Put that in Your Pipe

Don’t Tread on Pipe Tobacco or Anything Else

Just about every member of the pipe smoking community should already know about H.R. 4439, the Tobacco Tax Parity Act of 2010. It proposes to raise the tax on pipe tobacco 775% from $2.8311 to $24.78 per pound. Many of you have signed our Petition to Stop the Pipe Tobacco Tax. While I am quite pleased with the support the pipe community has shown in rallying against this bill, many of the comments, attitudes and opinions expressed have been disappointing and disheartening to say the least.

We are thankful for the support, but we are frustrated with the finger-pointing, self-segregation of smokers and suggestions to tax other things that are Personal Lifestyle Choices.

Those of us that enjoy pipe smoking are not happy about more and more taxes being placed on pipe tobacco. We also don’t like all the new smoking restrictions that keep popping up, especially the ludicrous restrictions against outdoor smoking and no smoking inside a tobacconist’s shop. Yes, there are some localities that have passed and proposed laws outlawing smoking indoors, including tobacco shops and smoking lounges.

Most people that don’t smoke a pipe probably couldn’t care less, but they should.

On a rare occasion we might find a non-smoker that actually believes in smoker’s rights and has a general "live-and-let-live" attitude. It amazes me how many pipe smokers do not have this philosophy. You want pipe smoking to be left alone, but you don’t mind pointing the finger to someone else’s personal choices.

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Many of the comments placed on our petition gave the message to not tax pipe tobacco, but instead to tax other things like snack foods, soda, and alcohol … or other forms of tobacco, like manufactured cigarettes or roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco.

Do you like donuts, sugared cereals, or sugared colas? How about Twinkies? Do you sometimes enjoy French fries, Hamburgers, or Hot dogs? Did you eat any of this stuff on Super Bowl Sunday perhaps?

How about steak? Raise your hand if you like Steak! What about Pizza?

What about Video Games? Anyone here own an XBox or PS2? Shouldn’t you be outside exercising instead of sitting on the couch playing a game?

Well, you know what? It’s none of my Goddamn business and it’s nobody else’s either.

It’s nobody’s business what any of our Personal Lifestyle Choices are.

This is not meant to be a political website, but I am of the strong opinion that government should not try to regulate anything that is someone’s personal lifestyle choice. It doesn’t matter if someone says it’s bad for you. Lots of people say that pipe smoking is bad for you. Are you going to quit because of this? Do you think it is fair to have it taxed out of existence?

There are even some people in the pipe community and pipe tobacco business that minimalized the situation by stating that this is not a big deal in real dollars and cents.

Hey people, it doesn’t matter if you are a multi-millionaire, have your own private jet, and eat $100 lunches every day, and it doesn’t matter if "it’s less than 25¢ a bowl". This is how percentages come in handy – it’s a 775% increase! It’s the principle of the thing, but it IS also about the money. How many bowls do all of us smoke? How many pounds of pipe tobacco are produced in the US?

According to Norman Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America. Pipe Tobacco Sales were 5.3 million pounds in 2008.

$2.8311 x 5.3 million pounds of pipe tobacco = $15 million+ in taxes ($15,004,830 to be exact).

$24.78 x 5.3 million pounds of pipe tobacco = $131 million+ in taxes ($131,334,000 to be exact).

That’s an increase of $116,329,170. If you got a check for 1% of that, you would get over $1.1 million dollars. I’ll take that any day over 25¢ a bowl.

The Roll-Your-Own (RYO) Industry is NOT the Bad Guy

Many of you already know how this started.

Obama and Congress increased taxes on tobacco products earlier this year to pay for expanded children’s health insurance (S-CHIP), but tobacco for roll-your-own cigarettes saw a disproportionate leap, from $1.10 to $24.78 a pound. Some predicted the tax would kill the roll-your-own industry, which had offered a cheaper alternative to packaged cigarettes.

But tobacco companies quickly adapted. According to The Associated Press; as the tax was on the books, companies all but shut down their roll-your-own brands and reinvented them under a less-restricted, less-taxed category: pipe tobacco. It’s still destined to be rolled and smoked, but it’s taxed at barely a tenth the rate, $2.83 a pound. Here is the chart from the "TTB", the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau that shows the increases on tobacco taxes from S-CHIP. Notice that pipe tobacco already had a tax increase from $1.0969 per pound to $2.8311 per pound.

 

Product

Tax Rate effective March 31, 2009

Tax Rate effective
April 1, 2009

Floor Stocks Tax Rate

 (difference between
 the rates)

Small Cigarettes – Class A

(Weigh 3 lbs. or less per 1,000)

$19.50 per 1,000
equivalent to:
$3.90 per carton
$0.39 per pack
$50.33 per 1,000
equivalent to:
$10.066 per carton
$1.0066 per pack
$30.83 per 1,000
equivalent to:
$6.166 per carton               $0.6166 per pack
Large Cigarettes – Class B*

(Weigh more than 3 lbs.
per 1,000)

$40.95 per 1,000 $105.69 per 1,000 $64.74 per 1,000
Small Cigars

(Weigh 3 lbs. or less per 1,000)

$1.828 per 1,000 $50.33 per 1,000 $48.502 per 1,000
Large Cigars

 

(Weigh more than 3 lbs. per 1,000)

20.719% of sales price but not to exceed $48.75 per 1,000 52.75% of sales price but not to exceed $0.4026 per cigar (or $402.60 per 1,000) NOT PART OF FLOOR STOCKS TAX
Chewing Tobacco** $0.195 per pound $0.5033 per pound $0.3083 per pound
Snuff** $0.585 per pound $1.51 per pound $0.925 per pound
Pipe tobacco** $1.0969 per pound $2.8311 per pound $1.7342 per pound
Roll-your-own tobacco** $1.0969 per pound $24.78 per pound $23.6831 per pound
Cigarette papers*** $0.0122 per 50 $0.0315 per 50 $0.0193 per 50
Cigarette tubes*** $0.0244 per 50 $0.0630 per 50 $0.0386 per 50

 

Source: http://www.ttb.gov/main_pages/schip-summary.shtml

In the TTB’s publication, "Tobacco Product Tax Classification", you can learn how different types of tobaccos are classified for tax purposes. Interestingly, on page 13, you can see that they only way they differentiate pipe tobacco from roll-your-own is by packaging and labeling, but it also does reference how the tobacco is going to be used. (Download Tobacco Product Tax Classification PDF)

The Associated Press was almost right.

The truth is that RYO companies saw this coming for a long time. S-CHIP was debated for about a year before it became law. Most, if not all of the RYO companies made the transition to pipe tobacco long before the law went into effect. The Associated Press had the timing wrong. The RYO guys didn’t wait for the law to go into effect. They started making the change about 9 – 10 months prior.

If you want to blame the RYO industry and make them the bad guys, I ask you to rethink your opinion. As a businessman myself, I do not blame the RYO companies at all. I would have done exactly the same thing. Anyone that is a business owner should agree. Heck, even if you have a "regular job" and are an employee, think of the employees at the RYO companies in danger of losing their jobs.

Those of you that would demonize and point the finger at RYO may not know that many of you might also consider one of the RYO business owners as a "pipe tobacco hero".

In one of our most popular articles, The Mystique of Perique, you learned how one man almost single-handedly saved our beloved Perique tobacco from nearly becoming extinct.

Mark Ryan, the owner of L.A. Poche Perique Tobacco company also owns Daughters & Ryan, which formerly produced RYO and then switched to pipe tobacco. They made the switch long before the tax rate changed.

To me, Mark Ryan is still a hero, not only for saving Perique tobacco, but for also having the cojones to be a true entrepreneur. He has the tremendous strength, willpower and energy to run two companies in an industry that is constantly under fire from some very big guns.

