The Left wants to Criminalize Cigarette Smoking while Decriminalizing Marijuana Smoking

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

If you’re a smoker one California town has a message for you.  “You are not welcomed here” (see California Town Bans Smoking in Condos and Apartments That Share Walls by ALAN FARNHAM posted 11/21/2013 on Yahoo! News).

The town of San Rafael, Calif., has passed a ban on smoking that city officials have called the most stringent in the nation. The new ordinance makes it illegal for residents to smoke in their own homes if they share a wall with another dwelling.

The ban applies to owners and renters alike, and it covers condominiums, co-ops, apartments and any multi-family residence containing three or more units…

As justification for the rule, she cited studies showing that secondhand smoke seeped through ventilating ducts and walls, even through cracks. “It depends on a building’s construction,” she said, “but it does affect the unit next door, with the negative health impacts due to smoke…”

Does this apply to smoking marijuana, too?  If so then where are you to smoke your marijuana?

You have an entire coast pushing hard to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use.  Because responsible adults should be able to do whatever they want to do inside their homes.  Unless they want to smoke cigarettes, that is.  Because smoking will kill you.  And anyone near that burning tobacco.

This just goes to show you how irrational the left is.  As one type of smoking will kill you.  While another type of smoking will do no harm.  For the left wants to control our lives.  Telling us what we should eat and drink.  And telling us what not to eat and drink.  Or smoke.  But they sure enjoy getting high.  Probably to escape the horrible reality they’ve created with their onerous rules and regulations.

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All Tobacco is Bad for you Except the Kind that can Help you Get the Youth Vote—Marijuana

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Cigarettes will kill you.  And are addictive.  Which makes that killing you thing worse.  Governments have sued Big Tobacco for all the heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema their products caused.  Smoking is so bad for you that we’ve banned smoking in all public places.  We’ve also banned second-hand smoke.  And are discussing ways to band third-hand smoke (the stink of smoking left behind).  We ostracize smokers today.  And shame them.  Except in the movies.  Where people still love to smoke.  And they make it look so cool that kids who see them smoke want to smoke, too.

Apart from Hollywood, though, there is an outright war on smoking.  It’s just so bad that governments are doing everything they can to get people to quit smoking.  And prevent them from starting to smoke in the first place (see Fewer teens smoke but more use e-cigarettes, hookahs by Wendy Koch posted 11/14/2013 on USA Today).

Fewer U.S. teens are smoking cigarettes, but more are getting a nicotine fix from hookahs and electronic cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports today…

The CDC attributed the increase to lower prices for these products as well as their increased marketing and availability, and the perception that they are safer alternatives to cigarettes. It also found a slight uptick in high school students who smoked pipes and cigars, including the little ones that look like cigarettes but cost a lot less and come in candy flavors.

“This report raises a red flag about newer tobacco products,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in announcing the findings. “Cigars and hookah tobacco are smoked tobacco – addictive and deadly. We need effective action to protect our kids from addiction to nicotine…”

The CDC report, published in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reported that 14% of high school students smoked cigarettes last year, down from 15.8% in 2011 and 28% in 2000. It notes that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and nearly 90% of adult smokers began smoking by age 18.

Leading cause of preventable death?  And 90% of adult smokers started smoking by age 18?  Wow, smoking must be bad.  But if it is why the big push to decriminalize marijuana by the same people who want to criminalize every other type of tobacco product?  Simple.  Kids love getting high.  And if the Democrats are the ones to decriminalize marijuana they can count on the youth vote in election after election.  Until they die from heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema, that is.

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Anti-Smoking People fuming over Britain’s Failure to enforce Plain Cigarette Packaging

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 14th, 2013

Week in Review

I was talking to a woman I knew who was in her 40s.  She took out a cigarette and lit up.  I asked her why she started smoking.  Was it the pretty cigarette packages?  The cigarette advertisements in her youth?  For back then the Joe Camel ads were still out.  As well as a slew of other cigarette ads.  Including cars painted up with Kool cigarette advertisements driving around town.  And the Virginia Slim ads were telling women they’ve “come a long way.”  Smoking advertisements were everywhere.  So did these things prove so attractive and irresistible that she could no longer withstand the lure of cigarette advertising?  No.  She started smoking because all her friends were smoking.

