Smokers Attrition

The liberal leaning states of New York and California led the pack, passing legislation banning non-self-extinguishing cigarettes; many other states are in the process of following their heavy-handed lead.

The state of Illinois will require all cigarettes sold in the state to be self-extinguishing after Jan. 1, 2008. Both Colorado and Iowa are considering passing similar bills. What voters may not realize is they are being hoodwinked. I’m not certain at this point what the monetary motivation is. I do know that “safety” is not the reason behind the push for selling these killer cigarettes.

I supposed this is one way to rid the country of smokers because these cigarettes will kill us off, slowly, one-by-one. The premise behind the push for these so-called self-extinguishing cigarettes is that the cigarette will go out when it is dropped or sitting in an ashtray, and therefore not ignite a careless home fire.

The problem is — well the problem with these cigarettes are numerous. They don’t go out when they sit in an ashtray, but they do go out while you are holding them. In order to keep them lit you have to suck like a baby on a bottle with a teeny-tiny hole that won’t allow the milk to pass through.

California’s self-extinguishing cigarette law went into effect in January. I can’t sleep at night because I’ve got the granddaddy of smokers’ coughs. Each night when I lay down to sleep it starts. I’ve been smoking for many years (29) and I’ve never had a cough like this in my life.

I didn’t put two and two together, until I had the opportunity to pick up some cigarettes recently while visiting family in Nevada. Low and behold – after smoking only one pack of "regular" cigarettes, my cough was gone but as soon as I started smoking California regulated cigarettes the cough was back in full force.

Which brings me to the next problem; the cigarettes burn unevenly. In attempts to keep the cigarette lit, without blowing out my lungs, I’ve tried relighting it with a lighter, only to have it flare up and almost scorch my eye browse. Many times the paper bands around the cigarette refuse to burn off and end up landing on me causing me to burn my fingers and sometimes even my clothing.

I’ve put more holes in my clothes since California passed this menacing law than I did when I was first learning to smoke. It’s down right painful, not to mention embarrassing.

These new "banded" cigarettes are a health hazard to smokers, causing unnecessary burns, chest pains, uncontrollable coughing jags and should be permanently banned. Voters in states consider implementing these horrid cigarettes should think twice before they further endanger their health. It’s bad enough we are told everyday how smoking is bad for us by every self-important well-meaning non-smoker on the face of the planet, and now they seem hell-bent on making it so.

I have a choice to make:

  • I can spend years trying to fight this new law;
  • I can attempt to bring a class action lawsuit against the state of California;
  • I can move to a new state that doesn’t force banded cigarettes on their citizens; or
  • I can break the law and go to a neighboring state to purchase my cigarettes, risking jail and/or a fine.

These are tough choices; one I shouldn’t be forced into making.

Vote NO on "banded" or "self-extinguishing" cigarette laws being legislated in your state. The life you save could be your own.

CA Killing Smokers

I am thoroughly convinced that the State of California is trying to kill me.

Since the California Legislature has been unsuccessful in taxing smokers out of existence, they are now trying to kill us off.

As a long time smoker, who takes her health very seriously – don’t laugh, I really do. I’ve tried the whole quitting routine (five years), only to find that my health problems had multiplied and I was far worse off without my trusty pack of smokes than I was with them. I won’t bore you with the details – you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

After a recent purchase of my regular brand, Marlboro menthol cigarettes, which are made by none-other-than the infamous Phillip Morris, I began to notice something was terribly wrong with my cigarettes. They kept going out, if I wasn’t continuously dragging on the filter. Three times I actually thought I had lost the cherry off the end and began a frantic search for it, not wanting to burn a hole in my new pajamas.

“It is important to note that these cigarettes are not “fire-safe.” Anything that burns, if handled carelessly, can cause a fire. RCIP cigarettes should be handled and disposed of properly, just like regular cigarettes.” (Phillip Morris’s website)

Well, I have to tell you, even though Phillip Morris claims they are not fire-safe, I can assure you that starting a fire with these would be very difficult.

I realized about halfway through the pack that something was different about this pack. So, I went in search of an answer. It didn’t take me long to find it:

Phillip Morris posted the following on their website:

Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity (RCIP) describes cigarettes that demonstrate a reduced ignition propensity in certain laboratory tests. New York (effective June 28, 2004), Vermont (effective May 1, 2006) and California (effective January 1, 2007) have enacted laws adopting a statewide performance standard for RCIP.

Today, many manufacturers including Philip Morris USA (PM USA) use banded cigarette paper to achieve compliance with mandatory standards and improved test results. The developers of the test method, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), have stated that cigarettes with improved test performance are less likely to ignite bedding and upholstered furniture, such as mattresses and sofas. Banded paper cigarettes have been in the marketplace for a short time however, and therefore there is a limited amount of data regarding their actual real-world impact.