His company is not huge. He is not "big tobacco" with billion-dollar deep pockets, but the man works his butt off to make a living for himself and others, and to bring many people their tobaccos of choice. He employs 14 people directly, and through relationships with suppliers, vendors and customers, his businesses touch tens of thousands of people.

I spoke to Mark about this situation. He had this to say:

Mark Ryan: I just don’t think any of this stuff is by accident anymore. The anti-tobacco radicals have gone after roll-your-own, and it was obvious to go after pipe tobacco next. It’s just a matter of where and when does it end? If you listen to these people now, it’s no longer a health policy, it’s elimination of tobacco product manufacturers. If you think there’s anything else behind this agenda, I’m afraid it’s wishful thinking. I don’t know if a new administration will help us or not.

Look at what’s coming with the FDA. It’s a radical agenda, and it’s about control. We’ve gone from 55% of us using tobacco products in the ’50s to maybe 25% in 2000, and maybe 18% of us now. To these radicals, that’s not enough and it’s not fast enough because it’s all about control. If they get it down to 10%, that’s not enough because they want that 1 in 10 people to stop. Period. It’s all about control. And it’s all about manipulation of human behavior in our society right now. Radicals want us all gone.

PipesMagazine.com: What do you say to the pipe smokers that are blaming the roll-your-own companies, saying they brought this possible tax increase on us pipe smokers?

Ryan: There’s two answers to that. One is that’s it’s just like I said before. It’s kind of naive to think now that these radical prohibitionists are going to settle for roll-your-own. They’re going after every tobacco category to eliminate it all. Pipe tobacco is just another one in succession and they want to cut that way back through taxation. That’s an inevitability from the momentum of this radical prohibitionist agenda. I know that sounds crazy for me to say that, and I’m not one of these people that’s into conspiracy stuff… It’s been 10 years in it’s incremental-ism – it’s hard to see how were going to go back and recapture our rights and freedoms.

With regard to blaming roll-your-own, what are you going to do? When the government is oppressive and passes an increase of over 2,000%, as a human being, what do you want people to do? The roll-your-own companies, have the $25 tax, the MSA, the tobacco farmer buyout – you’re talking $31 in taxes (per pound). This is what people have to realize. They can talk about Socialism all they want. With Socialism, maybe the government steals half of what you earn. I was faced with a proposition of working like a slave to earn a dollar, and give the government $31!

For a human being, that’s a hard pill to swallow. That’s when productive people in our society start to think that maybe it’s time to withdraw from the economy. So they can jump on roll-your-own all they want. What do you do? Do you protect yourself? Do you protect your family? Do you protect your employees? Or do you protect a bunch of deadbeats in government that are trying to steal everything you make? When does it end? What does it come down to? You can throw the blame game, but they’re going to go categorically through all eight groups of tobacco that are regulated by the TTB. It’s sequential, and the writing’s on the wall.

Unless we stop these people, and I don’t know how, we’re in trouble. We’re going to lose our right to smoke.

PipesMagazine.com: Right now there is no clear definition between roll-your-own and pipe tobacco, except for how it’s labeled. Do you think that’s going to change?

Ryan: I don’t think that will be changing. The pressure on the TTB to make the immediate change is not there anymore since they are trying to just make the tax the same on both. It’s going to be a big problem down the road though because the states are going to complain that the pipe guys aren’t paying into the MSA.

[Editor’s note: The MSA is the Master Settlement Agreement in the cigarette industry, whereby tobacco companies agreed to forever pay annual payments to the states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for persons with smoking-related illnesses so 46 attorney generals would drop their class-action lawsuit. More info on MSA on Wikipedia.]

So what’s the next step? These oppressive bastards are going to make everybody in pipe tobacco register in their states. Folks in roll-your-own and cigarettes do now. Every year you have to get your brand certified. In terms of incrementalism, that’s one of the next steps, and another thing to destroy manufacturers because the paperwork is so regressive and so time-consuming, it’s more than a small company can sustain.

The people in government can do it because they don’t have to pay for their payroll. They can just steal more money from taxpayers. They can add employees ad nauseam to process all the paperwork because they don’t have to produce anything to pay all the salaries. For a business it’s a little different. It gets to a point that a business just says screw it, I can’t afford the paperwork. It’s time to shutter the store. We’re getting to that point.

The tobacco situation is a model for the other industries that these radical prohibitionists type people are going to attack. Is it going to be the sugar-sodas? Is it going to be fat or bacon? Or some other food? Who knows. This is a very effective model for these people that are totally into controlling our behavior. Once they get healthcare, what do you think is next? Don’t you think they’re going to tell you not to smoke and what to eat? We’re in big trouble if that healthcare thing goes through. They’ll be telling us how to live.

———————————————————————–

Taxation to Control or Manipulate Behavior is Wrong

Taxation to control or manipulate behavior is wrong and there is no argument that makes it right, whether it is tobacco or anything else. Just because something is supposedly "bad for you", or someone else doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean nobody else should be allowed to partake of it.

In the beginning of this article I referenced many of the comments that I thought were wrong because they suggested taxing other things besides tobacco.

However, there were some people that commented that do not smoke, and they said this new pipe tobacco tax goes too far. They recognize that the encroachment on tobacco consumers rights will eventually lead to other products that they might enjoy.

I’d like to end this with a comment from Larry M. of Saint Charles, MO:

"Please don’t put an end to our business. It is our 93rd year, third generation selling pipes, tobacco and cigars. The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

