Tobacco Policies & Legislation

Apple Pie & Hot Dogs Are Now Against The Law

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.


The leaders of Happy Town are a pleasant sort, the kind who are constantly looking out for the greater good and curtailing any wrong-doers swiftly in order to ensure Happy Town’s continued existence and their goal to make the world a happy place for everyone, just like Happy Town is.

Recently, Happy Town passed a bill in a little district called New York that the rulers of New York called simply A. 10129. This bill makes sure that the people of Happy Town are kept safe from their own desires, because the rulers of New York and Happy Town know that they know what’s best for the people and that the people can’t make their own decisions.

This bill stipulates that "No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises."

Because the rulers of New York and Happy Town understand that consumption of high amounts of sodium and trans-fats hurts people, they have decided it best to stop the places people eat at from serving it to them.

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However, they have been met with some resistance.

Jeff Nathan, the executive chef and co-owner of Abigael’s on Broadway, said "The consumer needs to make their own health choices. Just as doctors and the occasional visit to a hospital can’t truly control how a person chooses to maintain their health, neither can chefs nor the occasional visit to a restaurant."

Unfortunately for the rulers of Happy Town, Nathan’s sentiments seem to be shared by many who live in the district of New York.

"Chefs would be handcuffed in their food preparation, and many are already in open rebellion over this legislation," said Orit Sklar, of the organization My Food My Choice. "[Felix] Oritz [D-Brooklyn] and fellow anti-salt zealot Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City seek to undermine the food and restaurant business in the entire state."

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Such disappointing news for the rulers of Happy Town. Don’t the people understand that they’re trying to help them?

But, as with any politician, the rulers of Happy Town comfort themselves with the knowledge that there any many more programs in place that can still help them achieve their goals of keeping the world a clean place to live and keeping the people who live in Happy Town healthy and happy.

Take one of their earlier bills, for instance. A 2007 bill signed into law by the former leader of Happy Town, George W. Bush, has created stricter standards for the ways in which the people of Happy Town light their homes.

The familiar incandescent light bulb, which the people of Happy Town have been using for years, was deemed inefficient by the people who make the laws of Happy Town. In its stead, they have begun releasing new light bulbs that will help the people light their homes more efficiently and will be much more environmentally-safe.

But wait, the people of Happy Town are again displeased with the ways in which their rulers seek to improve their lives.

Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican and sponsor of a bill which seeks to (gasp) reverse the new guidelines, said "From the health insurance you’re allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to you and your family."

The rulers of Happy Town were again disappointed by this show of rebellion. Don’t the people understand that they are just trying to make their lives better?

Alas, at least the children will be safe. In a corner of Happy Town called San Francisco, the rulers of Happy Town have outlawed toys in Happy Meals that are not dietarily satisfactory for Happy Town’s standards. According to San Francisco’s ordinance, restaurants are forbidden to offer a free toy with any meal that exceeds the prescribed levels of calories, sugar or fat.

The standards they set are that the meals must contain fewer than 600 calories, and less than 35 percent of those calories can come from fat.

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Again, though, the rulers of Happy Town were met with hostility over this law. So the rulers of Happy Town turn instead to making sure that, since the children want toys with their meals even if those meals are unhealthy, at least the toys will be safe and non-violent, especially if they get those toys outside of the meals.

Lawmakers in yet another district of Happy Town named Hawaii have begun to consider banning the sale of toy guns to children, and the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee of Happy Town began working on drafting a measure to make it illegal to sell toy guns to anyone under 18 years old, punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and 90 days imprisonment.

The rulers of Happy Town patted themselves on the back with that one, especially because they never stipulate what exactly their bill was geared toward; a toy gun could be anything from water pistols to BB guns.

And finally, the rulers of Happy Town have, in their infinite wisdom, have created a way to curtail that most disgusting and offensive of habits, that which threatens the health and happiness of not only those who partake, but of everyone who lives in Happy Town.

In the district of Maryland, smoking in public parks is now prohibited.

In an ordinance which includes such properties as Ocean Bowl Skate Park, Ocean City Tennis Center, Bayside Park, and a number of other public recreation grounds, the rulers of Happy Town have effectively cut down on the damaging habits of those wayward individuals who continue to smoke, stating in the ordinance that any person who violates the law "shall be subject to ejection from the public park and be subject to a municipal infraction of up to $500, which can be issued by an employee of the Department of Recreation and Parks in addition to enforcers listed in this code."