I have to tell you that if a smoker smokes these cigarettes for any length of time, it will certainly kill them. I’ve never had to inhale so deeply, to keep a cigarette from going out. I can only surmise that in their zeal to “protect” “innocent” citizens from the hazard presented by those nasty smokers, the legislators in Vermont, New York and California have colluded with tobacco manufacturers, to sacrifice smokers.

I’ve smoked about 15 cigarettes made with the new, banded paper and already my throat hurts, my lungs feel heavy and I’m having trouble breathing. Symptoms I don’t normally develop unless I have a cold or respiratory illness.

Phillip Morris admits the new paper has only been used for a short time and that they have no idea what the health impact will be on the smokers who are forced into this experiment against their will or the impact they will have on our environment.

Call me crazy but I say this is a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

Related Links

Smokers: An Endangered Species

If you are a smoker you are on the EPA’s list of endangered species, because if the American Lung Association and drug companies have their way, you will no longer have the right to make that choice.

The American Lung Association is using it’s deep coffers to bombard American’s with the message that smoking is wrong and immoral. If they get their way, smokers will be paying an additional $2.00 in taxes per pack.

Glaxo Smith Kline is launching an Italian marketing campaign for anti-smoking products this week (January 9, 2005) as pharmaceutical groups gear up to cash in where their rivals in the tobacco sector are losing out. The fresh focus on smoking in southern Europe follows a 36 per cent increase in sales of GSK’s products in Ireland since that country introduced a ban on smoking in public places at the end of March 2004. GSK plans to follow up with similar campaigns in Spain and Portugal.

Smokers today are made to feel guilty for lighting up. They are treated as second class citizen’s who’s rights take a backseat to everyone else.

Michigan Proposed Smoking Ban

Michigan Senator Ray Basham, D-Taylor, has introduced legislation; the Michigan Smoke-Free Dining Act (SB 186),  which would prohit smoking in all Michigan Restaurants.

Rob Gifford, executive director of the Michigan Restaurant Association, which  fiercely opposes the no-smoking proposal, says it amounts to nannyism by government.

States like Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Indiana, Maine and New York  have smoking bans currently in place for restaurants, many include bars and bowling  alleys.

Several other states are currently considering smoking bans: Michigan, Georgia and  Utah to name a few, as well as many several countries.

Oklahoma Business Friendly State

Oklahomans seem to have gotten it right. In July 2002, the Oklahoma  legislature passed a law that regulates restaurants serving more than 50  customers. Restaurant owners may elect to declare themselves entirely  smoking, entirely smoke-free or effectively smoke-free. If they choose,  the classification of “effectively smoke-free,” they must provide separately ventilated smoking rooms.

This new law also applies to indoor workplaces with 15 or more employees,  bars, pools halls, bowling, adult day care, malls, and certain medical facilities.  Hotel lobbies and youth camps are to be smokefree.

This law makes sense. After all when an individual decides to put it all on  the line to open their own business, shouldn’t they have the right to cater to  their own clientel? In a capitalist society such as ours, the customer rules.

If a business owner is not meeting the needs of his or her customer base,  they won’t remain in business for very long.

One bowling alley owner in New York recently folded because his customers  were not interested in a non-smoking bowling league. League play is the bread  and butter of the bowling alley, without them, they just won’t keep the doors  open long, negatively impacting many small communities and local economies.

Smoking Ban Impacts Businesses

Though I’ve heard legislators over and over again say there is no evidence  that the new smoking bans have had a negative impact on business revenues. I’ve  found plenty of evidence to the contrary, simply by searching google.

In California, it’s easy to spot a bar, it’s the building with all the  smokers congregated outside the doorway. Bar owners have been kind in most  instances providing plastic lawn chair seating for patrons who wish to  light up. When the band takes a break it’s not uncommon to find an empty  bar because everyone is outside, how ridiculous.

Where California enjoys mild winters and mostly sunny weather, Michigan  smokers are at the whim of mother nature.

Facing winter weather with wind chill factors often below zero, just being  outside can present it’s own health risks. Can the state be held liable for those  who would succum to harsh winter weather if forced to move outside to light up?  I’m sure that’s one the courts will have to decide.

Smoking Ban Waivers

States such as New York, make waivers available to businesses who  can prove their business has been harmed, by more than 15%, because of the  smoking ban. The problem is that by the time the data becomes available  the business is likely to be already in finacial trouble.

Anyone who has ever owned a restaurant knows that the bookkeeping  end of the business is a huge job and takes months to compile accurate  statements. A direct coorelation between the non-smoking bans and  income losses can be a tough one to prove, few have passed muster.

Smoking as a rule is banned in hospitals, government buildings, museums,  schools and theatres everywhere. Most states ban smoking at work and in  train or bus stations and airports. Chain restaurants are increasingly non-smoking.

Smoking is banned on domestic airplanes, however, a few airports still have  smoking sections. I always try to connect in St. Louis, which has many smoking  booths, they are terrible, smoke-filled enclosed cubicles, with smoke so think  you can cut it with a knife. Even the terrible conditions do not deter anxious  smokers, who welcome the sight. Just beware, if you don’t have lung cancer  when you go in, you will by the time you come out. They are well used and the  smoke hangs in the air like a dense fog on a San Francisco morning, despite it’s  ventilation system.