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      cortezattic
    • March 1, 2010
    Kudos on a fine article. I'm sorry I can't write more just now, as a pipe smoker, I'm so incensed over our government's policies that I'm likely to write something I'll regret later. Best to have a bowl of tobacco and compose myself.
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      bytor
    • March 1, 2010
    These people are out of control, yet if you ask why they all respond "Gotta save the children"..."Keep the tobacco away from children"...
    Since when does the responsibility of passing on personal moral values to children fall upon the shoulders of government. The real purpose here is simply to outlaw tobacco product permanently.
    In Washington state, they have already made it illegal to ship tobacco via mail, UPS, FedEx...whatever. Of course the premise is to keep the tobacco out of the hands of children.
    Supporters of the group claim that 30,000 Washington State teenagers have smoked a tobacco pipe! I have a hard time believing there are even 30,000 pipe smokers in the state! Give me a break...where do they pull these statistics from!
    Grrr... I should have followed cortez's example and sat down with a pipe first...or at least finished my morning coffee
  • S
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      sapo59
    • March 1, 2010
    Great article. I think you are totally right, like Mark Ryan said tobacco is just the begging. Take a good look at the proposed health care reform. This government is going to keep digging in to our personal liberties and freedoms as long as "We the people" sit back and allow them to. I think the American people have forgotten are strongest asset, US!!! THE PEOPLE. The power of mass amounts of people lobbying for change in the past has accomplished great things. With that being said if anyone is willing to point a finger to lay blame for as to why or who is at fault for this, they may as well point the finger back at themselves. In my opinion we are all to blame for letting are government impose such ridiculous taxation, and also for the loss of other liberties guaranteed to us in the Constitution. I would like everyone to think long and hard about this over your next bowl of tobacco. Happy Puffing everyone.
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      jwp159
    • March 1, 2010
    Great article, all tobacco users no mater what kind need to understand we must all hang together or we will all hang seperately. The non-tobacco people need to know that when we go down they are next, their pursuit of happieness will be the next on the list. We The People must all stand up togahter and make our goverment adhere to what the founding fathers intended it to be, before its to late.
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      phil
    • March 1, 2010
    All that can be said is “EXELLENT”!
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      dunendain
    • March 1, 2010
    America has lead the world in the fight for personal rights. Right now, we are being swindled out of those rights. It's like the house of cards: Start pulling them away, and they all will fall. Anyone that cares about personal rights better get out of their haze and stand up. No one will do it for you.
    Great article.
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      Dennis richards
    • March 1, 2010
    Superb article the govt has become out of control write letters do whatever you can I've been saying for years the govt will try to tax tobacco to death so that the avrage working stiff won't be able to afford it and then turn aroud and say see we didn't ban it.I WILL NOT ALLOW THE GOVT TO TELL ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE,this administration does not believe in the Constitution at all are are working everyday to destroy it,remember these jerks at election time
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      csgunsmith
    • March 1, 2010
    Amen Brother of the Briar Well put together article !!! We need to stick together Pipe smokers and donut eaters..
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      reverent.martyr
    • March 1, 2010
    I have said this for a long time and I stick by it. If the government needs to tax something and not pick on a certain group of people or "personal lifestyle choices", they should tax the hell out of toilet paper. Think about it; EVERYBODY (hopefully) uses toilet paper. That way, no one's feelings are hurt, no one's feeling slighted, everybody is paying the same tax. Also, the tax applied wouldn't have to be much since everybody is paying it.
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      Dr. Kenn
    • March 1, 2010
    I absolutely agree with the entire article. We must never give up fighting the overbearing government, nor stop trying to educate our fellow pipe smokers. If we fail we will learn as so many before us that government divides to conquer. First cigarette smokers, then cigars, then pipes are over taxed, thence such behavior becomes a felony, as has happened in the past as any student of tobacco history will know. Thanks for the great magazine and your editorialship.
    warm regards,
    Dr. Kenn Lewis
    Delaware, Ohio
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      Thomas Forrest
    • March 1, 2010
    Thank you for the excellent article. We should not be discouraged. We need to contact our representatives and congressmen. If it is possible, you should visit their local offices and politely but firmly explain your opposition. This tax will hurt business and I think it will end many small shops and pipe makers business.
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      Bob
    • March 1, 2010
    Excellent and persuasive article. As previously noted, this is not really about increasing revenue to the government but, rather, gradually banning smoking of all kinds via the back door method of taxation. Once the tax becomes high enough to price the commodity out of reach, the businesses selling that commodity "regulate" themselves by not offering it anymore. Niemoller's poem, "First They Came . . ." addresses the same point. Government's taking freedom from any group is taking freedom from all. Niemoller wrote:
    "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me."
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      Derek
    • March 1, 2010
    Where is the big women's rights movement now? "I can have an abortion AND smoke at the same time if I want to!" "It's my body" yadda yadda blah blah all that stuff... (I know, I know, smoking affects everyone and your rights end where another's begin...)
    Looks like we need some women to start fighting and turn this into their issue too 'cuz otherwise us men are going to lose on our own.
    Okay maybe I'm being a little dramatic for effect, but I honestly believe we need to engage the female smokers a lot more in this fight.
    While we're at it, we need to engage the growing Middle Eastern population who have been told "Sorry, no hookah lounge for you, find somewhere else to hang out. Your smoking enjoyment you brought with you from your homeland is unhealthy and not welcome here."
    This all reminds me of the dog owners in my state who were so up in arms and jealous of cat owners that they fought for a cat leash law too...everyone is against their neighbor these days.
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      Steen
    • March 1, 2010
    I hear you, but I have a few things to mention.
    Taxes are a bitch, but taxes are used for the benefit of the entire population.
    It's proposed to raise the price of pipe tobacco to $25 per pound.
    That's not a whole lot, in my humble opinion.
    When we get sick from smoking tobacco, we expect to get treated in the hospitals, right?
    I just stopped by my local tobacco shop today, and bought 150 gram pipe tobacco. It costed me DKR 163,-
    That's around $92 per pound.
  • J
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      Jimbo
    • March 1, 2010
    Bravo for a great opinion piece!
    Above it all, I am sick and tired of the antis using children AS A SHIELD... thereby shielding themselves from barbs directed at their own phony science and personal opinions. "Do it for the children" seems to get a similar response as stroking a furry animal... you want to go along with it while "Do it for ME" rightly gets nowhere with others. The antis are simply using children to advance their own agenda of tyranny.
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      tabaquero
    • March 1, 2010
    Great article, research, writing, etc... Thanks for sharing it.
  • T
    Kevin, Great article! I've been trying to push the point that we as smokers, no matter what we smoke, need to come together and stop segregating ourselves into cigarette, cigar or pipe smokers. I hope the rest of you guys realize how important this issue is and that you can't sit back and hope for the best any longer.
    Steen said "Taxes are a bitch, but taxes are used for the benefit of the entire population."
    Technically accurate in your statement I must make this crucial point to you. These draconian tax structures are intended to make it cost prohibitive to smoke. If they can't legally ban the product, tax it into submission. Hypothetically they get us all to put down our pipes, cigars and cigarettes, where is that tax revenue going to come from? Our Government will not go with out those precious dollars, so just as Kevin mentioned, look out steak, look out pizza and look out (insert your own personal favorite item here) because I promise it will soon be next.
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      mjmfinecigarsandtobacco
    • March 1, 2010
    Folks,
    As a retail tobaccanist, I'm trying to stay positive. But this train has been running down the tracks for quite a while now. Our various trade and grass-roots organizations have been able to win the odd victory and slow this train down. But we're late to the party as it were.
    You can BE SURE that should the President and congress be unsuccessful with their 'health care reform' BS, S-CHIP will once again be a target for an increase.
    It's all creeping socialist from the progressives currently in power in Washington and your various states.
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      Bob
    • March 1, 2010
    Excellent article Kevin! I agree 110%. We must stand up for our rights and everyone's rights to make their own personal lifestyle choices.
    Defend Personal Choices!
