Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

by lewwaters

Anyone who has served in the U.S. Army in days past heard the command, “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” numerous times. It was acknowledgement from Squad Leaders or Platoon Sergeants that it was time for a break, take a rest from whatever the Troops were doing and if you were a smoker, like most were way back when, enjoy a smoke.

I don’t know whether or not the Army still uses the phrase, but the phrase and smoking of a cigarette or cigar is definitely out of favor around the country, given that we now know the dangers of tobacco use.

We saw it not too long ago as the Vancouver, Washington city council unanimously approved a smoking ban in all city parks, after chasing smokers out of nearly every building in existence in the state when Initiative 901 passed in 2005.

In the meantime, taxes were added to a pack of cigarettes amounting to $3.025 a pack, placing Washington State in the top 5 states for high tobacco taxes.

The taxes were sold as needed to fund certain health programs, predominately “for the children” and to encourage smokers to quit smoking, which means the state would receive less revenue “for the children.” Currently, the state is looking into adding the same exorbitant taxes on “roll your own” cigarettes.

It’s apparent the act of lighting up and smoking, even outdoors now is strongly frowned upon while the revenue from their sale is looked for.

I don’t know of anybody that questions the harmful effects of tobacco use, but these bans are not directed at forcing smokers to quit. No, they are intended to protect non-smokers from the evils of “second-hand smoke” which much like global warming, the anti-smoking crowd declares the “debate is over,” regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

Let me state here that I do not condone a smoker lighting up in the presence of a non-smoker. They do stink to high heaven and are very offensive to others.

But this notion of totally banning smoking inside and outside while still expecting sufficient revenue from the sale of the product to fund programs “for the children” makes no sense to me.

There is also the matter of enforcing tobacco bans in parks at a time we hear elected officials saying they cannot fund parks maintenance and have had to lay off city and county employees. If there is not some official present, what can be done if someone does light up in a remote park?

While the Clark County Board of Commissioners recently tightened up smoking restrictions in county parks, adding “tobacco free zones” in some, they stopped short of following the Vancouver City Council’s move of a “total ban” in all of the county’s parks, drawing the ire of the Columbian’s Editorial Board who says, In Our View: Ban Smoking in County Parks.

That tobacco remains a 100% legal product and is sold with punitive taxes attached to every pack that the state depends upon receiving in these dark economic times seem to escape those who demonize tobacco and those who use it.

Commissioner Tom Mielke, a conservative Republican said, “We’re unable to protect everyone from everything. So how far do we go,” indicating too that these bans amount to an incremental encroachment on people’s personal freedoms.

Liberal Democrat Commissioner Steve Stuart questioned how long it takes for smoke to dissipate outside, receiving the answer of “The surgeon general says no secondhand smoke is safe,” from Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer who also replied that the time for smoke to dissipate varies, depending upon factors such as wind and how many people are smoking.

Stuart commented that “without data to show when one’s right to smoke infringes on another’s right to smoke-free air, he couldn’t support banning a legal substance from parks.”

Commissioner Marc Boldt, supposedly also a Republican was the lone supporter of a full, outright ban said, “Unless there’s an outright ban in neighborhood and community parks, I can’t see going any further,” adding, “the commissioners are tasked with protecting the public’s health.”

I need not bother go into so many other acts in public that are offensive, pose a risk to health or could result in injury, they are well known and not subject to such bans, yet.

Just about everyone I know who still smokes makes every effort to avoid non-smokers when they light up. Even in parks, I See them walk away from people to keep their smoke away from them. Most won’t even smoke in their own homes, stepping outside to smoke and keep the stink from accumulating inside that visitors would find offensive.

But many are getting tired of being pushed further and further away and forced to pay punitive taxes for their habit while being scorned by ‘Smoke-Nazi’s’ who feel they have a right to determine others conduct. Many non-smokers, realizing that these smokers are cognizant of how offensive it is and the strides they take to avoid non-smokers when smoking, as well as seeing the incremental step taken to impede personal freedoms, support the smokers and oppose these totalitarian smoking bans.

While not in our state, they have begun pushing back in other regions. Studies on second-hand smoke are being questioned, while others label the secondhand smoke scare a scam.

Although no statewide ban has yet to be overturned, court challenges on their constitutionality continue.

Some courts are reviewing the legality of such broad based bans on a legal product.

Limited success had been seen in some localities Golf Courses, Bars & Nightclubs both in American States and in Europe.

Efforts to urge outdoor bans continue at the same time.

Some wonder why, given that anti-smoking groups label tobacco and second-hand smoke so detrimental, it isn’t just outright banned from being sold or used. North Dakota tried such a ban in 2003. It would have banned tobacco sales and use throughout the state. Someone caught smoking could face up to a month in jail.

Opposition that caused the ban to be defeated by an 84 to 4 vote in their legislature was from the North Dakota Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, North Dakota Public Health Association and North Dakota Nurses Association.

Their reason? “There’s no evidence banning tobacco would prevent and reduce tobacco use because no such approach has been implemented.”

Such a total ban would also deny those same groups the money they operate on.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, if you can find a place allowing it.

