[Masthead] Overcast ~ 40°F  
High: 54°F ~ Low: 43°F
Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

From the Midway: The burning issue of smoking

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

OK, if you're a non-smoker stop reading this column. It's for Smokers only. Go outside and wait a few minuets, then you can come back to read the rest of this paper.

Smokers unite! It's time to take back the living rooms and restaurants across America. We smokers have given up too much. This year, the state of Iowa has raised the tax on smoking by $1 a pack.

This is on top of 36 cents state tax, 30 cents federal tax and what amounts to a hidden tax from the tobacco lawsuit settlement. We were nice about this at first but we're being pushed too far. It's not right for a portion of the population to pay taxes that benefit everyone.

If you're a smoker, chances are that if you're at work, you'll have to go outside to smoke. OK, that all right. We've made that concession a long time ago, but that's not good enough any longer. Some places make you leave the property all together.

Yes, I accept that smoking is bad for you and I even try to be polite about my smoking. I don't light up when a baby is around or if I'm riding in a car with a non-smoker. I'll even go outside so no one complains.

While outside, strangers will come up to me and say "You know, those things will kill ya." Strangely I've heard that before. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm hooked and that there's nothing I can do about it. There is a lot of options I have to quit. I just don't want to quit. I like to smoke. It feels good to me.

I'm tired of the smug looks that we get. The constant bombardment of so-called Public Service Anouncements that show a bunch of militant/kool-aid drinking punks throwing body bags in a street. In the PSA they never tell you that the commercials are paid for by, you guessed it, smokers.

The behavior of the actors portrayed by littering pamphlets and the civil disobedience of assembling without a permit is an embarrassment to a civilized society. If you just want to eliminate lies, please put the names of all the victims who have died when you throw out a statistic. Because anyone can make up a statistic, one out of two people know that.

People sure like to forget that our country was founded on tobacco. If it wasn't for tobacco, we might be talking about what the dangers of tea are. Tobacco is a legal product. There is no other product that is as taxed as tobacco. There are a lot of products out there that are just as bad: soft drinks, coffee or most any food for that matter.

Why isn't there an excessive tax on those products? Let's just be fair, but that's the point. It's not fair, that is why smoking is the prefect scapegoat for American prejudice. In this politically correct nation of ours, it's not hip to be prejudiced against any group of people except smokers. It's the last of the bandwagon of hate that is not just tolerated but socially acceptable.

Thursday is the great American Smoke Out. The anti-smoker wants you to stop for a day. What the non-smoker doesn't understand is how persistent a smoker is. We will do what it takes to have a cigarette. I won't go into the ugly details but every smoker out there knows what they've done to feed the beast.

By now every anti-smoking activist should be seeing red. That's because most of the non-smokers feel that it is up to them to save the lives of smokers. What if I don't want them to save my life? Who really knows how long any of us have really got anyway?

Mike Leckband
From the Midway