    You don't have to agree with someones else's to defend the right to make your own.
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      dudleydipstick
    • March 1, 2010
    Great article.
    I particularly like the part that focused on RYO and the comments from Mark Ryan. I discovered pipe smoking by way of RYO.
    One thing that struck me was Mr. Ryan's comments about the health care plans the government is working on. As much as I see the smarmy pundits and hip young people urging us to support this "wonderful" thing, it stuns me that they don't consider the real problems this could cause. My question to them is why they don't see anything wrong with something that is even remotely associated with possible jail time for not doing business with the "evil insurance companies".
    I really like the indictment on social engineering that article makes too. That's what it's all about. As long as people are told that it's "for the children", they're willing to overlook that it's really about manipulation and financing the government's mismanagement.
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      Ms.MVA
    • March 1, 2010
    I cannot seem to, for the life of me.. figure the method of the madness in our government. I'm not even talking about Mr. Obama.. but, way before he came along.
    HIV/AIDS was manufactured to thin out the population. It has killed over 40 million world-wide. This is fact.. that the governments do not want anyone to know. A sample of it was taken and over 15,000 gallens of it was made and distributed. Sadly.. but, very true. However, tobacco use has becomed so demonized.. and taxed to the hilt and it can cause bad health and even eventual death. All tobacco users are fully aware of this truth.. and those of who claim they don't "know" of this truth, are double-thinkers, ie. 2+2=5. But, we do what we do for whatever reasons and should be allowed to do it without being taxed to hell and back for it. Tobacco and alcohol are both addictive. Funny thing, cigarettes are taxed heavily.. but, not as much so as pipe and cigars.. because there are more cigarette smokers and that is actually much worse for the body than smoking cigars and pipes.. and cigarette smokers seemingly die quicker. If they quit smoking cigarettes because of failing health, the pharmaceutical manufacturers and insurance companies can generate the revenue that they would generate from the once cigarette smoker. Pipe smokers are taxed to worse by far and may stay healthier than a cigarette smoker. So, it's all about being exploited for revenue. If the right hand doesn't get you, the left one will. It kinda hurts to love a country so much that you'd do just about anything to see it prosper, including men (and women) going to war and dying or becoming mamed... only to have your country not love you back nearly as much as you loved it. Quite disheartening to say the very least.
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      Mark
    • March 1, 2010
    Fantastic article. Depressing as it is, we need to look beyond the tip of our noses and see that the new tobacco taxes are just the tip of the ice berg. Anyone who knows history knows that behavior modification is crucial for tyranny to get a foot hold. Think it can't happen here? Well I ask you, do you feel more free, safer, happier, more educated, or even proud of our new AmeriKa? We citizens are being attacked on every level, by a super-class of rulers that want only one thing - total control. The tobacco tax issue my be the issue to make some people wake up to the reality of a larger agenda.
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      Marc
    • March 1, 2010
    Wow. Great article. Very well written and thought out. I am hoping and praying that the Health care bill does not go through either. It will be a very sad day. Now I hear that they are going to exercise a certain rite that grants passage of it to ony require 51% of the house instead of the usual 60%. This in retaliation I think to losing and about to lose so many Democratic seats in 2010.
    I am planning on running for a government office when I get out of the military in a few years. I hope there's something reasonably left to run for. Ever hear of the \Fair Tax\?
    Let me know whatever I can do to support this subject!
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      dunendain
    • March 1, 2010
    Thank you Steen, for a different point of view.
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      ghost45
    • March 1, 2010
    "No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant."
    =George Washington.
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      pstlpkr
    • March 1, 2010
    Thank you for this excellent and intelligent exercise of our greatest of rights, free speech.
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      Wayne
    • March 1, 2010
    I sent the petition to my congressmen. I got one reply from the one I didn't expect to get a reply from. The standard for letter. He will vote for every tax that falls in front of his desk. They continue to make all the second and third hand smoke claims and say the tax is to discourage new smokers and discourage smoking. Wake up! A tax is a tax! They don't care about healthy habits. Our own president hasn't kicked the habit. They only care about a new way to tax anyone and everyone. They are raising taxes on a product that they want discontinued. That is a self defeating policy. When tobacco is gone where will the revenue come from? You and I know that their true intentions are to raise taxes, put tobacco under the FDA just so government can get larger and have more influence over you and me. It is time for term limits and for elected officials to work on real problems that we face. November is going to be an interesting election. VOTE in every election. Take ownership of who is making these decision and setting these policies!
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      james farber
    • March 1, 2010
    As a tobacco hobbyist, I am appalled at the discourse on our pleasant little corner of the world. When all that is enjoyable has been forbidden, we then return to the brutish, grim world of totalitarian control. Where is our Berlin Wall when we need it, for them to hide behind in their Paradise, so they can flaunt their superiority among themselves.
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      Vic
    • March 2, 2010
    I'd like to know where you guys where when roll-your-own and other tobacco taxes went up for S-CHIP. I use roll-you-own and the tax ended up being $2 more than the cost of the pound of tobacco.
    I've already warned others that if the govenrment is allowed to pass these taxes, others will soon follow, and they will be on the favorite things of people who didn't care if tobacco taxes were raised. This was simply one foot in the door. That door will soon be pushed open. This is why we must protest against ALL taxes, no matter what.
    Taxes are killing this country. Look at your utility bills, sales receipts, they all have taxes, government regulatory fees. On top of that your paycheck is taxesd - federal, state, Medicaid, Social Security. Then the majority pay more income tax in April. You're taxed on interest on savings, Social Security payments. You have to pay a fee for Medicare. This is a lot of money, and all these taxes need to end.
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      marbee
    • March 2, 2010
    Smoking bans and tobacco tax hikes are financed by big pharma money funneled into health organizations to an end, to control and push their smoking cessation drugs. They use our government in their marketing scheme. Besides the various grants the ACS gets from RWJF (As of last on-line financial report, RWJF owned 42,343,491 shares of J&J stock). The more J&J's stocks increase, the more money and power RWJF has, the more "studies" they fund, the more "advocacies" they create, the more laws they get created to sell more of their products. It keeps going. They also get tens of millions of dollars in grants from the Federal Government, which they then turn around and use their 501(c)(4) (ASC CAN) to lobby the government for more money, for increased taxes against consumers and for laws which drive the need for more J&J over-the-counter products. The ACS needs to get back to "finding a cure in our lifetime", instead of the wasting the donations they have. According to their 2008 Consolidated Division 990s, they spent $390,305,361 on salaries, pensions, benefits and payroll taxes while spending a mere $4,406,038 on research. They spent more than 4 TIMES the research amount attending conferences ($18,158,259). I'll never give them money again, just to take away my freedom!
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      Steen
    • March 2, 2010
    Mick, I won't pretend to know much about the american health care system, I just know that we expect free treatment in hospitals in Denmark. We expect free education (actually we get paid during education). We expect to get welfare, in case we loose our jobs (we get something equal to minimum wage, if we don't have a job).
    We pay very high taxes in Denmark, but on the other hand, we benefit from those high taxes.
    Politics isn't what I think is the most funne thing to talk about, but I was under the impression that Obama was trying to change the system to a better system for all.
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      murray
    • March 2, 2010
    There is no FREE anything. It's paid by someone. And usually by taking wealth against their will through taxes or currency debasement. It's theft. Period. If you can't understand that, you don't need to be in my society.
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    I am not a smoker but I do understand the private property rights. The most important piece of property you own is your own body. What one does with their body is their own business. Where one smokes is determined by the property owner not the government or anyone else. I've written about this subject at http://www.iocca.us/docs/common_sense_v04_smokers_rights_and_property.html
    Government is only out to tax and will only hurt everyone.
    Love Liberty,
    www.iocca.us
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      Mongo
    • March 2, 2010
    Remember when the Drug War started, and Phillip Morris and Miller beer donated hundreds of millions of dollars voluntarily to the Partnership for a Drug Free America? Gosh, didn't that work out well!
    Wasn't the government ever so grateful to the nice tobacco companies?