8 Comments to “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em”

  1. Passing a ban is one thing, enforcing it is quite another. They don’t even have the money to post signs in the park so just how serious does anyone think this issue really is?

    I expect people to pay no more attention to the smoking ban than they do the scoop law or stop signs….

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  2. In the first place, it costs about 56 cents to produce a pack of cigarettes. Anything above that pretty much goes to the government, which makes the government the largest “profiteer” from the sale of cigarettes and should also make the government 99% responsible for any “harm” from smoking cigarettes.

    In the second place, the very extensive study done by the World Health Organization and a study done by the American Cancer Society failed to show any health effects from “second-hand smoke” by studying tens of thousands of people over many, many years.

    Knowing these facts, it is obvious that the anti-smoking campaigns are totally based on selfish, yuppie-hysteria and really nothing else. Selfish, self-centered bastards trying to stop anyone from using Tobacco just because they “don’t like it”. Really nothing different than the Enviro-Wacko bastards trying to stop mankind from doing anything because “they don’t like it”.

    The single-minded selfishness has gone way out of control in this nation and will definitely lead to a bloody Revolution in which the selfish yuppie bastards will be lined up against walls and shot. So just be aware, selfish Liberals, your “day” is “coming”.

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  3. The truth is total absurdity is the promotion of marajuana legalization for taxation purposes without the outright ban of cigarettes again for taxation purposes. Need I say more?
    Oh, except recently I was subjected to a woman who was burning kerosene soaked cardboard in a home furnace and smoking out the house with toxic fumes. After putting out the fire and mentionong the need to NOT burn chemicals period I went outside for air. About 30 minutes later this same woman who had stood over the large central floor vent sucking in the toxic fumes from her fire came out and from 20 feet away proceeded to act like my cigarette was the worst smelling thing on the planet! Talk about your yuppie phonies…

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  4. Some people just defy logic.

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  5. As someone who suffers from asthma I’m not too fond of second-hand smoke, whether it’s from cigarettes or chimneys. But prohibition doesn’t work on cigarettes any more than it works on marijuana, or alcohol back in the ’20s, or anything else that a significant percentage of the population wants to do.

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  6. Interesting that a “non profit” called the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant funds all these pro ban groups, and RWJF is the “philanthropic arm” of Johnson and Johnson “family of companies” who cornered the nicotine replacement market back in the ’90’s. (when all the ban stuff started) Since in the last few monthes, several studies on these products have shown that they are worthless, and I figure J&J has known this all along, they HAD to buy government officials and non profit lobbyists to push for bans to promote the sells of Nicoderm, Nicorette, NIcotrol, Nicoderm CQ. If the crap worked, they would not have had to BUY Legislators and legislation.

    NO ONE wants anyone to stop buying tobacco! That would collapse the federal and state governments, and the pro ban lobbying.

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  7. As several people say, Sheila, Follow the Money.

    Government and anti-smoking groups are who are raking in the dough off of tobacco. If they were really concerned they would be banning tobacco outright.

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  8. As it was so eloquently pointed out in the article through the experience of attempting a total ban in North Dakota, it has never been about health, the smokers, bystanders, employees, or otherwise. It was always about extorting lobbyist cash from tobacco companies, mostly at the state and federal levels.

    Then it was about rewarding the trial lawyers associations, using state Attorney Generals and high ranking justices, armed with “friend of the court” briefs, to set precedent for previously unsuccessful lawsuits, in exchange for their many many millions of contributions each election cycle.

    Then it was about setting the stage for a “multi-state super lotto” trial settlement, (the attorneys for which promised perpetual millions in campaign donations to guess what party…). Purportedly there is a confidentiality agreement among the attorneys involved which includes loss of their payments if broken, but it is speculated that the lesser attorneys only received sever hundred million dollars. The larger ones, including relatives of Hillary Clinton, are rumored to have cuts in excess of a billion each.

    Then about taxes. Then regulations, (each attempt bringing lobby cash). Then fine revenue for violations and yet another foot in the door for the state to usurp parental rights in the name of preventing child abuse. (Right… sure…).

    The “everywhere bans” are about fines and revenue, with a sprinkle of setting precedent to do the same with other prominent types of human behavior Democrats think they can turn into a multi-billion dollar political propagation machine.

    Somewhere in the mix there are left-over true believer zealots, (“useful idiots” if you will), who are thankfully convinced enough to push the cart “over the edge”, forcing the perpetrators to expose themselves and their true motives.

    Amusingly, these zealots who want to stamp out smoking entirely, typically have to put their bongs down to type, and/or support medical marijuana. Hypocritical political positions are the norm for a party whose every social platform issue is designed to cement the legal precedent of forcing the will of an extreme few onto everyone, claiming they represent the majority, who are supposedly concerned about a small oppressed minority. (tyranny always starts this way).

    It’s the argument which says “you can’t listen to the majority in a democracy! It’s oppressive and unfair!” The only solution is to give a handful of vocal and powerful activist politicians authority to institute fascist policies oppressing nearly everybody, otherwise it won’t be fair to this or that tiny group! (Doesn’t matter if it’s unfair to the majority) Set enough legal precedent, and PRESTO! instant fascism through court decision. Oh wait… It’s already here…

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