Schizophrenic Tobacco Tax Laws
    May 2nd, 2011

By C.R.S. Lyles
Allow me to pose a question: If you were able to sacrifice the few for the many, throw a couple of people under the bus so that the mass majority would be saved, would you do it?

This question has been at the core of the utilitarian conundrum since the discipline’s inception, and yet the mass majority has still failed to see the relevance of the question or how it applies to modern life.

Therefore, allow me also to pose a scenario, a more specific example that has arisen from this age-old philosophical debate: If you were able to update children’s health care, ensure that the programs utilized to help pay medical costs for children in need continued for the next five years, but in exchange you had to increase tobacco taxes and indirectly encourage people to smoke so that the program could be funded, would you sacrifice the health of adult Americans for our country’s children?

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By C. R. S. Lyles
As the author Madeleine L’Engle once said, "We are strangers in a strange land."

I would like to be the first to welcome you to this foreign country.

Welcome to Happy Town, the happiest place on Earth. The people of Happy Town are a clean, industrious people who live in the strictest sense to diminish their carbon footprint on the planet. The chief export of Happy Town is self-satisfaction, and the factories located in the capitol district of Happy Town are the world leaders in this clean, recyclable and renewable energy source.

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by C. R. S. Lyles
As the old adage goes, the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. As smokers know, these elements of life are even more assured, since smoking can lead to early death and the current taxation on cigarettes has outshone any other taxable product since the Intolerable Acts of colonial times.

But now a third variable has crept into the mixture, a variable which not only exacerbates the previous two, but will inevitably lead to a poorer quality of life for all Americans who still continue to smoke: joblessness.

In a recent article published by the New York Times, hospitals and medical businesses are cutting down on the volume of employed smokers within their facilities and turning away applicants who either confess that they smoke or it is found out later that they smoke.

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The Second Battle in Seattle
    February 3rd, 2011

By C. R. S. Lyles

In 1999, thousands swarmed the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle to protest the World Trade Organization and promote the anti-globalization movement in the United States. Now, nearly twelve years later, a new spark of revolt is sweeping the streets of the Emerald City.

As of last year, a law was passed that made shipping tobacco to consumers in the state of Washington illegal. The ban, which has been lauded by lawmakers, the media, and the public, is a travesty of both free enterprise and free will, and has led multiple proponents of tobacco and all its consumers to take their fight to the halls of the state legislature in protest of the bill and its proposed accessories, HB 1246, (which bans all flavored tobacco) and SB 5016, (which bans smoking in an automobile when minors are present).

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The Smug Alert: Part Two
    February 2nd, 2011

By C. R. S. Lyles
This is the place referenced in the countless examples of a dystopian future; these are the limits of human control.

Since the 1600s, those in power have wanted nothing more than to bring the use of tobacco under their jurisdiction, either to control its sale or to eradicate it altogether. Beginning with James I, the tyranny of tobacco’s opposition has grown in its methods and goals, and yet the underlying motivation remains unchanged.

Last July, the University of Florida initiated a campus-wide ban of tobacco use on all of its properties, becoming one of the first major universities in Florida to do so.

The ban, stemming from an initiative put forth by the Healthy Gators Coalition, a branch of the Alachua County Health Department, outlawed "the personal use of any tobacco product, whether intended to be lit or not, which shall include smoking…, as well as the use of an electronic cigarette or any other device intended to simulate smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco, including snuff; chewing tobacco; smokeless pouches; any other form of loose-leaf, smokeless tobacco; and the use of unlit cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco."

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The Smug Alert
    January 2nd, 2011

By C. R. S. Lyles
There’s a smug alert in your neck of the woods
.

It comes without mercy, and it comes without warrant. It can’t be reasoned with, negotiated, or swayed from its single-minded purpose to take from you what defines you as an American citizen: Choice.

Melodramatics aside, the singular focus of the health care crusaders parallels perfectly with the lampooning nature of the television show South Park, and more specifically one episode in which the writers address the issue of hybrid car drivers. Now, the nature of the episode leans toward the outlandishly excessive, but the message is clear: while the intent of the self-satisfied is noble, the means through which they seek to achieve their goals inevitably does more harm than good.

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Did you know that if a smoker looks at you from across the street that you will get cancer and die within 5-minutes?

You often hear that there are no "fact checkers" on the Internet, and that traditional media is more professional because they don’t just report anything … they have fact checkers. Well, if that’s true, then how come this happened? … The other morning, I am upstairs in my office checking email as Laura is making breakfast for us and watching CNN Headline News. Suddenly, she yells upstairs; "Oh my God, you should see what they are saying about tobacco! This is serious! It is so bad!" My immediate reaction was to roll my eyes and think, "what now?" Then I yelled back that she should ignore it and it is all a bunch of hyperbole from someone that has no life and nothing better to do. Laura retorted that it has to be true because Robin Meade is saying it on Headline News and the Surgeon General said it.

WOW! Talk about a misuse of public voice … to say the least. When the Surgeon General and CNN Headline News asserts something, you know that millions of people are going to take it as fact. I am starting to wonder how we here in the U.S.A. compare to the people of Iraq, China or North Korea when their official news agencies report on something. What I’ve been taught to believe is that media such as the National Iraqi News Agency, Xinhua News, (the state-owned media in China), and the Korean Central News Agency in North Korea don’t really report facts. They report their own self-serving propaganda. If that’s true, and I believe it is, I wonder how many of the people there have figured it out and know not to really believe all the garbage that comes out of those wide-reaching public voices?

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Keep Your Laws Off My Pack
    December 2nd, 2010

By C. R. S. Lyles
All Ralphie Parker wanted for Christmas was "an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time." However, as those who are already familiar with the story know, one thing stands in his way of acquiring this coveted possession: his mother’s resounding mantra of "You’ll shoot your eye out."

The similarities between the conflict of A Christmas Story and the conflicts that smokers encounter and have encountered with health care crusaders, anti-smoking activists, and the majority of the non-smoking population in general illuminates a startling parallel which can best be seen through public health’s claims that smoking-related deaths are comparable to Nazi genocide and a 1986 Journal of the American Medical Association editorial which has dubbed the last half-century "the tobaccoism holocaust".

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And it’s not just about the tobacco anymore either.

The latest form of terrorism is being committed right here by our own citizens and lawmakers. They so desperately and urgently want to control how others live their lives. The U.S.A. is being overrun with Totalitarianism.

The new San Francisco law prohibiting fast-food restaurants from including toys with children’s meals that do not meet nutritional guidelines is abhorrent. It is also a perfect example of how the Anti-Tobacco-Nazis Totalitarianism is already creeping into other facets of our lives.

IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN! WE MUST SAVE THE CHILDREN!

Bullshit!

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Different consumers use different types of tobacco. There are cigarette smokers, cigar smokers and pipe smokers.

Cigarette smokers are the most vilified people in today’s society, short of child predators, but not by much.

Pipes and cigars are considered "luxury tobaccos" and cigarettes are considered to be different, and rightly so in many ways. Cigarettes are a habit to provide a nicotine fix. I’m not sure why that’s so bad when people that drink coffee all day are left well enough alone. Let’s not even get into all the people that can’t even function throughout their day without their Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, or Cymbalta.

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