Kids want two things in life more than anything else.  To be grown-up.  And to be cool.  That’s why they start smoking.  Because smoking is only for grownups.  By law.  Which makes them look grown-up when they smoke.  Because only grownups smoke.

Then there is the cool thing.  Boys worship their rock heroes.  The guys who play their low-slung guitars with a cigarette dangling out of their mouth.  It’s just so cool looking.  Keith Richards.  Jimmy Page.  Eddie Van Halen.  Slash.  You name a guitar superstar and odds are there is a poster selling somewhere of him with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

The stars in the movies they watch seem to all smoke.  For there is nothing cooler than a grizzled actor suffering through a stressful scene lighting up a cigarette afterwards to enjoy some soothing relaxation.  And few things are sexier than a femme fatale that seductively smokes a cigarette.  Our girls see this.  And they, too, want to be grown-up and sexy.  Which is why so many of them start smoking.  And when all of their friends are smoking, too, it just doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with it.  And because all their friends are having sex that, too, seems okay.  It’s the softer side of peer pressure.  Well it can’t be bad if EVERYONE is doing it.

This is why this 40 something mother of 3 started smoking.  And she continues to smoke because she now enjoys it.  Like those grizzled actors in Hollywood movies.  There’s nothing like lighting up after a stressful work shift.  Even though today she is bombarded with warnings of what smoking will do to her health.  Despite anti-smoking legislation.  And the high taxes placed on cigarettes.  She still smokes.  Because she started smoking young to be cool and grown-up.  And now that she is a smoker her government attacks her with high taxes.  And legislation that ostracizes her like a leper.  Measures now coming to India (see Smoking bans, tax could save 9 million Indians: study by AFP posted 7/10/2013 on France 24).

Banning smoking in the workplace and levying a tobacco tax could prevent more than nine million deaths from cardiovascular disease in India over the next decade, according to a US study…

They found that smoke-free laws and increased tobacco taxes were the single two most effective measures, according to the study in PLoS Medicine on Tuesday.

These two measures alone would reduce heart attack deaths by six million and stroke deaths by 3.7 million, for a total of 9.7 million, over the next decade, the paper said.

The study compared five different tobacco control measures: smoke-free legislation, tobacco taxation, provision of brief cessation advice by health care providers, mass media campaigns, and advertising bans.

Interestingly, one measure is conspicuous by its absence.  This (see Delay on plain cigarette pack decision ‘sad day for child health’ by Sarah Boseley and Andrew Sparrow posted 7/12/2013 on The Guardian).

Lives will be lost as a result of the government’s decision to kick the notion of plain packaging for cigarettes into the long grass, say scientists and campaigners who accuse ministers of bowing to tobacco industry lobbying…

More than 200,000 young people under 16 start smoking every year. With advertising banned, cigarette packets are the only vehicle that companies are able to use to recruit children to the habit. The review said unadorned packs were less attractive to young people, improved the effectiveness of health warnings and reduced the numbers who mistakenly believed that some brands were safer than others.

Kids don’t start smoking because of pretty cigarette packages.  Or cigarette ads.  There are a lot of ads for kids to eat their vegetables yet many kids still resist those ads and refuse to eat their vegetables.  This has got to be the most asinine measure to get kids to stop smoking.  For if they really want to see who is at fault for getting kids to start smoking all they need to do is look into a mirror.

