Since our first issue of January 2000, RYO Magazine has presented information on the very best in RYO/MYO products employing an honest, positive approach. Weve resisted doing negative reviews as we feel that those who have the courage to create new products, sometimes need a little time to refine them. We give each of them that chance.
The magazine has also followed the various regulatory changes and consistently commented on what we feel is a truly dangerous trend in American society, as well as in many societies worldwide. That trend is one of increasing governmental control over many of the facets of life once considered private behavior. With litigation and governmental intrusion at these already dangerous levels, it is our belief that only an aggressively motivated electorate can reverse the tide of these trends. Our lawmakers have allowed the increasing power of non-profit, pseudo scientific research, and financially motivated, public health organizations to flourish. These organizations once had perhaps a valid mission in our society, but any positives they may have initially contributed have turned to clear attempts to remake our civilization in their own narrow image. It is no longer just about tobacco. The time is fast approaching when every aspect of personal choice and behavior will be confronted by these puritanical tyrants. The critical concept of personal responsibility is being eroded by our civil justice system to a degree that will eventually lead to outright anarchy or, even worse, outright subservience.
We urge you to read the magazine and educate yourself aggressively in the methodology of reforming both our political system and the legal system that feeds the pure avarice that drives most of these institutions. As verifiable scientific truth and honesty in reporting are the enemies of these organizations, so too is an active and focused public, one endowed with the energetic, independent, and free intellect that graced the founders of our nation. On every subject one can think of, these new dictators WILL control your lives to a degree never thought possible in a democracy.
Organizations like NATO have a chance at intervening to some degree, but the real responsibility lies with every American to stand up, with unrivaled determination, for the rights of others. The loss of freedom for one group means the eventual loss of freedom for all. Taxation, litigation, and deception are the munitions of this new, all intrusive invader, and our best defense is common sense and our insistence in demanding accuracy and full disclosure of all aspects of the so called FACTS that influence regulatory and political actions. We wish, for each of us, the freedom to choose our own unique life path. This does not come cheap! Its time to decide whos to pay the price. We urge extreme activism against all present and future attacks on intellectual and personal freedoms. ~ Doug Kennedy, Editor RYO MagazineThe world of RYO, specifically Roll Your Own has remained surprisingly consistent for many generations. Yes, there are new papers and new rolling tobaccos as well as products, once available here, that are no longer imported into the US. Still, because of the rather static nature and demographic of those who are willing to hand roll their own smokes, the other world, the world of MYO or Make Your Own, is a much more dynamic proposition. It is this sector that has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade. So in this brochure well focus primarily on MYO. However, all tobaccos used in MYO are indeed rolling tobaccos so, in that context, the importance of the RYO connection to MYO cannot be overstated. These fine 100% pure tobaccos are an integral part of the foundation of MYO. Many packaged smokers have never tasted real leaf tobacco. Chemically enhanced reconstituted tobacco by-products from which commercial cigarettes are made are NOT tobacco.
In addition, the philosophy behind the acronym RYO is one of personal choice. As compelling as any other do-it-yourself activity, there is great reward in deciding which tobacco you want to smoke and in that larger sense, RYO defines what most Americans feel about their right and obligation to freely choose what they consume as well as what they do with their lives. The term RYO is used as a preface in as diverse endeavors as people who hand load their own ammunition, or make their own candles, build their own furniture, or make their own clothing or beer. All of these activities at times now use the acronym RYO, and its use grows daily.
That said, any discussion of the future of MYO must begin with a few premises/perceptions that are in serious need of correcting. First and foremost . .
While it is true that many people do come to MYO from packaged brands because of cost, this has little to do with why they stay there. Moreover, the cost issue will not remain a primary factor in the future. Anyone who has tried the glorious tobaccos available and the highly efficient crankstyle machines to inject these great tobaccos into high quality filtered cigarette tubes, soon realizes they will never return to packaged smokes, no matter the price differential. In the future, this industry must abstain from cost related promotion. First as its popularity grows, MYO may not always be less expensive than cheap manufactured brands and secondly, the very premise of the methodology is the more intelligent and respectful use of tobacco.
As a packaged smoker migrates to MYO, the first thing that becomes clear is the exceptional difference in quality of the smoking experience, soon followed by the realization that this activity need not be a subservient one of mass consumption. It is about flavor, leaf quality, and elegance far more than simply a cheaper way to smoke more cigarettes. This single premise is one that can have far reaching effects on the politics of tobacco, while providing those who choose to smoke an approach that can lead to freely chosen enjoyment rather than a highly touted addiction. For tobacco users, this is truly a win-win situation, regardless of price.
Packaged Cigarettes - versus - MYO
For quite some time, those who really understand the MYO concept reject its association with Big Cigarette companies. For too long, the terms "Cigarette Companies" and "Tobacco Companies" have been used interchangeably by the media, the government, and by anti-smoking factions to demonize tobacco itself. When figures are given for the harm "tobacco" causes, they are really related to the damage manufactured Cigarettes reportedly cause. Though this junk-science data is likely wildly inflated for purposes of huge monetary gain, there still is no doubt that a significant difference exists in the contents of a manufactured cigarette and a pure 100% real tobacco MYO stick. It is a difference as great as that which exists between natural home cooked cuisine and highly processed foods. And it is essential that these differences are highlighted in every way possible to those who choose to smoke.
No scientifically rigorous health data has been gathered regarding MYO users. That will come and we envision a future where clear differences can be demonstrated between the effects on humans of "real" tobacco use when compared with premade cigarette consumption. Therefore the time has not yet arrived when claims of a healthier smoking experience are responsible or wise. Nonetheless, we have countless thousands of readers who have experienced a dramatic change in their smoking behavior, most especially lowered consumption, and in their assessment of any negative impact smoking is having on their lives. I guess the simplest way to put it is that even with all the extra chemicals found in packaged cigarettes (many of which are directly related to the use of reconstituted tobacco), no one single element has ever been identified as THE specific culprit in those smokers who have health problems related to cigarette smoking. As you will read in other parts of this magazine, when we discuss medical issues, it is a fact that a large portion of people who are diagnosed with lung cancer for instance, are smokers. However turning to the other side of the coin of these statistics, only about one in eight people who smoke get sick. There are many ways to look at statistics and the tragedy of so called scientific research on smoking and health is that it involves mostly suspect accounting procedures rather than any strenuous truly scientific medical research. The reasons for this is simple. The bad news generates billions of dollars, any honest, balanced, or truly revealing answers would leave the non-profit and government agencies without the funding they are so addicted to. More on that later here and on the cover of this issue.