California to Ban Smoking on Beaches

California is taking it to the next level. The state already has smoking bans  in place for restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, government buildings, public  buildings and playgrounds. They are currently seeking to  ban  smoking on all beaches and piers. Supporters say smokers are littering the  coast with unsightly cigarette butts and present a fire hazard to wooden piers.

I’m not certain what they expected. Most beach areas do not provide ashtrays. At  least when people were smoking inside, they had a place to extinguish their butts.  I guess you can’t have everything.

Or maybe they can. If California succeeds in passing this new bill, smoking  will be effectively comfined to the comfort of your own home, unless of course  you live in a non-smoking residence or if you have children.

Smokers who wish to avoid exposing their children to smoke will be forced  to put them up for adoption, in order to protect them from harmful exposure.

Well, ok, they haven’t gone that far yet, but it’s coming. There have already  been legal cases in California where the parents are barred, by court order, from  smoking around their own children. Some will say, “And rightly so.”

But if smoking is not allowed in public and it’s not allowed in the privacy of  your own home, where can you light up? Do you have the right to?

Not if big brother has his way.

Congress Exempt

I find it curious that in Washington D.C. smoking is banned in all government  buildings, except in Congress.

You mean to tell me that our congressmen, who are so concerned over our health  and well-being that they continually pass restrictive regulations intended to keep  us from hurting ourselves, have exempted themselves from the public smoking laws?  That’s exactly what I’m saying.

It seems American has a special class of citizen, one to which the laws do not  apply. Our legislators have their own retirement plan. They aren’t required to pay  7.5% off the top of their wages, like the rest of us (15% if you are self-employed).  Of course they won’t be eligible to collect from the Social Security fund either.

They have a much better plan, allowing them to collect their full wages, just as they  are now, each and every year until they die. (With cost of living raises of course.)  It’s a pretty sweety deal they have voted for themselves and it’s paid for by you and  I.

They also aren’t prohibited from smoking inside, which may endanger their non-smoking staff members, like the rest of American’s.

I don’t know about you but this burns my biscuits.

Internet Tax on Cigarettes

As if all this were not enough, legislators are considering forcing Indian tribes to  charge taxes to all non-indians for cigarette sales and forcing internet businesses to  charge sales taxes on all cigarette sales.

Many years ago Camel had an ad promotion that said, “I’d rather fight than  switch.” If smokers don’t begin to stand up for their rights and fight, they  will be forced to quit.

The state of New York wants to increase the tax on a single pack of cigarettes  by $7.00, an outrageous amount by any standard.

If these proposed tax laws are enacted, we will see the courts filled with  individuals charged with tax evasion because many of us who choose to smoke will  be priced out of the market.

Quitting Smoking a Challenge

The enconomy has been hard hit over the past few years and any smoker can  attest how difficult quitting can be, even under optimal circumstances. Add the  stress of a lost job and finacial troubles and quitting becomes all but an  impossibility.

Of course today we have all these wonderful new fangled smoking cessation  aids, which cost an arm and a leg. (We have the pharmaceutical companies to thank  for that.) Anyone considering quitting had better be serious because they cost  more than a carton of cigarettes.

If the government wants to raise taxes in order to promote non-smoking as  they claim, the money should be used to subsidize smoking cessation aids for  the poor.

We all know that even those with health insurance have trouble purchasing  items to help them remain healthy because health insurance in our country  refuses to cover preventative medical treatments. You have to be sick to  get help. But that’s an entirely different article.

Big Government gets Bigger

Most of us are well aware of government creep, the cost of and size of which  continues to grow exponentially each year. This infestation of government  intrusion and regulation must be halted if the family and small business  owner is going to prosper and flourish in todays economic  environment.

While today we are talking about smokers-rights, this issue should not  be of concern to just smokers or those who adamently against smoking. This  is a national issue, one that should be of concern to all American’s because  our freedoms are being stripped away one layer at a time.

Don’t think for one minute that government officials will stop at taxing  cigarettes over the internet. Oh no. If they are successful in convincing  taxpayers that smokers should pay taxes for cigarettes purchased online, other  items will follow, post-haste.

Each year, they spend a little more and they take a little more, always  convincing us that it’s for our own benefit.

Just like when we tell our children that this shot is good for them  and the pain only hurts for a little while. Many parents have discovered  that the pain can last a lifetime for their child. Our children will be  paying for this governments spending spree for many years to come.

If you don’t care enough to do it for yourself, do it for your children,  for their right to live in freedom and in economic health. Call your  legislator today and tell them the spending and taxing must stop. Tell your  legislator you expect him or her to uphold the constitution and protect the  freedoms guaranteed to you and your family under its articles. Your  children will be glad you did.

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