    And didn't the people stop smoking cannabis right away? Back around 1914, the government began to tax cannabis the same way that they are taxing tobacco now. Tobacco WILL be banned, and soon we'll be growing it in our basements, unless the people learn that taxation is theft, and you have the right to decide what to put in your own mouth.
  • J
    Kevin,
    Great article. I must admit to being one of the people that said "Hell with RYO, tax them not us." I think that was the initial reaction to this proposed tax. People viewed it as the RYO industry taking advantage of a loophole and thus putting us right in the line of fire. My attitude changed after talking to Jeff Steinbok from Uhles and interviewing him.
    The reality of it, (and not to demonize anyone) was that the lobby for Big Tobacco (ie. manufactured cigarettes) pushed this new tax on RYO. Big tobacco will survive, that is a reality, regardless of the taxes. They however saw this as an opportunity to put their #1 competition out of business... RYO Tobacco companies.
    I digress, the short and skinny of it is that we ALL need to stick together. It comes down to the simple concept of "Taxation without representation". As many others have said, we are big boys, we can decide what we want to do with our lives and our bodies, and as long as we are not hurting others in the process, then leave us alone.
    My biggest issue with the pipe smoking community during all this has been the people that have had the "Oh well, it's gonna happen and I can't do anything about it". Granted, I think the majority of people stepped up, but the "hoarding" mentality and throwing of hands in the air in defeat was disheartening. This just shows that when a group sticks together they can actually make a difference. Hopefully when the next attack comes more people will fight instead of laying down in defeat.
    Let this be a lesson to the naysayers that we can still make a difference. Keep that American spirit strong and fight for what you believe in.
    Regards,
    Justin
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      Kevin
    • March 2, 2010
    Thanks for all the comments and compliments so far everyone.
    ---------------
    Vic said: I’d like to know where you guys where when roll-your-own and other tobacco taxes went up for S-CHIP. I use roll-you-own and the tax ended up being $2 more than the cost of the pound of tobacco.
    --> Hey man, I'm here now. This site is just one year old. It was just getting started when S-CHIP was passed.
    ---------------
    dudleydipstick said: As long as people are told that it’s “for the children”, they’re willing to overlook that it’s really about manipulation and financing the government’s mismanagement.
    --> That is true, and it is so disheartening that people are shallow-minded, narrow-minded and overly-simplistic that they can't see that. They are sheep and lemmings.
    ---------------
    Mark said: Well I ask you, do you feel more free, safer, happier, more educated, or even proud of our new AmeriKa?
    --> Sadly, No.
    ---------------
    Justin said: The reality of it, (and not to demonize anyone) was that the lobby for Big Tobacco (ie. manufactured cigarettes) pushed this new tax on RYO. Big tobacco will survive, that is a reality, regardless of the taxes. They however saw this as an opportunity to put their #1 competition out of business… RYO Tobacco companies.
    --> That's true. They also pushed for FDA control of tobacco for the same reason. Put the little guys out of business because they can't keep up with the regulations and paperwork.
    My biggest issue with the pipe smoking community during all this has been the people that have had the “Oh well, it’s gonna happen and I can’t do anything about it”. Granted, I think the majority of people stepped up, but the “hoarding” mentality and throwing of hands in the air in defeat was disheartening.
    --> I agree. That makes me want to explode and shake some sense into these people.
    Does anyone think the New Orleans Saints went onto the field at Super Bowl thinking the odds are stacked against them and they can't win. They did not, because if they did, they would have not won, guaranteed.
    The negative, never-say-win, doomsayers should just STFU and let us guys with some balls, energy and positive attitudes take it from here.
  • N
    Although not a smoker I think this is a stupid tax. It isn't about smoking it is about personal freedom and personal choice. It's not about health. Face it people we are ALL going to die, stop trying to find a way out of it.
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      Tracie
    • March 2, 2010
    Great article! Sadly, since so many Americans do not give a rat's butt about anyone who decides to smoke (gasp) any product they choose to smoke freely, they will find out the hard way about what it feels like to be at the end of a finger being called nasty things for doing something that is considered "unhealthy." Since they did not feel it necessary to protect the rights of smokers, they will find out how hard it is to stop the system from taxing their favorite unhealthy act. By the time they are done doing away with that "nasty" habit of smoking, I guarantee that the so-called moral do-gooders and the ones who all cry that "it's for the children" will move on to something else to tax into oblivion. Of course, by then, the Beast will not be able to be beat back because he grew large and fat while they sat by and fed it because they did not agree with smoking, all the while not realizing that this big fat Beast was going to need something else to consume once the smokers were completely wiped out.
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      kayci
    • March 2, 2010
    Good news - What goes up, must come down. Tobacco bans will be lifted in many, many places in two to three years. It's already started. Meanwhile, things are going both ways at once with bans being installed and bans being relaxed. Thanks to articles like this one, more and more individuals are becoming aware of the threat to all freedoms represented by the extortion and (attempt at) marginalization of people who buy tobacco.
    Also, discrimination does funny things to people. It can make them believe the lies. We must maintain our inner self esteem and hang together. We can and we shall.
    Did you know the smoking rate went up in the U.S. by 9% in 2009? It's a myth that smokers are a minority. The propagation of that myth is just another control tactic. Smokers are at least 50% of the population.
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      Big Jay
    • March 2, 2010
    But...but...think of the CHILDREN! My goodness...if there's tobacco, and it's legal...why, don'tcha know...the CHILDREN will smoke!
    OK, enough sarcasm. I never could get the hang of pipe smoking, and I'm trying to quit cigarettes. BUT, it is a CHOICE. Honest statistics on smoking is that kids are smoking less tobacco. As for the person earlier who was talking about kids in Washington state...I'm sure it's true. Seriously! Here's why: you count all pipes, and you include WATER pipes (bongs) and you include all of them, whether used to smoke tobacco or "other" products...I can see that figure.
    I don't just blame Obama and the Democrats...the Republicans are JUST as bad...it's ALL of them. (Goodwin's law.)
    Ban everything except what the overlords say is OK. Nonsmokers don't care when smoking is banned, because they don't smoke...my ex-girlfriend for example was glad that they banned smoking in bars (California)...yet she's going to poo a brick when they ban fatty food.
    So what do we do?
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      Nicholaus
    • March 2, 2010
    Can someone help me out? Where can I find a comparison of what is in todays tobacco vs what was smoked in the 1930's or even older. Just as our meats and vegetables have become bizzare science projects, I am sure that the stuff our grandparents smoked was much more pure and healthier. Whether its preservatives, or just wierd chemicals I am sure there is some very bad stuff in todays tobacco. Though pipe tobacco seems to be much better and pure. Thanks.
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      dunendain
    • March 2, 2010
    One thing that scares me about the future, is the whole big brother thing. Pretty soon the government will know everything about our lives, including our habits. With socialized medicine, the government may decide who they treat, by what a person eats, drinks, or smokes. I hope we are not heading down that path.
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      Dave Read
    • March 2, 2010
    As a pipe smoker for the best part of 60-years, let me chime in....
    I have been predicting that the Government rules, regulations, taxes aimed at smokers is just the tip of the iceberg. As many others that have responded to this thread have noted: when the tyrannical Government finishes destroying the rights of smokers to choose their own personal life-style they will shift their aim to other \It's good for the children\ targets.
    If, and when, government imposes a socialistic \Health Care Plan\ they will be properly positioned to dictate rules, regulations, and taxes on each and every product and activity that the bureaucrats deem \unhealthy\. I speak not only of trans-fats, twinkes, and (gasp) alcohol. That is, of course, everything except War; after all that is a Government sponsored license for murder.
    Does anyone remember the 18th Amendment; and, the disasterous unintended consequences? Crime, bootlegging, tax evasion, and a swelling of the Police State were some of the results. When government embarks on a plan to tax or ban any product, it will lead to a black-market. So, you can expect a declared \War on Whatever the product of the Month\. And, we already know that the \War on Drugs\ has not been what you might call an outstanding success. Bring on the smuggling.
    Dave Read
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      Kifaru
    • March 2, 2010
    When the State has the power to tax a product 0.1%, it has the power to tax 10,000%. The fundamental evil here is the State, itself.
    As for smoking in restaurants and bars, policy ought to be set by the owner of the establishment, not government.
    Just as we're learning now of the Climategate fraud, so too did we learn (and then promptly forgot) about the EPA fraud in the 90s regarding second-hand smoke.
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      Ed Roberts
    • March 2, 2010