Liberal policies that attack traditional values and the traditional family have far more to do with kids starting smoking than Big Tobacco.  We’re giving high school kids free birth control.  Access to abortion.  And the morning-after pill.  Traditional values are ridiculed on television and in the movies.  Telling these kids that they’re not kids but grownups.  Who can make responsible decisions for themselves.  So they do.  They choose to be sexually active.  And we say we must respect their decision and not try to instill our morals on them.  Yet when they decide to start smoking we say that is wrong and blame Big Tobacco.  So much for our ‘grown-up’ children making responsible decisions.

And we’re never allowed to complain about the non-traditional behavior on television and in the movies.  Where getting stoned and having casual and consequence-free sex is now the norm.  And okay.  Our kids are seeing this.  As well as these people smoking.  They see this and want to imitate it.  Because if everyone is doing it just can’t be that bad.

If you really want to get kids NOT to start smoking then we need their heroes to stop influencing them into smoking.  We need them to be positive role models.  Not the ‘rebel against everything your parents and teachers tell you to do’ people that they are.  The bad boys.  And the naughty girls.  Who practice their art for the kids of the world to see.  And when life imitates art these stars say, “Don’t look at me.  Where are these kids’ parents?”

Not only does government endorse this behavior they facilitate it.  The liberal side of government.  The cool side of government.  Who want these kids to see how cool they are by not being like their parents or their teachers.  So they will vote for them.  And not those stuffy conservatives who don’t want them to have any fun.  Because they won’t vote for them once they wise up with some real education and real-world experience.  So they sacrifice our kids on the altar of politics.  By encouraging all kinds of bad behavior.  Like smoking.  Which they then blame on pretty cigarette packaging.  And not the societal decay they created.

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The UFCW wants to unionize Workers at Medical Marijuana Pot Shops

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2013

Week in Review

The unions have always advertised that union made was better made.  Because it was safer.  And of higher quality.  For unions look out for the people.  They protect our kids in school.  And demand high safety standards in industry.  They even have a zero tolerance policy on drug use in the workplace.  Large union contracts on big construction projects have mandatory drug testing to hire in.  And have random-random drug tests monthly.  Once a month on some random day at some random time they call workers in to pee in a cup for testing.  That’s how committed the unions are in combating drug use.  So you never would have expected to see something like this (see Insight: Shrinking U.S. labor unions see relief in marijuana industry by Samuel P. Jacobs and Alex Dobuzinskis posted 2/6/2013 on Reuters).

During the last few years, unions, led by the UFCW [United Food and Commercial Workers union], have played an increasingly significant role in campaigns to allow medical marijuana, now legal in California, 17 other states and Washington, D.C…

Union officials acknowledge that their support stems partly from the idea that the marijuana industry could create hundreds of thousands of members at a time when overall union membership is shrinking…

Industry advocates acknowledge that the legal marijuana industry’s potential to produce jobs is difficult to project. One reason: uncertainty over how the U.S. government will deal with an industry whose product is illegal under federal law but increasingly accepted by state laws.

Since Colorado and Washington state voted to legalize marijuana on November 6, President Barack Obama has said his administration will not pursue recreational pot users in those states.

This is interesting.  If the states don’t like a federal law they just ignore it.  If Colorado and Washington can simply ignore a federal law they don’t like then every state that doesn’t like Obamacare should be able to ignore it, too.  If the unions protest states that ignore Obamacare (the unions endorsed Obamacare) and insist that they follow federal law then so should Colorado and Washington.  Who should immediately re-criminalize marijuana under state law.  To match federal law.

By joining a union, marijuana workers could have more sway in pressing for higher pay and benefits such as healthcare…

The retailers there say they are conflicted – grateful for the legitimacy that labor’s involvement could bring their businesses, but worried that the support could undermine the already shaky financial footing of their small operations.

One marijuana business owner in Denver said he considered aligning with the UFCW but eventually backed away. He said he was worried that having a union shop would hurt the value of his business by driving up employment costs…

Eventually, [UFCW’s Rush] helped to persuade enough labor leaders that the same union that organized Hostess bakery workers could represent people who made pot brownies.

