Celebrating the Craft of Cigars

As adults, we owe it to ourselves to admit that our personal choices to be cigar smokers may come with responsibility, but we also have the right to the pursuit of happiness.

The anti-smoking movement began as an effort to protect non-smokers from exposure to smoke. It grew into a frenzy to prevent smokers from any public access to smoke-friendly social gatherings. Big government telling citizens that can't choose among legal vices is not freedom at all. It's just plain wrong.

If a cigar shop can legally sell cigars, how can the government criminalize smoking in the same store under the auspices of protecting the employee's health? The job market is tough, we know, but why a non-smoker would want to work in a cigar shop is a mystery to us. Well, no more mysterious than why a cigar shop would want to hire a worker who isn't knowledgeable about cigars and can't offer first-hand advice about the merchandise.

Years ago, smoking regulations were about accommodating divergent customer's desires. Today they are strictly about accommodating non-smoker's desires.

Even if you make every reasonable allowance for non-smokers, what in the world is so terrible about letting smokers congregate among themselves? Shouldn't smoking-friendly businesses, ones that cater to smokers, have the right to exist?

Vices are a part of our culture, and they bring our government huge revenue streams. Those who believe that higher taxes lead people to quit their vice are duped by a very incomplete picture or cherry-picked data: most people migrate to available alternatives...pricey or not, legal or not.

Government's desire to encourage a healthier society has practical benefits, no arguments, but its desire to shut down something legal that brings citizens pleasure is wearing very thin. There are risks associated with every legal vice in America; the vast majority of adults accept that responsibility appropriately.

Consider the annual Smokin' Aces Poker Tournament in Sandy Springs, Georgia, an event created specifically for smoking poker players so they can "gather for an afternoon of camaraderie, fellowship, and friendship with other individuals who have endured the same increasing discrimination against smokers."

The organizers warn prospective attendees: "If you are a non-smoker and smoke has a real or imaginary immediate effect upon your health, and/or offends you, do not attend and/or participate in this function. Smoking and playing poker may have hazardous mental and physical effects upon your body and mind."

- E.E.H.

SMOKE 2012, Issue 3


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