The Changes Coming
A lot more detail on all of the innovations already being introduced into this industry will be put here (on this page) after the 2006 NATO show. For those details, we suggest you return to and read this section of RYO Magazine, after April 10th, 2006. We CAN say with great confidence that in no time in history have so many outstanding tobaccos existed such as those produced by Peter Stokkebye, D&R Tobacco, and many others. Again we are talking about "real" 100% tobacco not cigarettes with "recon". In the same way, serious injectors like the Supermatic and Excel, are now joined by Republics Top-O-Matic to provide the consumer with an ease of making their own smokes never possible before. New, even more dynamic, efficient, and less industrial looking injectors are already at the final design stage and will be available as soon as late this year. However no matter how easy the injection process continues to be, just because you can make 'em fast does not mean you should ever smoke 'em fast, or in great quantities. As we've stated throughout this publication, those who would come to MYO in order to "afford" to be able to smoke four packs a day, are fools. Consumption is directly related to risk and a great many of those who have celebrity status who suffer from lung cancer that we hear about so often as "poster children" for anti-smoking, were HEAVY smokers. Four or Five packs per day of manufactured cigarettes. So even with improved injectors, sip your fine tobaccos - don't gulp them. For Christ's sake, use your head.
Perhaps the single most innovative changes will come in tube design. The VeraCruz® Nocturne started the ball rolling with its luxurious design and natural brown cigarette paper elegance. A new manufacturer has emerged, StVincentUSA, headed by Mike Ang here in the US, which is dedicated to exceptional custom private label, designer quality tubes, that push the envelope in both materials and design innovation. These innovations include longer 20mm filter elements, higher density filters, and custom appointments that take them beyond the realm of the often too generic look of many MYO tubes. D&R Tobacco and HBI have already pulled the trigger on these upgraded offerings in their product lines and many more are waiting to do so. StVincent is also gearing up for longer, slimmer 100+mms, more colors, and even flavored tubes. Republic Tobacco has created an impressive new plant in Canada, the TOP Tube Company, with the venerable Stephane David (of CTC fame) returning to this industry as its president. The future is bright indeed with all the components falling in place to significantly increase and enhance the footprint and image of MYO for a world still dominated by packaged brands. Very good news indeed - for all. However you must do your part as both outlined at the beginning of this article, and by following sensible usage behavior, just like one must do with certain foods. I love hamburgers. A great burger is perhaps my single most favorite entree. But a good burger to me is one that has a lot of lettuce and tomato on it, onions and other things that are basically the components of a good salad. And I don't eat burgers for ever meal or even one every day. As the Moody Blues once wrote, its a "Question of Balance."
More Things To Come
There is so much change going on politically regarding tobacco that one must read newspapers and use other sources of information daily to keep up. Our cover page is already to some degree outdated politically but the sense of the direction things are going is still very clear. Internet sales of tobacco continue to be attacked. The primary reason for this is the states getting their money which they are entitled to because you voted for those that pass the tax laws. You can discount the issue of underaged people getting rolling tobacco - it is pure fantasy. MYO has no attraction to young people. Their very act of rebellion for smoking illegally necessitates their having a brand named cigarette pack to flaunt. To them its a badge of honor, or as noted, a symbol of rebellion. That is why the current effort to "scare" kids from smoking appears to be backfiring. Tell a young person that something is dangerous and many of them will be enticed to try it. We've seen it with such stupidly outrageous behavior such as inhaling bug spray and paint fumes. The growth of the X-Games and other extremely high risk behavior/sports should make it clear that young people fear almost nothing - except perhaps being viewed by the peers as being "chicken." Fortunately the generality does not apply to all youth. There are a lot of smart ones out there who have a bit longer view of their existence. Nonetheless scare tactics don't work. Good science will, but it has to be of the order of respect that fosters serious attention, not shrill threats.
The fact is the problem with Internet sales of tobacco (again not cigarettes which are stamped and easily identified as contraband) truly lies in the fact the states have trouble collecting their revenue. This is not the fault of the Internet seller in most cases. It is the fault of the states whose bureaucracy is so inefficient that a simple plan to collect tobacco revenue from Internet sellers is still unworkable. For the same reason that the Internet sales tax is still, for all intents and purposes, languishing in the "moratorium" status, the states and the federal government are simply not good at simple logical strategies or solutions. While certain credit card companies and shipping companies have put restrictions on participating in tobacco sales and distribution, the US mail is still available. All the states would have to do is create a reporting scenario that retailers could easily abide by and participate in. The states have a constitutional right to levy taxes as does the federal government. However the framers of the constitution seemed to emphasize that such taxes be fair and equitable, which should imply a certain uniformity and certainly easy compliance.
The Internet sales tax is stalled until such a uniform tax can be agreed upon. Similarly a uniform tax on tobacco products (other than cigarettes) should be quite easy to implement. This would avoid all the accounting nightmares encountered by both legal/licensed distributors that vary wildly from state to state, and those who wish to participate but simply cannot cope with the plethora of variations on what should be a simple theme. If tobacco is to remain legal for sale on the internet (or by mail order) directly to consumers, retailers basically would need a system of reporting and collecting a uniform tax based on their customer's location. And then periodically (quarterly - certainly not monthly) pay each state the revenue due using simple forms and a transparent communication pipeline with each state. It is not hard to envision this, and even with states having insanely different tax structures, online retailers could have a separate shopping cart checkout page for each state. The customer starts by logging in with their zip code. Basically opening an account like this would make it quite easy to verify age as well.