    "Supporters of the group claim that 30,000 Washington State teenagers have smoked a tobacco pipe! I have a hard time believing there are even 30,000 pipe smokers in the state! Give me a break…where do they pull these statistics from!"
    Around here, convenience stores sell glass pipes which are obviously made for smoking something else, but they label them "For Tobacco Use Only".
    Think that could be the source of the weird statistic?
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      Freedom_First
    • March 2, 2010
    I would like to know where all of you have been for the past forty years
    since Tricky Dick Nixon declared a "war on drugs" in order to "protect the children". You must have been looking the other way while armies of government thugs arrested more than ten million of your neighbors just because they prefer marijuana over a martini. Have any of you noticed that there are more government goons kicking down doors is the U.S. today than there were in Nazi Germany?
    Have any of you ever spoken up in defense of your fellow human beings? Have any of you ever said a word about illegalizers and control-freaks transforming the "land of the free" into the world's leading police-prison State? Well, guess what. Your silence about injustice is now coming after you. Wake up America!
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      Joecoolcamel
    • March 2, 2010
    Now how can our Goverment live thier High Life if thay dont tax the crap out of everyone?? Come on People, LEAVE THEM ALONE , you know what I mean?? VOTE THEM OUT. I dont know how Im going to pull in that one Big One without puffing on my smoke.
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      Alice
    • March 2, 2010
    I'm an ex-smoker; I quit when I got pregnant and, a month later, freaked when I saw how much money I had in the jar I put my cigarette money in every day. I do think ADULTS have the right to put whatever they want in their mouths without "gummint" interference, as long as they don't harm someone else in so doing (for example, a cousin & 2 friends were killed by drunk drivers). The ban on smoking in bars "for the children" is ridiculous -- children don't belong in bars. The ban on smoking in school makes sense, because teachers are role models, whether they want to be or not. Both my home and rental properties are smoke-free, which saves me 40 percent on my fire insurance, and hundreds of dollars a year in cleaning, repainting, and carpet replacement.
    Now, you want to get back at both the gummint for imposing this "sin tax" AND Big Pharma? Quit smoking. Let me finish before you start throwing cyber-tomatoes. By not smoking, not only are you not paying tobacco tax to the gummint, you're also not setting yourself up for health problems that only enrich Big Pharma. Put the money you spend on tobacco in a jar each day. Watching that money pile up is a far more effective incentive than any law or smoking-cessation product. Don't worry about the tobacco producers and sellers. People who care more about their addiction than their pocketbooks will keep the money rolling in for them. If enough people quit (or don't start), entrepreneurial tobacco producers and sellers will find another line of business. And don't worry about Big Pharma. The less of them, the better. Big corporations are as harmful to our life and freedoms as Big Gummint.
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      Jimmynguyen
    • March 2, 2010
    “Supporters of the group claim that 30,000 Washington State teenagers have smoked a tobacco pipe! I have a hard time believing there are even 30,000 pipe smokers in the state! Give me a break…where do they pull these statistics from!”
    Whether i will be drunk or not?
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      dunendain
    • March 2, 2010
    I've raised two boys in LA, and not once did my wife or myself ever worry that our teenage sons were off somewhere with a Dunhill and some Aromatic. That wasn't a million dollar concern.
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      Nelson
    • March 3, 2010
    Ok, so I'm one of those you called out for bashing the RYO people. Your article made a lot of good points but I'm still sticking to my guns. Whether the RYO folks had this going on before the tax or not, most of us pipe hobbyists wouldn't know about it. Why would you publicize renaming RYO cigarette tobacco as pipe tobacco? Maybe because calling one thing, something else to circumvent a tax isn't any more above board than taxing people for no reason. They weren't thinking of all tobacco smokers when they made that decision, they were thinking of themselves, their business and their pocket books. I'd like to hear someone make an argument against that.
    This is how this deception felt like to me:
    You have two brothers, Pipe and Cigarette, the first your average everyday guy, the other, someone who spends too much of his time on the wrong side of the tracks (metaphor used to make a point). Both brothers still care about each other but the relationship is strained. Both are on a difficult voyage trying to find the free world but are being tossed about badly in the sea of legislation. One day, they are both tossed overboard. Pipe is able to stay afloat and tread water but cigarette is out of breath and struggling. He swims over and grabs Pipe pulling himself up to the surface while pushing Pipe down. Pipe, angered by what his brother is doing struggles to get free.
    The story pauses here.... what will happen to Pipe? I fear death!
    Cigarettes and RYO far outweigh pipe tobacco and cigar sales but what are they doing to stop what's happening? The cigar community has Cigar Rights of America who is fighting for their rights but I have not seen anything like this from the pipe community. Is there one?
    The cigarette and RYO people should be the ones taking this legislation on in full force and encouraging the pipe and cigar community to get on board. But it's hard to defend something that you know is hurting people.
    If there is a real force out there (other than CRA) that is fighting for our rights, if so, I'd like to hear about it.
    I agree, we need to stick together but the cigarette folks need to take the lead. They have the numbers.
    I welcome your thoughts.
    Nelson
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      Kevin
    • March 3, 2010
    Hello Nelson,
    Thank you for commenting. I will answer your questions and comments one at a time.
    ------------------
    1. Why would you publicize renaming RYO cigarette tobacco as pipe tobacco?
    ------------------
    Answer:
    I am not sure if you are asking why I would here on PipesMagazine.com, or why someone else would.
    I am not aware of anyone in the tobacco industry publicizing this until my article, which was after it was widely publicized and demonized in the mainstream media. The chronology I am aware of is that the switch from RYO to pipe tobacco was quietly done before the new law took effect, in anticipation of such, somewhere back in the middle of 2009. I think May or June.
    It was around mid-November 2009 that The Associated Press broke the story nationally, and several local papers and news websites picked up the story and plastered it all over the place - basically once again jumping at the chance to demonize tobacco. They made it sound like the tobacco companies were stealing money from the public's pocket while trying to kill you at the same time, and denying children of health insurance.
    Obviously, that is completely false and ludicrous.
    I immediately started working on a story and collecting information back then. I even called Mark Ryan back in November, but then several other things came up and I didn't get back to the story until now.
    I published my article so there would be at least one lone voice showing a different and more true side to the story than the Associated Press and all the other mainstream media did.
    ------------------
    2. Maybe because calling one thing, something else to circumvent a tax isn’t any more above board than taxing people for no reason. They weren’t thinking of all tobacco smokers when they made that decision, they were thinking of themselves, their business and their pocket books. I’d like to hear someone make an argument against that.
    ------------------
    Answer:
    The argument against that is this type of thinking is what segregates smokers and allows the anti-tobacco people to divide and conquer as they have been successfully doing for a long time.
    It is also this type of thinking that opens the doors for other things besides tobacco to be taxed and allows the government and special interest groups to try to control behavior and personal lifestyle choices through legislation and taxation.
    ------------------
    3. This is how this deception felt like to me:
    You have two brothers, Pipe and Cigarette, the first your average everyday guy, the other, someone who spends too much of his time on the wrong side of the tracks (metaphor used to make a point). Both brothers still care about each other but the relationship is strained. Both are on a difficult voyage trying to find the free world but are being tossed about badly in the sea of legislation. One day, they are both tossed overboard. Pipe is able to stay afloat and tread water but cigarette is out of breath and struggling. He swims over and grabs Pipe pulling himself up to the surface while pushing Pipe down. Pipe, angered by what his brother is doing struggles to get free.
    ------------------
    This reminds me of Cain's answer to God in Genesis 4:9.
    Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
    ------------------
    4. The cigar community has Cigar Rights of America who is fighting for their rights but I have not seen anything like this from the pipe community. Is there one?
    ------------------
    I have been talking to CRA on and off since April 27, 2009 and most recently, my last communication was February 5, 2010.
    I have been lobbying CRA to include the rights of pipe smokers in their efforts with this simple argument - here is an excerpt from my initial email:
    Like many cigar smokers, I also enjoy pipe smoking and have been doing both since 1998. Of course there are specific nuances to each of these products and their markets, but there are more similarities than differences when it comes to marketing, distribution, demographics and the overall nature of the product and why and how people enjoy it. All of the same things that make cigars different than cigarettes also apply to the enjoyment of pipe tobacco. I cannot imagine that protecting the rights of pipe smokers would consume any more of CRA's resources, and it could gain CRA more members to help fund these efforts.