This new ordinance, coupled with the smoking bans in restaurants which began in Florida and the Smoke-Free Workplace law which was passed in California, has effectively given the power to the rulers of Happy Town to control not only the destiny of the town’s inhabitants’ health and happiness, but their choices in leisure activity as well.

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There are many more bills which the rulers of Happy Town have been working on lately to make sure that the people of their fair city are kept as healthy, safe, and (most importantly) as happy as possible. There’s even talk of outlawing those disgusting substances known as hot dogs and apple pie soon (it was recently discovered that those dietary symbols of Happy Town were, in fact, actually very unhealthy for the people).

However, if you do decide to walk around Happy Town and take a look at the people who live there, you may notice that there aren’t as many smiles as there used to be.

But don’t fear, stranger! The lawmakers of Happy Town are hard at work making sure that Happy Town continues to be the happiest place on Earth.

They care very deeply about their people, and there’s been a rumor for a couple of years now that they’re working on a bill that will effectively make frowning illegal.

I don’t know any details myself, just rumors, but I do know that at the bottom of my heart that the rulers of Happy Town know what’s best for me, and because of this, I never have to worry about making another potentially harmful decision in my life.

To clarify, Happy Town is not a real place. I take pride in my readers’ intelligence levels, and I seriously doubt that many (if not all) who read this will fail to see the true place to which I am referring. However, as with my previous article, the intended audience is not truly the readers who are most likely to read my words, but rather the people who are not likely to read them.

Alas, unfortunately those without eyes to see will never be able to look past their own preconceptions, meaning that the rulers of Happy Town seem poised to continue their mission of absolute public control, and the dystopian futures of which we were warned almost a century ago seem to be nearer than any of us can imagine.

Carter R. Lyles is a student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL and at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is a journalism/psychology major, and in addition to his work at Pipes Magazine, he has contributed articles to The Alligator, Thursday Night Magazine, and The Fine Print.

 