Now some online retailers will say that this won't work as it will raise their prices so that they cannot compete with local brick and mortar stores. While this may be true in a few cases, the overall picture is much more revealing. That is that most people buy online because of variety not price. Too few local tobacco stores, and especially those entities who are self described as Tobacco Outlets (a glorified name for a discount packaged cigarette store that may have a few RYO/MYO items), carry a decent variety of RYO/MYO products. Online stores usually have huge selections of brands. This scenario will have the effect of making the online retailer legal, getting the states their revenues (until a wiser voting population realizes that the dangers in discriminatory taxation schemes for one product will eventually spill over to all product sectors), and at the same time encourage local shops to carry a broader selection of products in this category. Another win-win solution for everyone, especially the consumer which is what free trade should be about. Again the states have the right to do a lot of things but in reality, the whim of the people is who they serve. And when your favorite coffee place or favorite liquor store, your favorite automobile, or your favorite burger joint begins to see the taxation nanny that results from the social engineering goals of the prohibitionists among us, all Hell is going to break loose.
We mention on the Cover page a situation in North Dakota where the legislature tried to make tobacco illegal to possess and found itself confronted aggressively by the entire anti-tobacco establishment. Read it. It is not surprising to me at all. More recently Utah has undertaken to make tobacco a illegal substance. There is little if any chance of it working even in that "as-weird-as-South Park" state. Government, public health departments, pharmaceutical companies, and anti-tobacco non-profits are far more hooked on tobacco than even the most dastardly of cigarette abusers. Our country is currently experiencing an onslaught of government excesses. Even during the Prohibitionist movement of the early 1900s which led to Prohibition (the 18th Amendment 1919) any real fiscal profit motive of the prohibitionist was absent. This was a moral thing and though as unctuous to a democracy as any attempts to constrain the personal and private behavior of the individual are, greed had little to do with it. The subsequent criminal behavior caused by Prohibition (Al Capone and Organized Crime as big business in general) was definitely about money. Thirteen years later (1933) the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment, leaving it to the discretion of each state how to handle alcohol delivery and consumption. Now many people think that Prohibition's end meant liquor was no longer prohibited. However the fact is, Section II of the 21st Amendment makes it clear repeal only returned power over alcohol to an individual state level decision. While no states stuck with complete prohibition, some did become "dry" states of varying degrees where alcohol is limited to state owned stores or other such nuances. Buying hard liquor (other than beer or wine) in some of these states at least is not possible in general merchandise stores. The point of all of this history is that our constitution is not as enabling a document as some may assume. It give a LOT of power to the states and basically is as concerned about infringements on each state's authority as it is about individual freedom. As far as I am concerned, the Declaration of Independence is a far more powerful statement of the right (no obligation) of redress by individuals against either the state or the federal government. They serve at our pleasure and we best not forget that.
So today we have laws like the recent Eminent Domain law upheld by the Supreme Court on behalf of local jurisdiction's rights. In other words the Supreme Court allowed these local governments to decide the particulars of eminent domain, which of course they took to the extreme. The decision basically gave a victory for cities, when a divided Supreme Court concluded that local governments have the authority to seize private land and turn the property over to private developers for economic development. ... officials can use their "eminent domain" power to condemn homes and declare Eminent Domain for not just the public welfare petitioned by government agencies but allowed property to by taken (with compensation which is a very wiggly exercise in creative accounting) even for the benefit of private companies. In response, in the good old American tradition, a group filed an eminent domain litigation against Justice David Souter's farm. In fact this group has been getting traction. The Supreme court decision is really unpopular with a lot of elected representatives who fear their re-election success. Many states have already passed laws countering the Supreme Court ruling's effect. Basically in the decision, KELO v New London CT, said that New London, Conn., could seize homeowners' property to develop a hotel, convention center, office space and condominiums next to Pfizer Inc.'s new research headquarters. Pfizer hmmm. Big Pharma strikes again. Now the city argued that tax revenues and new jobs from the development would benefit the public. The Pfizer complex was built, but seven homeowners challenged the rest of the development in court. The Supreme Court's ruling against them prompted many states, including New Hampshire, to examine their eminent domain laws. This battle is just beginning with some elected officials who have vested interests in these confiscations pushing the limit of the Court ruling. Again many of the states are backing down with legislation to counteract the ruling. One quote from a local New Hampshire Rep is particularly amusing. He states in defense of the Souter property "reclamation" that "this as an act of revenge and an improper attack on the judicial system," "You don't go after a judge personally because you disagree with his judgments." Frankly, I personally think that is exactly what a citizen's obligations is to do. If a watch dog don't watch, get one that will. Unfortunately, many judges are there for a long time but recalls and impeachments are always possible at all levels. The people must obey the law until they can change it using the accepted process and the voting booth. Anything else is anarchy, however constituents are rarely the cause of anarchy, and in history one man's anarchist, is another man's freedom fighter. There are simple ways to fix many problems and simplification should be the goal in all endeavors.
If you think I'm being an alarmist, here's another recent one: from AP - "When President Bush renewed the revised USA Patriot Act on March 9, Congress added oversight measures intended to keep the federal government from abusing the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize documents. The additional provisions require law enforcement officials to safeguard all Americans' civil liberties and mandate that the Justice Department keep closer track of how often and in what situations the FBI could use the new powers, and that the administration regularly provide the information to Congress. However, it was not known at the time that the White House added an addendum stating that the president didn't need to adhere to requirements that he inform members of Congress about how the FBI was using the Patriot Act's expanded police powers. After the bill-signing ceremony, the White House discretely issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law. In the statement, Bush said he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act's powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties." In doing so, it appears the president once again cited his constitutional authority to bypass the law under certain circumstances. "
This kind of behavior is becoming all too commonplace at every level of government. Once a freedom is lost it is almost never regained. Even with terrorism a primary factor in some of this, I trust neither political party to give a damn about my rights or yours. They will get away with whatever we let them. The same situation exists with anti-tobacco legislation. It is simply one of many precursors to rule by tyrant. Here's a line from the Declaration of Independence. In its 18th century verbiage it has to do with King George (no not Bush) but I think you will get the analogy. Hancock speaks to us from long ago, a past that is increasingly less dim.