High union labor costs just bankrupted Hostess and put them out of business.  So, yeah, marijuana retailers are worried about higher labor costs if their shops unionize.  There’s a reason why there is so little union membership today.  It is very difficult for a business to stay in business with those high union costs.  The very costs that bankrupted General Motors and Chrysler requiring the government bailout.  If they unionize their costs will go up.  As will their prices.  Giving the non-unionized shops a price advantage.  As well as the drug dealer on the street.

In Los Angeles, UFCW Local 770 is pushing a ballot measure that would set zoning and safety standards for medical pot dispensaries. For years, police and residents have complained about the impact that less-than-reputable medical marijuana dispensaries have on some neighborhoods.

Dispensary workers and owners who have aligned themselves with the union say that some competitors undermine prices and security by flouting labor laws and avoiding taxes.

Decriminalizing marijuana is not the panacea they think it is.  First of all no one wants what drugs attract.  Addicts.  And crime.  Shutting down the nonunion shops won’t take care of that problem.  Because the higher prices at the ‘reputable’ drug retailers will only broaden the market for the drug dealers on the street.  Who are also nonunion.  And can sell their marijuana for less than a pot shop with high union labor costs.

Medical marijuana retailers have provided more than medical marijuana.  People wanting marijuana for recreational use had no problem getting a doctor’s prescription.  Including people who bought marijuana and resold it to kids.  Higher retailer prices at ‘reputable’ pot shops are not going to change that.  It will only raise the street value of marijuana.  Making for a prosperous black market.

The UFCW is obviously backing and lobbying for full decriminalization.  So their members can prosper from a rise in drug use.  And addiction.  It is interesting how the Left attacks cigarette smoking.  Even suing Big Tobacco for the harm their addictive product has done to those who smoke.  Yet as evil as cigarette smoking is there is no such outrage over marijuana smoking.  Which they say is not only harmless but medicinal.  Talk about your double standards.

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State Capitalism in China earns a lot of Tax Revenue from Big State Tobacco

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

Big corporations are evil.  That’s all you hear from those on the Left.  These people hate corporations.  Capitalism.  And the private sector in general.  Where people pursue profits.  Instead of the wellbeing of our fellow citizens.  Like they do in China.  Where state capitalism rules supreme.  And the government puts people ahead of profits (see Poisonous gift posted 1/28/2012 on The Economist).

China’s tobacco industry is both owned and regulated by the government. It makes and sells more than two-fifths of the world’s cigarettes—2.4 trillion in 2011, 3% more than in 2010. The government says the industry took in profits and tax receipts of 753 billion yuan ($119 billion) in 2011, an annual increase of over a fifth. Production, sales and tax receipts are likely to increase for years to come.

Yes, the economic model that those on the Left want us to adopt is worse than Big Tobacco.  For the tobacco companies in China not only kill people in pursuit of big profits.  They’re owned by the government.  So it’s the government killing people in pursuit of profits.  Funny.  Because state capitalism isn’t supposed to work that way.  At least, that’s what those on the Left would tell us.  Government is good.  Corporations are bad.  Yet here is government being worse than the corporations.

Perhaps state capitalism is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Perhaps government can be just as bad as corporations.  Or even worse.  For corporations clearly state that they protect the interests of their stockholders.  Government is supposed to protect the interests of the people.  So who is worse when people get hurt by smoking?  The government, of course.

So why do they do it?  For the same reason the U.S. government won’t criminalize cigarettes.  They want people to smoke for the same reason the Chinese government wants their people to smoke.  The tax receipts.  Addiction is good.  It fills the government coffers.  And as long as it does people will be smoking.  Governments everywhere will make sure of it.

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Government’s Insatiable Greed will always Keep Smoking Legal

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 18th, 2011

The FDA may Ban Menthol Cigarettes

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you.  When you go to the hospital part of your diagnoses includes “Do you smoke?”  And your answer to this question will determine your treatment.  It’s that bad.  And we all know it.  Have known it for the longest of time.  The only thing keeping smoking alive in this country appears to be cool celebrities who smoke.  And kids who want to be cool emulating cool celebrities who smoke. 