    (I have been a member of CRA since August 2008.)
    You can read the full text of my email and frustration of non-action and little response from CRA here:
    http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/pipe-smoking-thoughts/pipe-smokers-rights-cigar-rights-of-america/
    ------------------
    5. I agree, we need to stick together but the cigarette folks need to take the lead. They have the numbers.
    I welcome your thoughts.
    Nelson
    ------------------
    I'm glad we agree on that. However, waiting for someone else to take action until we do so ourselves may not get anything done.
    I can no longer wait and chose to lead by example. That is why I created the petition against HR4439 (at my own personal cost - it is not free to me, but it is to the public that wants to participate), and that is why I took hours and hours of research and writing to produce this article.
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      Nelson
    • March 3, 2010
    Kevin,
    I'm not sure if you want to continue this here or not but I do have some additional comments.
    ------------
    First, I did not mean you when I referred to publicizing the renaming of the tobacco. You were telling those of us who were giving the RYO people a hard time that we shouldn't be doing that, then followed it up by saying they had been working on the name change prior to the tax going into effect and in your latest reply you used the word "secretly."
    I don't know if the fact that they were working on this prior to the tax makes me feel any better about it. Had they told the pipe smoking community, or any tobacco community for that matter that they were planning to make that name change to avoid the taxes, I think they would have received a fair amount of resistance.
    So the fact that none of us really knew what was going on doesn't make it any easier for us to not be angry with them and to support them.
    ------------------
    Your Answer:
    The argument against that is this type of thinking is what segregates smokers and allows the anti-tobacco people to divide and conquer as they have been successfully doing for a long time.
    It is also this type of thinking that opens the doors for other things besides tobacco to be taxed and allows the government and special interest groups to try to control behavior and personal lifestyle choices through legislation and taxation.
    My Reply
    I'm not completely sure what you mean by "this type of thinking"? It seems to me that what the RYO folks did by "possibly" bringing down the pipe community with them has caused more of a divide than my just pointing out the fact that they did this secretly and didn't consider (that I can see) how it would effect us. When you say that we all need to stick together here and then you don't seem to have a problem with what they did... I'm starting to think what you really want is to see us all to go down together. I can't see what they did has helped anyone but themselves (for now). But then again... maybe I'm missing something.
    -------------------------
    Your Response
    This reminds me of Cain’s answer to God in Genesis 4:9.
    Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
    My Reply
    The RYO companies are sort of reminding me of Cain so you're right on target there. He's just my brother... so what!
    -------------------
    I appreciate all you've done to connect with CRA. Thank you.
    --------------------
    Your Response
    I’m glad we agree on that (sticking together). However, waiting for someone else to take action until we do so ourselves may not get anything done.
    I can no longer wait and chose to lead by example. That is why I created the petition against HR4439 (at my own personal cost - it is not free to me, but it is to the public that wants to participate), and that is why I took hours and hours of research and writing to produce this article.
    My Reply
    Again, I commend you and thank you for these efforts. I know it must have been a lot of work. But, like CRA we need the leaders in the industry to take the lead on this. They're the ones with the power. The pipe community is so small. If anything is going to get done we need the power.
    I've written to my congressmen. Is there anything else I can do that will really make a "serious" difference?
    ---------------------------------
    If you would rather continue this offline let me know.
    Thanks,
    Nelson
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      Kevin
    • March 3, 2010
    Nelson,
    I don't think we are too far apart. I think we agree more than disagree, and both want a positive future for the pipe smoking hobby. I agree with you that we need more leadership from some bigger guns in the industry. We are seriously lacking in this area.
    Maybe you and I can work together to brainstorm and see how we can make some things happen. I know I have to juggle a lot of things, and imagine you do too.
    Yes, let's continue our conversation in private until we have something more for public consumption.
    I am looking forward to it.
    Keep smokin' brother,
    Kevin
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      Jimbo
    • March 3, 2010
    Most pipe smokers have probably had a total stranger come up to them and say "Your pipe tobacco smells good." I can't imagine someone coming up to a cigarette smoker and saying "Your cigarette smells good", but that's beside the point. The general (non smoking) public puts us all together where smoking regulation is concerned; it matters none that we pipe smokers tend to hold cigarette smokers at a distance, and vice versa, for whatever reasons.
    When I first heard of the RYO manufacturers panning their product off as pipe tobacco, I was angered. How dare they! But, if you look at their reasons, how can you blame them? They were looking for a way to get out from under a massive tax increase which would severely hurt their sales. They saw this option and took it.
    Yes, I sent the letters to my congressman and senators asking them to separate the RYO and pipe tobacco taxes, but wouldn't it be better to REPEAL the RYO tax?
    Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, RYO... we are all in this together as far as the regulation of smoking goes, so why should we build up walls between us? An attack on one should be considered an attack on all.
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      Kevin
    • March 3, 2010
    Jimbo said: wouldn’t it be better to REPEAL the RYO tax?
    Yes. I think that should be the next step.
    I think we may be safe from HR4439 at this point. It doesn't seem like it will get out of committee.
  • M
    Excellent article! I would disagree with Nelson's characterization of the two brothers though. It's more like Cigarette brother was tossed out of the boat and screamed and yelled while Pipe brother rowed placidly onward, completely unaware that the NEXT wave was going to be aimed directly at him.
    A number of us ranted and raved around the internet over the last three years about the SCHIP tax (earlier just an 814% increase) and got nary a glimmer of interest from either most regular cigarette smokers nor from most pipe/cigar smokers. It is indeed very much the Martin Niemoller scenario another poster noted: no one left when they came knockin' at that last door.
    See my little piece and 30 second video of Obama absolutely blatantly lying about his past actions (NOT "breaking a campaign promise" but actually LYING about what he'd done in his first six months in office!) at:
    http://pro-choicesmokingdoctor.blogspot.com/2009/07/obama-in-bare-faced-lie.html
    GasDoc btw used to smoke cigarettes but I believe he switched over to largely being a pipe smoker a couple of years ago!
    Americans need to restore our tax system to one that's simple and fair, probably something largely along the lines of a national sales tax or somesuch with the tax rate being lower for small purchases and higher for larger ones.
    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
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      Justin
    • March 4, 2010
    I don't think the RYO tax is going to be repealed, but the sensible move is to roll it back to a reasonable rate. It is also essential that we lobby for the government to define the differences between RYO and pipe tobacco. Without a distinct separation, we are going to run into this again.
    We all know, smokers and non-smokers alike, that cigarettes are different than cigars... well, we need to make sure that the differences are clear between RYO and pipe tobacco. Not to leave them hanging, but simply to ensure that tax rates are appropriate. I don't think anyone can make a solid argument that pipe tobacco should be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes or RYO tobacco... they can try, but it will be stretch to make the scientific connections between the two.
    I have to agree with Kevin on this one... no, what the RYO industry did was not GOOD, but they, just like us, were trying to survive. Was their attempt to circumvent the law just... no, they should have fought just like we have. However; I don't think the RYO community is quite as passionate and connected as the pipe community is. Last time I checked, there were not many RYO forums out in cyberspace.
    The fact of the matter is that we have to stick together. The reason is because when it comes time for us to fight the good fight, if we turn our back on the RYO community, they will be the last to step up and fight us. I'm not saying that we should lump ourselves in with the manufactured cigarette behemoths, but the little guys like RYO need all the help they can get. If we as pipe smokers didn't just say... "Oh well, no our problem" and actually helped fight the RIDICULOUS RYO tax when it was proposed, we might have never ended up in this position.
    With the attitude of "not my problem" and "they screwed us so screw them" we will get nowhere. We NEED TO STICK TOGETHER, regardless of the hard feelings some have toward RYO. I hate to break it to everyone, but if the roles were reversed and it was pipe tobacco that got slammed with the tax initially, I would put money on it that the pipe tobacco manufacturers would have re-labeled their product as RYO. Anyone that is too high on their horse to think that wouldn't have happened is delusional. Business is business and people do what they need to survive.
