Monday, May 23

If You're Finished, Choke It / 'Cause I Wanna Smoke It

"Lord, I'm a fool for a cigarette ..." An old Ry Cooder recording.

The latest from the fabulous Gotham Gazette: Nonsmoking New York?

In the past few years, New York has become a far less friendly place for smokers. Cigarettes cost about $3 more in New York City than the national average, thanks to heavy state and local taxes, and there are far fewer places to light up thanks to state and local bans on smoking in workplaces. The city and state have also been focusing increasingly on programs to help smokers quit. As a result, say city and state officials, fewer New Yorkers smoke, and New York has served as a model for other places wanting to take similar antismoking actions. Antismoking advocates see this as part of a sweeping nationwide, and even international, trend that goes beyond government initiatives.

Smoking sucks, and I say this as a smoker. It should be stubbed out. But when New York outlawed Internet cigarettes by mail (I was getting mine from the Mohawk sovereign tribe for $10 a carton: Cigs are $6.50-$7.00 a PACK now in NYC), did it make me want to quit? Hell, no! Cigarettes are MORE ADDICTIVE THAN HEROIN! When I saw the GG's illustration above, you know what I did? I automatically lit up a cigarette. I see someone smoking in a movie on TV: I light up. Just writing about it right now makes me want to ... light up.

I hear now you can by them by Internet and mail from abroad. Rothman's, $20 a carton. That's $2.00 a pack. In Brazil, a pack of Marlboro is like $0.50! And the tobacco companies LOVE the way the Chinese love to chain-smoke. 1.2 billion chain-smokers! No wonder they can give up a half-trillion and keep on trucking. It's a massive health-risk transfer from here to there. The new Opium Wars, if you will.

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