Freedom at Risk

Proposition 86 Failed but freedom is still at risk.

Smokers have been relegated to smoking in the great outdoors and in their own homes, if they are lucky enough to own it, yet there are factions in our society, who won’t be satisfied until smoking is outlawed – everywhere.

At our local all night party store, where we stop each night to purchase a huge iced soda, we had the opportunity to talk with a young man, who to be honest, I wanted to slap silly. But of course, I resisted.

I fantasize at times that I live in the olden days, when an offended woman could slap a man, hard across the face and not be jailed for the infraction, just like in the movies.

At any rate… We were purchasing a carton of cigarettes, my first since the election. Since this particular store had been handing out information to smokers in opposition to the proposed $2.60 per pack tax increase, I commented, that thankfully
Proposition 86 had failed and I could still afford to purchase them.

My comment was met with an uncharacteristically vehement response from the clerk on duty. He promptly informed me that he had voted for it and that he would be happy if they outlawed smoking all together. Gee, this has a familiar ring to it. Anyone remember prohibition and its demise?

Well, being the outspoken smoker that I am, I promptly called him and idiot, which in hindsight was probably not one of my finer moments. I asked him what he would do if they took away his right to drink. He lied straight to my face and told me if drinking were made illegal, he would quit.

Yeah, right, and I’m the queen of France! I think my husband and I are the only two non-drinkers in the county – a gross exaggeration I’m sure, but it often feels that way.

Personal Freedom

What many people fail to realize, is that once they (the government, special interest groups, etc.), succeed in taking away one individuals right, they will proceed to infringe upon your rights and mine.

The American Lung Association is determined to take away your right to choose whether or not to smoke. In a recent mailing they had this to say:

Unfortunately, voters in California and Missouri did not approve increases in cigarette excise taxes. Despite the tobacco companies pouring millions of dollars into negative campaign ads to defeat this initiative, the California initiative failed to pass by less than 5 percent, while the Missouri initiative lost by just 3.4 percent. We will continue to work in both California and Missouri to pass strong and effective tobacco control measures, which include tobacco tax increases and strong tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

The problem is bigger than you may think because they are in the pocket of large pharmaceutical companies as evidenced by a September 19, 2006 press release, taunting, “American Lung Association Launches National Influenza Education Initiative to Encourage Americans to See Themselves Among the ‘Faces of Influenza’“:

Celebrities, public health officials and everyday people have joined the “Faces of Influenza” initiative, sharing their personal stories about their experiences with the disease and encouraging influenza vaccination among target groups.

These groups include people 50 years of age and older, young children, everyone in close contact with people who have high-risk conditions, health care providers and anyone else who wants to prevent this serious respiratory illness that, along with its complications, kills an average of 36,000 people and hospitalizes about 226,000 people in the US every year.

“Despite serious health risks associated with influenza, many people, including people with chronic health problems, young children and those 50 years and older, are not getting immunized,” says Norman Edelman, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association. “Two out of three Americans should be vaccinated every year, which means it’s likely each one of us knows someone whose well-being, good health or life depends on getting an influenza immunization each and every year.”

Major pharmaceutical companies have been telling us for years that 36,000 American’s die each and every year from the flu and the facts simply don’t support this myth. Anyone who understands anything about statistics can view the data stored on the CDC’s own website and see that this is false information being disseminated. Yet, no one has called them on it.

While you may find smoking to be a terrible habit, drinking, gambling and drug use are just as bad, if not worse. Drinking has been legal since the years of prohibition, gambling is a popular pastime that I find totally out of sync with American family life, yet our citizens are free to take part. The war on drugs is a money laundering scam that should have been dumped years ago; yet these programs remain alive and well – and fully funded by the federal government.

If we value our freedoms, we must have freedom for everyone, not only the elite and powerful but for one and all. If we continue to erode the freedoms of the few, the freedoms of the many will disappear too, leaving us a sorry lot of slaves to government regulation and repression.

I refuse to be marginalized and treated like a second-class citizen. I have the same rights as all you boozers out there and I refuse to relinquish them to you or anyone else for that matter. We must work together to protect our rights against special interest groups, who wish to run our lives and steal our money. It’s not only my freedom that’s at stake but yours as well.

My name is Annette and I am a smoker.

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