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      Nelson
    • March 4, 2010
    Justin said...
    "Last time I checked, there were not many RYO forums out in cyberspace."
    What do they have to talk about, it's an addiction not a hobby.
    Justin also said...
    "I hate to break it to everyone, but if the roles were reversed and it was pipe tobacco that got slammed with the tax initially, I would put money on it that the pipe tobacco manufacturers would have re-labeled their product as RYO."
    I highly doubt this would ever happen. We would be extremely angry but I think we would concede.
    I am definitely not against sticking together but the pipe community is too small to lead this charge. I know we will stand behind any fight that brings us justice as long as it is honorable. The people with the power need to be the ones to take the lead but I can understand why its hard for them. If a person killed someone, unless they had serious mental issues, I don't believe they would support the act of killing because it just ain't right! The cigarette smokers have a hard time rising up against this legislation because they know what their doing in not good for you. But the cigarette industry needs to remind smokers that even though smoking cigarettes is not good for your health, we still should have the right to choose what we do to our bodies. After all this is (or was) America, the home of the free.
    It is a sad state of affairs.
    Nelson
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      stdog
    • March 6, 2010
    Nelson,
    There is (or was) just as much to discuss. Lot's of different tobaccos were available. Others even blend their own, using the available tobacco.
    When was the last time you experimented by blending 3 or 4 tobaccos?
    As for RYO to pipe, I'll note the first cigarette I ever rolled (and later when I started RYO again) was Prince Albert. Long marketed as "smoking tobacco" for use in pipes and cigarettes.
    I have smoked my cigarette tobacco in my pipe and rolled pipe tobacco in a paper (after adjusting the humidity in both cases)
    So, is PA a pipe tobacco or a cigarette tobacco?
    How should it now be taxed?
    What in your mind differentiates pipe tobacco for any other tobacco?
    All tobacco should be taxed the same, based on weight alone.
    Why should cigars and cigarettes be taxed per item instead of by the quantity of tobacco?
    Or maybe tax based on the the wholesale price. But all should be taxed the same.
    Are beer, wine, and liquor taxed on differently (i.e. per can, or bottle) or are they all based on the quantity (ounces/gallons)?
    Would (does) it make sense to tax beer per can and wine per gallon?
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      Kevin
    • March 6, 2010
    Great points stdog!
    I thought about Prince Albert too, but neglected to say anything.
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      Nelson
    • March 6, 2010
    Stdog said...
    What in your mind differentiates pipe tobacco for any other tobacco?
    The way they are used.
    The larger majority of pipe and cigar smokers do not inhale and do not smoke all day long. They generally smoke for the enjoyment of it (one or two bowls/cigars a day) not because they need to satisfy their urges. I know that there are a majority of pipe and cigar smokers that smoke enough to become addicted to nicotine but that's just a small majority. I can't think of a single cigarette smoker who is not addicted to nicotine. Because of the addiction, they smoke more often and in turn deteriorate their health much faster. This eventually brings them into the hospital, their diagnosis goes on record, health care goes up and the law makers raise taxes on tobacco.
    Before I go on, I honestly have no problem with people who want to smoke. It is their right and I will stand up for that right. But the cigarette industry and cigarette smokers, who are the main reason why we have taxes at all (sorry but its true), need to rise up and lead this charge.
    Things are getting out of hand and doing the right thing is difficult now. I honestly don't know if there's a way out.
    I totally hear what you're saying about all tobacco having the same tax. For the most part I agree. But when things are getting out of hand like they are now you have to look a little deeper to see what the root of the problem is. Health is the root of the problem (along with the law makers). They can't come up with a good health care system so what their doing is cutting out all the things that make people sick, one at a time. If cigarettes were never invented and all people smoked were pipes and cigars I don't think the number of deaths related to smoking would be causing panic like they are now.
    I know I may sound like I'm coming down on cigarette smokers. I don't believe smoking cigarettes is good for you. I don't think anyone who smokes a pipe or cigar should inhale either. But I do believe you should have the freedom to make that decision for yourself. Unfortunately, it's not that easy anymore. Changing the name of RYO tobacco to pipe tobacco did not help our situation at all, it just infuriated law makers to say.... we'll show them! And I'm afraid they will.
    Again I say... It's a sad state of affairs.
    Nelson
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      Joe
    • April 5, 2010
    I would highly encourage smokers to engage in Agoristic civil disobedience over such a tax as much as possible. Switch to grey market tobacco, and if you have the cahones, get together with other pipe smokers and have some sort of rally smoking your grey market tobacco.
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    I agree....none of our simple pleasures should be taxed to death. Sometimes I may get carried away with my reply, such as "taxing other things such as alcohol instead of pipe tobacco", but it's done in the heat of the moment. I suppose I need to calm down some when it comes to certain things I'm passionate about.
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      krgulick
    • July 27, 2010
    Great article. I agree that smokers as a whole must unite to keep the hard nosed approach from becoming the norm. We had worse with alcohol during Prohibition. Like then, there would be ways of getting around the law. I have done the "write your congress person" campaign, but really got nothing more from them but political double, if not triple talk. We need to, as a whole community band together to make our voice heard properly. We have time to get things rolling, since government moves slowly.
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    It is sad when anti-tobacco individuals use figures of a drug pipe (crack, etc) for the figures of tobacco pipe smokers. It looks like to me the politicans would be more incline to go after drug dealers and the drugs that effect our children instead of over taxing tobacco. The politicans of this nation saw a door in which they could fund the outragous spending they have done for years and took the opportunity.
    These taxes are just the beginning. Our land has seen this twice before, once before the revolutionary war and once before the civil war. I wonder what this over taxation will cause in our generation. Will this be the beginning of the end for certain forms of tobacco or will our people stand up and tell the government NO. It also makes me wonder why our government is creating a opening for the black market, do they have some hidden agenda?
    If they tax pipe tobacco the same as RYO tobacco then it may create the beginning of the end. There is still hope in Whole Leaf until they tax that as well. But if they do tax whole leaf, farmers will switch to corn or some other crop.
    If they push farmers out of business in America they will import tobacco from other countries. Other countries are not regulated on what they can and cannot put on tobacco or other products that are sold in the USA, (DDT is still used). When/if that happens we will surely have more health problems from tobacco use.
    Our government is causing their own undoing. If tobacco sales decrease then taxation is lower than expected. If taxes are lower than what the budget figures planned, they will have to tax other products to make up for it. Thus creating another over taxation and decrease in sales again, until they ruin the country in which we have.
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      Rick
    • August 3, 2010
    It is sad when pro-tobacco indivduals like 1861 tobacco cannot see that the war on drugs is a war against human beings and their freedoms. If the government has the right to illegalize medicinal plants such as cannabis and coca, then it has the right to illegalize tobacco. Regarding the demonization of "crack" and "meth", this products were produced by the drug war just like "white lightning" and "bathtub gin" were produced by the previous drug war, the war against millions of alcohol consumers, producers, and dealers.
    Here are a few more facts: The major drugs in the world -- alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and cannabis -- are valuable medicines which have served mankind for hundreds of years. These naturally produced medicines are also the safest drugs. Preparations of coca, opium, cannabis, and alcohol have been safely produced and consumed for centuries. These much-valued herbal medicines also have religeous, ceremonial, and recreational uses. They belong in every home and medicine kit unless the homeowner chooses otherwise.
    Adults who refuse to be told what they may eat, drink, smoke, or otherwise ingest are not criminals anymore than those who refuse to be told what they may read, write, think, or believe.
    Drug fighters and illegalizers are criminals because they kill, assault, rob, and arrest peaceful human beings. They are also terrorists because they target civilians.
    The people who founded my country were smugglers, gun owners, and tax resistors. The Founders did not recognize the authority of any government to interfere with honest trade, peaceful behavior, or the right to bear arms. Ultimately, they refused to be stopped and searched for guns and contraband. These facts are the origin of the Second and Fourth Amendments, the heart and soul of this Republic.
    Thus, drug fighters and illegalizers are traitors in addition to being violent criminals and terrorists.
    Rick Freedom_First (at) verizon (dot) net
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