For the future, just remember that we do have control over our immediate world. The loss of freedom of one group or even one innocent individual is the loss of freedom for all, even if it is just a little piece at a time. We encourage the states to simplify their taxation strategies such that compliance will be accomplished and we further encourage even the most strident anti-smoker to realize that while I firmly believe that they have no obligation to breathe cigarette smoke silently, and smokers have no right to expose them to it, there are principals that can be set forth to allow each to have their own space. In the longer view of things, both groups will be better served by exercising both respect and tolerance for others and creating solutions that are fair to both.
One last thing I want to mention before we're off to NATO is that those who are looking for alternatives to tobacco are in for a treat. We've looked before at herbal blends and for the most part found them lacking. A new company (to us) approached us recently on an entirely different issue and after solving the details of their initial inquiry, we found they produced herbal blends. They sent me some. This is some special stuff. The packaging is really beautiful and the herbs inside are far more satisfying than any of the herbals we've tried before. You'll hear a lot more about his company in the future and when we get back we'll show you some close-ups. Their banner is below so click on it and enjoy the adventure.
We leave the last two issues Editorials in place below for the time being until we return. Please look at the mortality tables again. They tell an important story. It has a chilly kind of relevance for today.
The coming national election of 2004 is being touted by some as the most important decision we will have to make in our lifetime. Rubbish. No matter who wins, little of true importance will change. Large multinational corporations will continue to be the true base of power. Most people will remain at the mercy of their employers who too often have no interest in them other than as a commodity, to be courted or dumped depending on momentary financial turns. Young men and women will continue to die in wars that old men and women continue to justify and propagate. You know, it is a long repeated diatribe that "if those who encouraged and caused wars were the very ones who had to fight them, war would have been obsolete for a very long time." Well the world has changed somewhat but not all that much. Religious and political fundamentalism has been the foundation of many a bloody undertaking. True we are now fighting individuals, not states, so we have a much harder to hit target, but the operating fact is that fundamentalists of any stripe by nature, are not happy folks. Their desires for narrow, unidirectional thinking and edifices constructed to that end, will never be satisfied because humans disagree and humans as a successful species, thrive on diversity.
The fact is, fundamentalist doctrine is as alive and destructively well in the U.S as it is an any other part of the world. It takes many forms but at its core is the same inability to let others live and believe as they will. Both Bush and Kerry are of the same brotherhood. They are politicians. As far as I can extrapolate from history, any one who WANTS to be President of the United States should be let nowhere near the White House. That applies to the thousands of lesser entities who inhabit State Houses, Legislatures, and any other organizational body that wants to control the way others enjoy the life experience. It is a further fact that, while most people strongly desire control over their own destiny, most of us want no, or marginal at best, control over our neighbors. And that one fact is likely the greatest qualification for office I can think of. We should draft our representative - kicking and screaming all the way. They would know that soon, after a single brief term, they would have to return to face us, their constituents, and they will be held accountable directly by those that sent them to job they never wanted. Having true control over our own lives implies insulation from the annoying behavior of others. In other words, rules set by the few will never provide the safety, comfort, or well being that most long for. Franklin said "Love thy neighbor but build a good fence." And that is the quandry that drives the human race to conflict.
There never will be a perfect society. No matter who you vote for, most will see little difference in day to day living that you can accurately attribute to your ultimate choice. Certainly, like the young mentioned above, some may be more strongly affected than others, but in general, the rest of us will continue to struggle, succeed and fail, just as all of those who came before. The only true measure of success is that we look forward to getting out of bed each day, that we go the extra mile to make our work and our enjoyment a challenge of ultimate quality. And if any personal behavior that has no impact on others can make that possible, it seems logical that we cherish the right to engage in that behavior above all others. Happiness should not be the goal nor should be satisfaction as these are fleetingly definitive and subjective terms. Excitement for the challenge of living is a concept with far more palpable rewards and the stuff that true freedom thrives on. People who are excited by being alive don't blow themselves and others up. Sure they'll fight for a cause they believe in and will defend themselves and those they care about, be it family, friend, or country, with great alacrity, but few are truly motivated to sacrifice for causes that affect them not, especially when they see those that have sent them into conflict risking nothing. So vote for who you will. More importantly, armed with judiciously acquired personal knowledge, hold those you elect accountable for their subsequent actions. I'm sure those on both sides of the current national political contest, in fact, see flaws in the character of both candidates. You wouldn't know it from watching the conventions, where so much partisan back slapping occurs that one would think these two men are, to each of their constituents, unrivaled examples of higher beings. Rubbish - again. They are politicians. It is irrelevant who they are when compared with what they do. And that pertains to all levels of those you elect to represent your best wishes. Let them know when they over-reach and step on your toes. Let them know, even when they step on the toes of those you disagree with. Let them know that they have specific duties to satisfy you, the voter - to protect your borders, your civilization, even your homes. They are not there to make decisions in those matters that you can handle personally and privately. You have hired them to do things you cannot by yourself accomplish. In all other matters, they (any of them) have no business in your affairs. Happiness, cooperation, getting along with all others - yes, perhaps these concepts are simply not part of the human animal - it does not seem be in our nature. However making one's own life as full and exciting as is possible is contagious and is the kind of pandemic the world desperately needs.
