News Cigarettes: Safe, Legal, and Rare
posted by October 26 at 14:26 PMon
Dominic Holden, local drug-reform movement superstar (and occasional Stranger contributor), emailed me this morning about a disturbing new poll. According to Zogby, a growing number of Americans support a federal ban on cigarettes—not a ban on smoking them in public places, which I support. But a ban, period. A whopping 45% of Americans said yes to a ban on cigarettes. Among younger voters—those between 18-29—support for a ban on cigarettes clocks in at 57%. Says Dominic…
Jeepers, this is a creepy poll… It shows that Americans are increasingly supportive of prohibiting cigarettes.
I think cigarettes suck and smokers are suckers, but arresting them seems a bit much. Not to mention that it would carry the same consequences of the drug war, only multiplied several times over. I mean, if people think dope-heads are fiendish, imagine trying to curb the black market for tens of millions of jonesing tobacco smokers.
The War on Drugs has been a total failure—drugs are cheaper now, and easier to find, after decades wasted, billions spent, and countless lives ruined. A War on Drugs? What we’ve got is a war on minorities (they don’t use drugs at higher rates, but they’re prosecuted and incarcerated for drug use at higher rates), pleasure, and ultimately reality. You can’t ban a product that people want—remember when they tried that with booze?—without creating black markets, violence, and huge profits for criminal networks. The only rationale solution is to legalize all drugs—and to keep cigarettes legal—and apply the standards to all drugs when it comes to their use. Namely, use `em at home, in privacy, and be discrete about `em when you’re out in clubs or, um, hanging in the mayor’s office.
I hate cigarettes—no one hates `em more than I do. (Ask any of my long-suffering, cigarette-addicted co-workers.) But I am dead-set against banning them. Holy crap, what a bad idea. I don’t want people smoking in bars, near kids, or anywhere near me. But I think that smoking should be safe (at least for non-smokers who aren’t forced to breathe second-hand smoke), legal (just as pot will hopefully be one day), and rare (because it’s such a stupid fucking thing to do).