 20% of the population, and that most of them are adolescents, I would question whether banning them would be political suicide.

    However, what would happen is that they would be added to the inventories of the drug cartels and begin to be sold on the streets, by pushers.

    Attempting to ban their manufacture in this country would be equally fruitless (and probably would be political suicide, due to the strength of the tobacco lobby), because the manufacturing would just move offshore, and the drug cartels would import them along with all their other drugs.

  • Nancy

    The moment anything is banned it becomes a mecca to most idiots. Look at liquor in the 20s. If they legalized drugs & prostitution tomorrow, after an initial frenzy of indulgence, I’d be willing to bet demand would drop like a rock except for the hard-core indulgers.

    Back when I was in college, my freshman year the dorms all went co-ed. There was about a month or so of sexual frenzy among a lot of the denizens, then it tapered off, and within 4 months there was more abstinence than there had been when the dorms were all-male or all-female. Why? Because when you get up every morning & in the communal bathrooms (yes, those were mixed also) you encounter someone with bleary eyes, rumpled nasty old rags they’ve slept in, & foul breath – somehow it takes the sexiness, fun, & impetus to play right out of you. I never could understand how any of us were ever going to get married, after that! What a quelling effect, entirely unintentional, & utterly ironic.

  • To be consistent we’d have to either ban tobacco and alcohol, OR legalize the wide variety of other recreational drugs.

    Whether we do either of those things, or just keep muddling along with our current inconsistencies, in public places I’m always happier where nobody is burning anything merely to make it emit choking volumes of toxic gases. (And no, I am most emphatically NOT a former user of any drug habitually ingested by burning it first.)

    If somebody ever finds a way for people to take their tobacco (or other drugs) without exposing anyone else to it, I’ll fully endorse your freedom to indulge anywhere you like.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Victor – exactly.

    And unless you want your taxes to go through the stratosphere to pay for enforcement, I’d go for option 2.