My personal perspective: I strongly resent the way tobacco, a substance that has given pleasure to many hundreds of millions of humans throughout history, is being treated. That's one of the main reasons I toil over this magazine. I resent those that over-indulge in this amazing pleasure and cause themselves ill health and cause the rest of us, who can enjoy it in moderation, to face the threat of its extinction. I resent the cigarette companies who for a time promoted just this kind of mass consumption and in some cases still do. I resent the efforts of those that do not enjoy tobacco, to prevent me from my enjoyment. I like high performance automobiles. I've almost always had at least one. I've never had a speeding ticket. I resent those that drive with no regard for the safety of others and those who are unaware of their limitations in controlling their vehicles at any speed. I resent Volvo's. Not the car but the mentality behind it. To me the best strategy for auto safety is not in surviving crashes but avoiding them altogether, with skill and vehicle handling capabilities to match and by paying attention when driving. I resent kids who drive up and down my street at high speeds. There are plenty of opportunities to briefly enjoy vehicle performance, when highways are deserted, often late at night. There are tracks you can rent if you want to really put the pedal to the metal - if you want to see the scenery really blur. Acting with a mandate of personal responsibility, whether it is picking up your trash or confining your smoke to your self alone, is paramount to a society that will need fewer regulatory intrusions on personal behavior. It is our fault as humans that we have such regulation. We've ostensibly shown the powers that be that we can't do without it and reinforced that belief by failing to put a halt to regulation of things which concern no one but ourselves.. So how do we put it all together and make the puzzle of human cooperation a working proposition. My opinion is simply take full responsibility for your actions, viscerally and with dedication.Respect the rights and safety of others, and, only call the police after there is a body. Relax - its a metaphor - of sorts.
There is more to add in the way of prefacing the following section. Quotations from well thought out prose, especially from long past eras, often give insight to the human condition and, more to the point, humanity's ability to assimilate and dissect the meanings behind day to day occurrences, especially when they involve the control over one group by yet another. The human condition perhaps was never meant to be "happy". It is well accepted by creative people that "satisfaction" is a death sentence to the very inspiration that results in great works of art and great social improvements. Will we ever really get along? Probably not. However it is important to understand that the very evolution of our species was successful because of rocky roads and rough seas not smooth, fertile, unchallenging vistas. Take the stairs or the long way around next time and mull over the following:
"Water does nothing - but penetrates everything. There is a music which underlies all things. We dance to the tunes all our lives, though our living ears never hear the music which guides and moves us. Happiness can kill people as softly as shadows seen in dreams. We must be people (sic humans) first and happy later, lest we live and die in vain." - Cordwainer Smith
"It is a law of nature we overlook, that intellectual versatility is the compensation for change, danger, and trouble. An animal perfectly in harmony with its environment is a perfect mechanism. Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change. Only those animals partake of intelligence that have to meet a huge variety of needs and dangers." -H.G. Wells
And finally a personal favorite that lends itself well to the kind of epidemiological extrapolations used by supposed health groups that can find no real world human data to support their claims regarding tobacco and health. "It is alarming that the increase in ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in the US precisely matches the increase of youth participation in the third world sport referred to as Soccer" - The Euripides Center for Understanding Everything
The fact that no matter how intricate and well planned our attempts at sane self regulation are, of everything from questionable business practices to overt criminal behavior, we still seem to be having little luck in devising strategies that work for more than a short specific time, or individual situation. Why is there no "Unified Field Theory" as posed (though not yet proven) by Einstein, but applied to the far less complex social sciences (science of society) as a whole? Why are so many humans content to let others control them, seldom to the benefit of anyone but the controllers (even though the controllees vastly outnumber the controllers)? Why can't we keep our relatively small planetary house clean and orderly, AND progressive? Is it possible that we are all still basically savages whose sole motivations are greed and domination over others. Are we too angry of a species, or have we gotten mad enough? An interesting point of view lies in the following passage regarding the human species.
"Filtered through the slushy fishbowls of their eyes, muffled by the imperfect receptors of their nerves, clouded by the static of their prejudices, the human dimly sees the universe. With meat-ego arrogance, they believe that what they notice through their clogged senses is the only reality. Humans represent a species which now engulfs the Earth in its numbers, from hot jungles to frozen wastelands. The ants have overrun the picnic and, having feasted on the leavings, now eat the table itself. Belching happily on their crumbling plateau, they toast one another for wisdom, restraint, and nobility."
The preceding pejorative is an excerpt from the novel by DA Smith, "Rendezvous", and is related to the reader from the point of view of a near perfect being, endowed with the "advantage" of machine intelligence. Though a work of fiction, this novel deals with the conflict that all of us face when it comes to solutions that address long term challenges. In the machine world, solutions tend to be fixed points which can become the basis for linear improvement of the overall design with little or no chance of regression. As each part is improved, however, the connected parts in line subsequently face the threat of over work. In other words, when within a machine, you strengthen one part, the other parts may not stand up well to the added stress imposed on them by the increased efficiency of the new part. In human terms and looking at civilization as the ultimate human mechanism, new parts are much harder to come by, and even when they are ultimately available, these innovations are lobbied against most stringently by the powers that be - those that most fear change. Our civilization would not exist as such, nor would we as a species ever have left the caves, were it not for machines and continual improvements to them. And improvements mean change. It would seem we have learned little from the elegant designs we humans imparted to the non-sentient tools we've created to ease our path and increase our power. While we have no problem installing a new and perhaps improved part to one of our machines, we have not learned yet how to incorporate truly new ideas quickly and efficiently into the mechanisms of society, even though these ideas are often obvious (to some) solutions that could actually cure existing problems rather than simply prolonging the negative deteriorations our "system" seems to suffer symptomatically.
The tables below are a study in the uniquely human ability for the rationalization of statistical analysis, which we as a "civilized" species too often use to make far reaching decisions. Those that published this table were attempting to show the current level of regulation (taxes) and the statistical use of cigarettes broken down by state, and then figured into a some kind of national average cause and effect relationship. Their agenda was obviously aimed at showing that the more taxes one imposes on tobacco, the less its use. Even a quick glance comparing the ranking of states as to how high their taxes are compared to their ranking, as to percentages of smokers, often shows quite the opposite. Further, the tables cover statistics from 2001 and 2002 so you can compare where states have raised taxes during that period and look at the resulting use, especially among young/underage smokers, who are routinely advertised as the true benefactors of higher revenue schemes. Rather than go into each state, one at a time, I leave it to you to do the comparisons. I'm not a cruel person, but spoon feeding people opinion and pseudo facts is one of the problems this piece deals with. It is what the controllers attempt to do. We desire the control of no human.