Well, it looks like things may be changing.  Cigarettes now fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA.  And they may be doing something to put an end to this filthy habit (see FDA panel says ban on menthol cigarettes would benefit public health by Andrew Zajac, Washington Bureau, posted 3/18/2011 on The Los Angeles Times).

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel Friday said that “removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States…”

Antismoking groups hailed the panel’s advice and urged the FDA to follow through with a ban.

Yeah, well, don’t get your hopes up.  It is unlikely that the government will ever ban menthol cigarettes let alone tobacco products in general.  Why?  They’re addictive.  Well, yeah, you say, that’s why the FDA wants to ban them, yes?  They’re bad for you AND they’re addictive.  I mean, what government that cares for its people wouldn’t want to ban these horrible, nasty things?  I’ll answer that with one word.  Taxes.

Tobacco companies also warned that a menthol ban would lead to a large black market, loss of tax revenue and make it easier for underage kids to smoke.

The 12-member advisory committee acknowledged that development of a black market was a possibility, but left it to the FDA to determine the seriousness of the threat.

A black market is serious.  Because it would only compound the loss of tax revenue problem.  And that’s what the government sees when they look at cigarettes.  A very lucrative stream of tax revenue.  And they will never turn off that spigot.

Big Government Loves Big Tobacco

For the non-smokers out there, have you noticed the price of a pack of cigarettes?  They’re pretty expensive.  But it’s not the tobacco companies making them expensive.  It’s government.  There’s federal and state taxes.  And some cities even add their own tax.  They’re all jumping onto the gravy train.  They thank God for the tobacco companies and their addictive products.  They’re great for taxing.  And even suing.  Government just loves them.  And the last thing anyone in government wants (at any level) is for anyone to quit smoking.

Let’s start at the top and work backwards.  The federal excise tax currently on cigarettes is $1.01 per pack.  State taxes vary.  Virginia, where they grow tobacco, adds $0.30 per pack.  The lowest tax is Missouri which adds only $0.17 per pack.  New York tops the states and adds $4.35 per pack.  All the other states fall somewhere in between, averaging $1.45 per pack.  (All cigarette tax data pulled from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids).

Some cities and counties add their own tax.  New York City adds $1.50 per pack.  Chicago adds $0.68 on top of the $2.00 Cook County adds.  As you can see, cigarettes can be very lucrative to government.  As long as no one quits smoking.  So you can be pretty sure that government won’t ever kill this golden goose.

Balancing Budgets on the Backs of Addicted Smokers

But governments can get greedy.  That dirty, sexy money can do this to you.  It’s intoxicating.  And there’s just so much of it.  So they keep raising their taxes.  But sometimes they go too far.  Because it’s a small world after all.  And there’s another state just a short drive away.  Across the border (see Chicago Cigarette Tax: Study Shows 75% Of Chicagoans Buy Cigarettes Out Of City by Will Guzzardi posted 5/20/2010 on The Huffington Post).

According to the University of Illinois at Chicago, 75 percent of sampled cigarette packs found on the streets of Chicago come from out of the city, costing roughly $120 million a year in revenues…

When the packs were collected in July 2007, state and local taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago totaled $4.05. They were only $1.37 outside of Cook County. This made Chicagoans 60 percent more likely than their collar-county counterparts to shirk cigarette taxes.

Increase taxes and sales drop.  And ‘black market’ activity increases (smuggling out-of-state cigarettes across the border).  A very profound lesson that so few in government ever learn.  Because of their greed, of course.

The fear of sending business to Indiana may poke a hole in the ambitions of state lawmakers hoping to create a budget for the coming fiscal year. With Gov. Pat Quinn’s controversial plan to increase income taxes unlikely to come to fruition, the state is at a loss for new revenues. And cuts to public services like education have been met with vocal opposition.

