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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By C. R. S. Lyles
Let’s face it: smoking is not collectively "in vogue" anymore.

Yet the irony of the fact is that the matchslingers of this world, who often find themselves wanting for the support of the American people (and more importantly, the American lawmakers), are the biggest contributors to the American way of life.

How is this possible? you may ask. Certainly they are not contributing to the collective health of the nation, because, let’s face it, the effects of smoking cigarettes are detrimental to one’s health, and the general consensus of the country is that the other tobacco products have adverse effects as well.

But the health issues are beside the point, because, honestly, more money is being funneled into research on how to cure obesity (which is actually pretty ironic that we as a society have to conduct research on how to be less fat) than is being used to fund anti-smoking campaigns or organizations whose mission is to treat people suffering from its more negative effects.

The point of the matter is that the smokers who have to stand out in the cold to light up like a miniature club of social pariahs are the very people who are backing the American dream.

Here’s why.

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Gov. Ed Rendell’s budget for Pennsylvania’s 2009-2010 fiscal year that begins in two weeks will be looking in part to increased and new taxes on cigarette and cigar smokers for additional tax revenues which the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association says will never come.

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It may sound like the theme of a Jim Carrey comedy - First, we ban smoking, then we raise tobacco taxes - but members of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association in Kansas aren’t finding this ironic potential scenario very funny.

Last month, the Kansas legislature passed and Gov. Mark Parkinson signed a comprehensive ban against smoking in restaurants, bars and most workplaces. Now, with the governor’s support, some state lawmakers are poised to increase taxes on most tobacco products from 10 percent to 40 percent. The Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation will hear public testimony for SB516 on Wednesday, March 10. Several IPCPR members plan to testify against the bill.

"It would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Two wrongs don’t make a right," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.

"Legislated smoking bans violate the personal rights of everyone - smokers and non-smokers, alike - and everyone knows that increased taxes on tobacco products result in lower tax revenues because they encourage illegal sales of bootlegged tobacco products. People also cross borders and use the Internet to purchase their tobacco products which eliminates all tobacco taxes from the state’s coffers," said McCalla.

"All legislated smoking bans should be abolished, and a tobacco tax increase is wrong for the times and wrong for Kansas," said McCalla. His organization is a not-for-profit group of more than 2,000 cigar store owners and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars and pipe tobacco.

McCalla said most IPCPR members are owners of small, mom-and-pop operations that pay taxes and employ local people. Legislated smoking bans and higher tobacco taxes, he said, result in lower sales of premium cigars, pipe tobacco and other tobacco products which, in turn, reduce tax revenues for the state and, more importantly, result in lost jobs and failed businesses.

"The last thing Kansas needs is lower tax revenues, lost jobs and closed businesses," McCalla said.

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.

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Stop the Lies Behind the Smoking Bans
    February 9th, 2010

By: Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains"
Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of the CitizensFreedomAlliance.org

UPDATED May 10, 2011 - New revised PDF Download at the end of the article.

Smokers often find themselves in the uncomfortable position of defending their chosen practice against accusations by family, friends, or even complete strangers that they are harming people around them. That accusation has been the basis for smoking bans extending far beyond reason and is usually backed up by vague waves at "mountains of studies," claims that "all the experts agree," assurances that bans will be "cost-free" and "won’t hurt employment," and the repetition of empty but powerful sound bites learned from MTV and professional press-releases.

The freely downloadable and printable booklet offered below, the Stiletto, exposes "The Lies Behind Smoking Bans" and is designed specifically to counter claims made to back up the bans that have not only taken over our workplaces and recreational gatherings but are now reaching even into our private living spaces and personal off-the-job lives. It is designed to be quickly and easily read in print-out form in dimly lit bars or on restaurant counters and packs strong information and analysis into its 20 pages. It can be bound in the clear plastic student-term-paper type report covers cheaply available from Staples or school-supply shelves anywhere or it can be simply corner-stapled. Its argument is quite clearly one-sided, but its facts are accurate and their presentation is honest.

Anyone who would like a customized copy for a particular campaign (say within a specific state, university, or job setting) is welcome to contact the author for an editable .doc file format or assistance in such customization. Antismoking advocates have all the money to push their bans (The AMA’s 2001 report revealed that "Tobacco Control" received over $880 million dollars just in that year alone.) but the facts, and the truth, are on our side if we can get them out to public view. Download the Stiletto, print it out, bind it, and share it with others.

Next time you’re confronting an Antismoker, don’t argue with them: hand them a Stiletto and simply ask them to find anything at all in it that they can point to as incorrect or misleading. They won’t be able to.

Keep on fighting!

Download PDF

Get the Book Dissecting Anit-Smokers Brains