Obviously, one of the purposes of this publication is to encourage each of you to become more proactive in the battle against sanctions on increasingly moderate tobacco use. Though nearly the entire case against tobacco, and the subsequent legal issues, regulation, and revenue confiscation, has focused on the big cigarette companies, even moderate, hobbyist enthusiasts of tobacco are affected. Moreover, organizations involved in these battles against individual rights and responsibility have had their way, impeded only by the logic and good sense of SOME legislators and judges who recognize the, at times, very weak sources of information and distortions of many of the so called facts. These organizations are well funded (by your tax dollars in most cases) and their officers are very well compensated. There's is a massive industry that will attack anything with deep pockets regardless of the harm it may cause to innocent bystanders. They are terrorists in the true sense of the word, no different than the eco-terrorist who destroys the private property of companies they see as a threat to the environment, or the terrorist who takes innocent human life for no other reason than they have a different concept of Divinity. We welcome a debate on tobacco under the piercing glare of fact, not innuendo. However, this debate may never happen as so many are afraid to cross these extremely aggressive organizations. Their power MUST be limited by regulation and by litigation. They, and the so called facts they arm themselves with, must be exposed to the transparent light of truth. Let the chips then, fall where they may. All of us will be better for the knowing.
However, if the population of smokers does not become extremely active very soon, a great opportunity to alter or at least steady the course of personal human rights in vast areas yet unimaginable, may be lost, possibly for a very long time. Some of what they (these offenders of individual choice) proselytize, we actually agree with. We believe non-smokers should not be exposed to our smoke, if that be their choice. We also feel that children especially should be protected from ALL forms of pollution, both physical and intellectual, as they have less ability to voice and enforce their defenses. On the cover of this issue remains a scenario for determining the facts on tobacco use and, with minor variations, all other future issues that involve regulation of personal behavior that may have risk. Click here if you wish to review it. But for now . . .
There is a lot to digest in the tables below and thus make some kind of decision based on what you see. We can't do it all for you and you shouldn't want us to anyway. That would put us in the same category as those who create such statistical presumptions. You should look at all the data and decide the intrinsic meaning for yourself.. However, we will look at a few states as an example to get you started.
The recent seven state Democratic primaries, as well as the recent Oregon state referendum on taxes, gives us an interesting perspective, as an addition to what follows, regarding the voter's power to change just about anything they set their minds to. Let's take a look at three states that are a typical example of how this process may be used by tobacco users to regain control of a revenue and regulatory process gone insane. We'll start with the Oklahoma primary and simply throw some real numbers at you based on election results. There are approximately 1,099,000 registered Democrats in Oklahoma which is a state with a Democratic majority, but elects a lot of Republicans. That strange fact alone, we will let you make of what you will. Here's the interesting part. Of those nearly 1.1 million voters who as Democrats were eligible to vote in this primary, only 300,000 actually voted or about 27.3%. Now the state, according to the tables below, has about 737,000 adult smokers. The winner, Clark got only 30% of the vote that was cast or about 90,000 votes, Edwards had nearly the same amount with Kerry placing third with about 81,000. The point is even if you total the top three candidates, the number of votes cast for them is only about 260,000. Now think about it. With 737,000 smokers in the state, it is obvious that a concerted effort to vote for someone who was much more supportive of those who are being robbed by taxation because they smoke, could win any election for any candidate they chose. The numbers are staggering when you look at the power smokers have to influence their own destiny, if only they can be organized to vote in a block.
The second example is the Arizona primary, with 788,000 eligible Democratic voters, only 220,000 actually voted. In both cases (OK and AZ), only about 27% of those eligible to vote in the primary actually showed up to do so. There are 809,000 smokers in this mostly Republican state. Again a voting block of smokers alone could elect any candidate for any local, state or federal office. Now we are not suggesting that this be the only criteria for voting for politicians. However, we think the qualifications of most elected leaders are no better overall than most citizens. In most cases, some of the dumbest sounding people I have ever been exposed to, are politicians. I watch CSPAN a lot and am constantly amazed at the lack of knowledge about a wide range of issues that our elected officials exhibit.
The fact is, even career politicians glean most of their knowledge about issues as diverse as health care, social security, the war on terror, education, budget deficits and international affairs, including trade, from their staff anyway. Staffers are professional coaches, basically, who remain in their consultant-like positions throughout changing administrations and officials. They would always be there to help in getting a newly elected Representative or Senator up to speed with information that person needed on affairs that perhaps were not the freshman politician's forte to start with. That's what they do and current politicians in office are no less dependent on these staff resources than would be a new face. Now many people simply don't want the hassle of a political candidacy, or are not attractive/charismatic enough, have neither the money, nor the oratory skills to make a bid for office. However, it only takes one in every precinct (with your support) who both has a committedly reasonable attitude about tobacco taxation and regulation, and has those skills mentioned above to make a 180 degree difference when it comes to unfair and inefficient tobacco regulation. The are many in every state, at all levels, who could well fit the requirements and who certainly are bright and articulate enough to represent you at all levels of government. This is how the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was passed and, in the same way later repealed. Folks whose beliefs were representative of their electors were sought out and supported. It can be done.
