Dear President Obama,
(And all you parents worried about your children smoking)
Here's a great idea, while we're morally policing the populace: if we're going to go after tobacco companies for their harmful advertising that obviously induces some sort of mind control in our young people, let's put Abercrombie & Fitch, Mattel, Nerf, and Nintendo up there, too. I don't know if you've seen any of their packaging, or the general douchebaggery of any teen who devotes themselves wholly to any one of these companies' products, but I think it's going pretty far to corrupt the youth of America.
I know a lot more people that don't smoke than do. Most of the ones that don't are young, and, this feels worse to me, naive, self-proclaimed free-thinkers who wouldn't so much as poison their bodies with MEAT, much less smoke.
Even through all that, though, I can get behind some of this bill. Those "400,000" Americans that die in "tobacco-related illnesses", though? Get thee behind me, Satan. Most of us who smoke are way past your scare tactics now. To say that someone who smoked a pack a day for 30 years and died of lung cancer probably hurt himself significantly by smoking is pretty sound logic. It is not scientific. If you know how the process works, and I'm sure you do, most of those government health statistics come from insurance companies who report information to various health boards. Wanna know why insurance companies ask if you're a smoker. Yes, that's right-- if you are or ever were, and you die of a terminal illness, they can categorize this as dying from a tobacco-related illness.
And you bet your ass they will, because people love fear.
Now, I'm not endorsing kid's commercials and baby onesies with Joe the Camel. To me, most of that stuff is a historical footnote for amusement value, like the Flintstones Winston commercials. No cartoon character ever convinced me to smoke, and my most beloved comic book characters are not smokers. If anything, my crazy fucking parents drove me to smoking. I imagine a good portion of the underage smokers in America will probably tell you a great story that boils down to doing something everybody would freak out over them doing. For a teenager, this means everything is fair game. It might actually come back to, maybe, I dunno, policing your own damn kids and not me, too?
Anyway. I wanted to let you know I get where you're coming from, and I think, at the heart, what's trying to be done here could be well intentioned. But...
WTF with my flavored tobacco, you Dumbo-earred Joker-grinning MOFO? (I mean that in the politest way, Mr. President.)
FLAVORED TOBACCO? C'mon. Some of us adults, believe it or not, actually like a cognac-vanilla flavored cigar once in a while. I can even get into the banana or grape once in a while. This is another blatant attempt by the government to protect the people from themselves, and quite frankly, we don't need it.
There's this crazy idea that some of us enjoy smoking. There are a few smoking bars in this city, lovely little cafes, really, and there are always people inside, smoking, socializing, eating and drinking. I love Djarum Blacks in the winter time, but only the winter.
Even beyond that, I can think of a few vices we all have ourselves, or have watched for entertainment, that can also be quite dangerous, or fatal, especially if continued for a lifetime. You'd be astonished at the rates on... BDSM, NASCAR racing, bungee jumping, sky diving, sex with strangers, asphyxiation for sexual pleasure, professional wrestling (have you heard what most of those guys' medical charts look like after a while? Eesh), the UFC, alcohol (you know that's a toxin, right? Kay.), football, baseball, uh... yeah, let's just say being a professional athlete of a team sport can ruin your knees/back/neck over a long period... And we all know the memory retention and speech capabilities of those who spend many years in boxing. It can be a hard fact of the business.
We know these things are dangerous, but we've weighed the risk and said for ourselves that our enjoyment of it is worth any drawbacks or risks it may carry with it.
I don't even want to hear the addiction card, either. The word you want is chemical dependency, if anything. Modern neurological science has proven love to be an addiction, yes, an actual chemical process that happens in your brain. When you're in love... or addicted to something.. your brain behaves much the same way it would if you were mentally unstable. (I recommend 'The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment' by Dr. Carlton Erickson, 'Addiction and the Brain: the neurobiology of compulsion and its persistence' put out by Nature Reviews Neuroscience in 2001 and published by Elsevier Science. Or just go to Discoverychannel.com and do a search.)
So if we're going to sling the addiction word around, let's at least all be clear on what we mean; socially acceptable addictions, and non-socially acceptable addictions.
I love capitalism, Mr. President, and in that venue, I love that you have done this. Do you want to know why?
You haven't stopped us, you've actually kind of helped me. I've always complained for some time that they don't make enough different flavors of pre-rolled cigarettes that are widely available-- or some just taste like perfume. There are many companies that make flavoring with "multi-purpose use", though, but there's a reason they're sold in head shops along with the "water tobacco pipes." See, with capitalism, with enough demand, someone will make 'it' eventually. I won't walk into my local head shop anymore and be disappointed by the selections of tobacco flavors, and thus, buy the pre-rolled, expensive pack of flavored cigarettes and leave.
Nope, you have now opened the door of opportunity to make what I want-- and what so many people so loudly love to hate-- more available to me. Soon, there will be shelves with all sorts of flavors. I'll buy a few, and the papers, filters, and tobacco, flavor it myself, and then I can make one banana cigarette, or a whole pack. It's entirely up to me. It will be cheaper than a flavored pack. The DIY-resources will last longer, and go farther, and I won't have to worry about not being able to share with my friends who are smokers because "crap, I've only one left, sorry!"
You're going to be renaming my menthol light 100s, but really, I couldn't give two craps about that, because it's only lip service. They won't stop making "lights" or "100s", they'll just call them something else.
Your kids will still smoke, too, but keep on keepin' on with tossing away all of our hard-earned, tax dollars, to stop kids from smoking, to keep Mexicans out, to keep marijuana illegal, and the other inane, pointless things we combat in this country. I'm laughing right now at every single one of your voters that helped lobbyists put this in place.
In closing... thank you for making it easier for me to smoke in the long run, though inconvenient in the meantime while I wait for the market to catch up.
Laughing at you,
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