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    pipetrucker
  • April 4, 2011
Well written but, as you stated, the sheeple who really need to read this will never do so.
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    dd951
  • April 4, 2011
This is A great artical, I love it
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    unclearthur
  • April 4, 2011
Another great insightful article!
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    lonestar
  • April 4, 2011
It all comes down to personal responsibility.
The nannies dont think we are smart enough to decide these things ourselves.
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    Lawrence
  • April 4, 2011
"The Red Hour has struck. These are young men. Why are they not at Festival?"
"We.. are from the Valley."
"There... You see brother. They have different ways in the Valley."
"Do they not have Festival in the Valley? Is Landru not everywhere? Do they not have Law Givers in the Valley? There! You see! They are not of the body!"
Paraphrased from Star Trek; The Return of the Archons
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    duncan
  • April 4, 2011
Once again you speakith the truth!
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    teamhavoc28
  • April 4, 2011
That article really strikes a chord. Great Read.
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    marmal4de
  • April 4, 2011
Great article, heartbreaking.
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    wizbang
  • April 4, 2011
This is a well written, truthful artical. My grandfather always told me that the government is the devil and will one day take over. I am glad someone has made it evident of the government's power trip.
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    assaad
  • April 5, 2011
Hello all, this is my first post and as such I am afraid that many people will instantly dislike me, but in defense of law makers I would have to say that they do have a very necessary role. I think that many people are unable to make decisions for themselves because many people, sad to say, are not very bright. It sucks for people who can make educated decisions for themselves and know how to decide on things like salt intake with moderation. Of course many law makers, being people, are not exempt from being dimwitted and sometimes take it to far. I'm just saying that sometimes people are a little too skeptical about the governments motives or ideas and not all laws are evil, this also applies to smoking bans in my opinion; if I am out in a nice restaurant I wouldn't want to smell cigarette smoke while I eat, but, if I choose to go to a tobacconist's shop I assume that everyone there is a fan of tobacco and I should be able to smoke in their company.
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    cortezattic
  • April 5, 2011
Thanks for a well written article. As the previous comment poster illustrates, there is something more lamentable than failing to reach an intended audience; and that is to discover they are incapable of understanding it. :(
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    jimbo
  • April 5, 2011
An excellent parody! (And like all good parodies... all too true!)
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    whitecloud
  • April 5, 2011
Great article. I always say, "If you want to make more restrictive laws then go back to Europe. We came to America to avoid this type of crap."
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    ripon
  • April 5, 2011
Makes me once again refer to my oft spoken phrase,"Glad I wasn't born any later than I was". Once again, like the viper, the Nanny State strikes.
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    Bob
  • April 5, 2011
A great article Carter that hits the nail right on the head. People need to understand that it is about liberty and freedom to make ones own choices that are being taken away from us.
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    Bob
  • April 5, 2011
assaad said: but in defense of law makers I would have to say that they do have a very necessary role. I think that many people are unable to make decisions for themselves because many people, sad to say, are not very bright.
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It is called survival of the fittest. In days gone by, if you were too stupid to take care of yourself and stay alive then you die. That is the problem with society today, they take care of the stupid people that are not self-reliant and they thrive creating more stupid people that are not self-reliant.
I can take care of myself if I am left alone. But the way things are going, it seems that the government does NOT want people to be self-reliant and they WANT them to be dependent on the government. This way they can control all aspects of their lives.
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    Bob
  • April 5, 2011
assaad said: this also applies to smoking bans in my opinion; if I am out in a nice restaurant I wouldn’t want to smell cigarette smoke while I eat...
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Once again you miss the point. While I agree with you that I prefer not to have smoke around me while I am eating, the government has no right to say that it is illegal for someone to smoke at anytime on PRIVATE PROPERTY.
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Restaurants are PRIVATE PROPERTY that is owned by someone. It should be left up to the owner of that property to decide if they will allow smoking or not. Tobacco is legal, smoking is legal, so the government should not interfere with a property owners rights. If an establishment allows smoking, then it is your right as a customer to CHOOSE to go there or not to go there.
The government to trying to regulate what people do, that is not freedom.
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    oldtom
  • April 5, 2011
Wonderful article and so sad that it's almost true everywhere. Big Brother Government and the Nannies always what's good for you. So you must follow their dictates, no matter the consequences.
As for me, I choose NOT to do so.
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    assaad
  • April 7, 2011
Bob, you make some very valid points, the second comment I think is spot on and thanks for the different outlook. But, as regards the survival of the fittest, I would have to say that in modern western civilization that concept, as you refer to it, is nullified; in a state of anarchy I could see that being a reliable system. The democratic nations we live in are our chosen homes and though the governments are currently limiting freedoms and there is a growing tyranny of the majority in many areas that is the fault of our civilizations as a whole and not of individuals. The populous has the power in democracy, the problem is we think we live in a pure democracy but this is far from true. When a fraction of the population votes or participates in the civil sphere then a fraction of the population is making decisions for the mass and as long as so many do not seek to educate themselves and become proper citizens this will continue. There is a sort of the survival of the fittest going on, smokers (sad to say) are not the fittest. The mass of smokers are cigarette smokers who - for the most part - are unable to avoid the risks associated with their addiction and this means that cigar smokers and pipe smokers are getting the short end of the stick. But pipe and cigar smokers do not have the support of science and are therefore not necessarily among the educated class. Pipe smokers and cigar smokers do not have the evidence, the literature, the science, the masses, or the finances; therefore we are among the inferior class in this battle and the opposition is the one showing signs of long term survival.
I for one see absolutely nothing wrong with smoking a well made cigar or blend of pipe tobacco ANYWHERE, as long as it is done with manners of course (which are dying quicker than tobacco culture) and regret the fact that I have few people to enjoy a pipe with and cannot really smoke in the winter as I currently live in the prairies and must smoke outside. All I was saying is that we do need a government and that is why we choose to live within such institutions.
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    romeowood
  • May 13, 2011
Welcome to the Occupation. Great article as always, Mr. Lyles.
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    Allan1929
  • July 10, 2011
Great article.
Now, in 'Frisco' yes I know those people hate the term for the name of their city, but I don't care. They are outlawing the sale of goldfish in the city. Something about the fish being cooped up in small bowls or some other nonsence, yet you can still buy fresh steamed crabs at Fisherman's Wharf, and eat Sushi. What about those fish. I believe that more fish are hurt and killed in the making of Sushi than in keeping goldfish for pets.
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