Finally, for this update, let me share with you details of a local vote on a referendum that was put before the voters of Oregon this week. It was basically a ballot measure to increase our income tax to help the state deal with the typical budgetary crisis that most states are experiencing today. The voters, 58% to 42%, voted this measure down, but that is not the point, although it is interesting to note that few tax increase measures pass when they are put to a vote of the taxpayer. What is more interesting here is that Oregon makes it easy to vote. It is all done by mail. You don't have to go anywhere. You only need provide a minimal postage fee (thirty seven cents). The state mails you a ballot and you send it back in, or you can drop it off at a ballot box on election day if you don't want to mail it. Even with this mind numbing simplicity on a measure that would directly and immediately affect every wage earner in the state, only 53% actually sent in their ballots. An interesting set of numbers appears here as does the two percentages noted above in the state primaries where almost EXACTLY the same percentage of registered voters actually voted. Though the response of the voters of Oregon was nearly twice the 27% of the OK and AZ primaries, it is interesting to note that the number of smokers in Oregon is precisely 53% of those that voted. This doesn't mean 53% of Oregonians are smokers. It simply means that 986,000 folks voted out of a possible 1.8 million AND that, according to the tables below 528,000 people here smoke. So the ratio of voters eligible to vote and those that actually voted as well as ratio of the total number of smokers in the state to the number of people who actually voted were both 53%. The final kicker in this proposed income tax hike is that the group of legislators and special interest groups that put it together threw in a 10 cent per pack cigarette tax hike for good measure. It is interesting to note that in the voter pamphlet each registered voter receives that explain the proposed measure, the "in favor of" section where supporters of the Bill have the opportunity to give their reasons for support, dealt, to a very disproportionate degree, with this cigarette tax increase as the main reason for supporting this bill. Groups like the American Cancer Society, Lung Association and several other such organizations who are not supposed to be involved in the legislative process due to their non-profit status were all over the ballot info booklet. The measure was voted down, but it was obvious that this part was thrown in as a rider to garner support from more people, as our legislators seem to think that the mere mention of a cigarette tax will cause a bill to pass. I guess they were wrong in this case, but often this ploy works.
I'm not sure what can be made of the percentage-based coincidence of 53%, but it is interesting, especially if you like to play games with numbers like the statisticians do concerning smoking and health. More of that follows, but what is pertinent here is that, once again, adult, voting age smokers, as a voting block, could have passed or killed this bill at their whim. People who use tobacco have an incredible amount of power if motivated into becoming a voting block. Everyone who smokes HAS to be and frankly, IS seriously upset at the level of taxation on tobacco and the ultimate waste of that revenue on projects that have nothing to do with smoking. As you read what follows, keep this in mind and contemplate the possibilities. And keep this also in mind. There is great power in numbers. I have always been amazed how one gunman can hold 40 people hostage. Sure, everyone has to stick their neck out to some degree in such a situation, but, as with the incident of the hijacked aircraft on 911 that was retaken by the passengers and subsequently crashed into a Pennsylvania field, it is time for people to realize that taking NO action can often result in far worse consequences for everyone. The folks on that plane were hero's, not fools, and I would hope that all Americans, tobacco enthusiasts included, are made of that same admirable stuff. Again to paraphrase Franklin, "those that sacrifice liberty for safety, DESERVE NEITHER." And now . . .
The Original Article Continues . . .
The State of Washington, as shown in the tables has a tax ranking of 4th in the 2001 table and 6th in the 2002 table. This ranking is from one to fifty and represents comparatively the amount of tax on cigarette packs. (The higher the number, the less the tax so Washington state has a very high tax when compared with other states at $1.425 per pack). Now look at the state's ranking as far as percentage of smokers. In 2001, they ranked eleventh and with no tax increase ranked 25th (even worse) in 2002. The smoking percentage rankings at the far left of each table are from one to fifty as well, with the higher number representing the more smokers per capita. As you can see the percentage of smokers went up significantly only a couple of years AFTER the tax was instituted. Their ranking in 2002 as far as taxes was 6th highest and their per capita rating was 25. Now, of course, the figures change each year relatively - as one state's consumption or taxes changes, so does the relative position of other states. Nonetheless, the number of smokers in the state went up by over 100,000 people after people quickly got used to the higher tax. This is hardly a good example of a tax actually cutting consumption. Check out all of the states as each are unique in their reaction to tax changes. Some are in line with the "hoped for" results of the CDC, but many are not.
Looking at the national averages is equally interesting. The 2001 statistics show the overall average state tax on cigarettes at 60 cents per pack with 47 million folks smoking (this and all the numbers we will discuss in a moment). The newer 2002 tables (the bottom set) shows an average of 70 cents per pack tax and the total smoking population as 48 million. To summarize then, by increasing the average tax nationwide by ten cents per pack, another million people started smoking. Hardly a reasonable outcome considering the cost and the waste of revenue. We will at this point leave it to you to speculate what the real agenda is of taxation schemes to limit behavior, but even given this data, provided by anti-tobacco advocates, shows clearly the extra money must be going somewhere besides effective smoking cessation programs.
Two more States of interest: Let's look at Virginia and West Virginia. The latest figures in the table show the tax on cigarettes in Virginia (a tobacco producing state) to be the lowest in the nation at a mere 2.5 cents per pack. West Virginia has a tax twenty+ times that (55 cents). If the theory of taxes decreasing consumption were correct you would think that folks in Virginia would smoke at a greater rate per capita than those in West Virginia. The opposite is the case. West Virginia has a smoking rate of 28.2% while low tax Virginia has a lower usage rate of 22.5%. The year 2001 shows slightly different rates but in the same direction with a similar spread. Now some anti-smoking groups might try to sell you on the idea that the smokers of West Virginia are crossing the border to Virginia to get cheap cigarettes. However, since these data sets, as we will discuss below, are most likely estimates that could only be based on packs sold, there would be no record of sales in West Virginia from cigarettes brought privately across the border. There are so many weaknesses in this kind of data that I am truly surprised that any rational human being could give any credence to it. Still many do and, though it is obvious that there are many hidden and fiscal agendas at work here to do as much as possible to extract extra money from smokers, one would think it should be relatively easy to make the case for a new look at regulation by taxation. However, since the numbers are suspect anyway, the following may be more pertinent than the numbers alone. You see . . . . .
The preceding was an exercise in the pseudo-science of epidemiology and you followed right along believing, (to the benefit of any anti-tax advocate or anti-tobacco advocate as well), the numbers supplied. And they were the actual numbers supplied by the CDC. However, do you remember being asked if you were a smoker by the CDC in the last few years. I sure as Hell don't. These numbers are based on estimates that no one outside of the CDC has any clue as to upon what they were based. How do they know 48 million people smoke cigarettes? Do they include those that roll or make their own, or are they simply allocating so many cigarettes per person and basing their estimates according to number of packs sold as we suspected above. This is a clear example of the overwhelming weakness in statistical analysis whether it regards how many smoke, what may cause them to smoke less or quit, OR, most importantly, how many are actually damaged by smoking to the exclusion of all other factors. And . . . smoking what???