Legislators have repeatedly argued that a new cigarette tax would help stave off some of those education cuts. But with the General Assembly already on recess and no resolution in sight to the budget mess, this new report may only serve to impede consensus in an increasingly fractious legislature.

Hmmm….  Using cigarette taxes to pay for education?  Funny.  Those law suits against Big Tobacco and the high taxes on cigarettes were always to counter the ill effects of smoking.  Or so said government.  Could Scott Walker be right in Wisconsin?  Could the salary and benefits of public sector workers be so great that they have to take money from health care to pay for them?  Perhaps.

New England/New Jersey Adopt Reaganomics

Of course, one state’s financial woes are another state’s gift.  Especially for those businesses near the border (see NH, RI, NJ buck trend, propose cigarette tax cut by The Associated Press posted 3/18/2011 on Yahoo! Finance).

Bucking a national trend of raising cigarette taxes, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island have considered reducing theirs, hoping to draw smokers from other states and increase revenue…

It’s very unusual for states to lower the tax, University of Illinois at Chicago economics professor Frank Chaloupka says. The increase in sales isn’t enough to offset the drop in state tax revenue, he says.

Instead of lowering the tax, states have enacted 100 increases over the past decade, he says.

Of course, they’re applying the opposite lessons of Chicago.  Cut taxes, increase sales.  And decrease black market activity.  At the expense of their high-tax neighbors.  Chicago would love to hate these states.

Smoker Aaron Evans stopped Thursday at a convenience store in Haverhill, Mass., for a sandwich and a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. The pack cost him $7.13. A couple of miles away, a bigger pack of the same smokes would cost him $5.99 at a market in New Hampshire, which already has significantly lower taxes than Massachusetts.

That’s the funny thing about people.  They just don’t shop for the best price when shopping for a plasma TV.  They ALWAYS shop for the best price.  And if lower taxes are only 15 minutes away, guess what?  People will save money and drive the extra distance.  Even if they have to buy in bulk to offset the added cost of driving.

Danny McGoldrick, research director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said other states aren’t cutting their tax rates in these tough fiscal times because they need the money. Raising the tax, he said, produces revenue despite resulting in a desired decrease in the number of smokers.

But state Rep. Christine Hamm, a Hopkinton Democrat, called the move “fiscally stupid.”

“No state has cut their tobacco tax and seen a revenue increase,” she said.

I can think of a state that cut taxes and increased revenue.  The United States.  When Ronald Reagan cut the tax rates, federal receipts nearly doubled by the time he left office.  Cutting taxes works.  For a very simple reason.  People have more money to buy more things.  If they spend all of their disposable income on cigarettes, they may not eat out as often.  And a waitress may lose her job.  Who then has to cut back on her spending.  And so on.  The more money you keep in the private sector, the more economic activity there is.  And the more economic activity there is the more taxes government can collect.  But this is another profound lesson that so few in government ever learn.

Cigarette Taxes Pay for Public Sector Workers

For all their talk government doesn’t want smokers to quit smoking.  That’s why they will NEVER ban cigarettes.  They make far too much tax revenue on smokers.  And cigarettes are better than alcohol.  Because you can smoke and drive.  Smoke at breakfast.  Stand outside and smoke at work.  Smoke at dinner.  At the bar.  After sex.  Hell, to government, smoking is sex.  Nothing is better.  They can tax the bejesus out of it.  And because everyone knows smoking is bad for you people accept these outrageous taxes.  Even smokers.  Because we so demonize them that they think, well, yes, I guess I deserve it.

And the ill health effects of smoking?  It’s a pretty specious argument when municipalities are raising cigarette taxes to pay for their public sector workers.  When you raise cigarette taxes to pay for teachers you’ve lost that argument.  Which leaves nothing but greed.  And this is why cigarettes will always be legal.  And taxes will be high.  Because of government’s insatiable greed.

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