Now statistical analysis has long been used for everything from advertising, which TV shows stay on the air, and political prediction (polls). Groups that use this kind of information gathering, sample VERY small groups of people, average it out and apply it to an overall targeted population segment. Especially of concern are the number of underage smokers, as the tables' authors even admit that the YRBS (Youth Risk Behavioral Survey) is based on surveys over many years and therefore cannot provide a state's ranking accurately. If that be the case, then the percentages are likely highly speculative as well. The truth of this whole mess is found in the last sentence of each year's table. "Cigarette tax increases can restore state tobacco tax revenues to historic levels" (certainly true) - "while also reducing state smoking levels and related costs" (certainly not true according to their own figures). Further, the state's estimates as to the health costs of smoking are highly suspicious as well as they offer no clear definition on how they arrived at the figures or how doctors decide that smoking is the primary cause of someone's illness.
It is for reasons of balance, which we try always to achieve, to note that the CDC is not an organization staffed only with power hungry monsters. I have no doubt there are some truly talented and ostensibly altruistic folks working there. Oh, to be sure their funding is heavily weighted towards anti-tobacco generated revenue, but there are scientists of significant repute inhabiting the labs and conference rooms of the CDC. However, these scientists, even the best ones, are often looking at data supplied to them with little or no context. Sure any fool knows that smoking carries risk. So does sex and eating. So does getting out of bed every morning . . . or staying in bed every morning. What the CDC SHOULD be looking at is WHAT people smoke, how OFTEN and how MUCH, as well as the other environmental and lifestyle factors that may dramatically affect their fiscally outrageous experiments. They should know, as most of our readers must, that smoking packaged cigarettes in large quantities increases risk. Why this is so, however, may involve many factors other than the tobacco itself. For instance, what kind of person smokes four packs a day or even three or two? Why do they need so much of the substance? What is their personality type that they would need so much stimulation, or more likely anxiety relief, that they feel the need to spend the time (and money) involved in order to smoke so copiously. Is it, in fact, the pack mentality at work? It is interesting to note that humans, being the diverse creatures we are, are likewise extremely diverse in the ways they approach smoking. Many statistically heavy consumers let cigarettes burn up in the ashtray after only a few puffs. Others, who demonstrate less consumption, puff like the devil, never losing their grip on the stick until it is gone. Certainly no one could logically contend that the impact of these different methods of using tobacco create similar results physiologically, and further that they speak not of differences in personality. There is so much interesting research that COULD be done regarding smoking habits that go well beyond simply the numbers. I would venture to guess that we at RYO Magazine have data that is at least as useful, as to why people smoke the way they do, than does the CDC. Our budget is a bit smaller as well.
I recently saw a short piece on one of the cable news stations on cancer. The participants (some from the CDC) were discussing ways to reduce cancer risk (mostly it involved more and more MONEY for research, bad habit intervention and education all of which are big time, heavily financed - by you - cottage industries). They were showing various activities (or lack thereof in the case of exercise) and their relationship to cancer rates. Of course smoking was at the top of the list, but there were no figures provided as to dosage, lumping all smokers into one single group. They did however, as is beginning to happen a bit more often, include other lifestyle and environmental factors such as diet, exercise, etc. The problem was the cancers they were talking about were very general in nature and the end result was basically a plea for more regulation, taxation, (including new ones on fast foods), and more ostentatious groveling for copious financial support by governmental agencies (again, you the taxpayer). Nothing was accomplished in this segment - just more of the same innuendo and wool gathering. It is no wonder we have had so little success in finding causes and cures for cancer other than early detection which obviously works well with nearly any disease. Surgical removal of tumors and irradiation as well as extremely toxic drug treatments have mitigated cancers impact somewhat, but no one really understands the real cellular reasoning mechanisms behind this disease, nor is anyone much closer to a preventative cure. Bluntly, they focused little on things we should do and concentrated rather on all of the things we shouldn't.
The tables at the bottom of the page show mortality rates. We have discussed this before but I think it bears looking at again. It is the result of yet further opinion/survey-based science but shows some definite patterns. Out of the 2.4 million people that die each year in the US, around 1.8 million are over 65 with the next group (my age group) adding another 250,000 which leaves roughly 400,000 deaths of those under the age of 55. These numbers should give one pause as to what is really causing human death (mostly age) but now many of the anti-smoking groups are linking smoking to every disease imaginable. What convenient and potentially lucrative new field will emerge to harvest when tobacco has lost its right to exist. The new thrust currently is fast food as there are a lot of deep pockets there as well. If you go to the cover page, towards the bottom, I outline a sensible approach to the issue of finally assessing the risk of tobacco usage. And there is risk, certainly, but the numbers are so skewed with weak science, and with extremely vested interests in negative outcomes of the research, that only when we can reach a point where those who publish false information (or interpret falsely and knowingly publish inaccuracies) can be prosecuted, and attorneys who represent the ones who are getting rich off regulation of our personal choices can be held fiscally accountable as well, will we restore the science of medical research to the high standards from which it should never have deviated.
Please look at the tables that are here. Think for yourself. Analyze what is there and make your own conclusions, keeping in mind that many of these numbers are simply estimates, or who knows, even plain fiction. Statistical analysis does have a place in our decision-making process but only when the parameters are clearly defined and the results are accurate. And once you are convinced of the veracity of the data, only then, become proactive. Now I know that a statistical look at our readership might well show a preponderance of gay cowboys who ride black and white Pinto ponies - given the right polling location, of course. One can make numbers show anything they want, especially when there is no obligation to show the details of how the data was gathered and from whom. Until we, as a civilization, began to think for ourselves and hold those who make recommendations about anything, especially involving our personal choices, to a very high standard, we should not wonder that we have failed to solve other larger problems.
So why can't we keep our own little house in order. Now I am no Pollyanna and have no doubt there will always be some people I simply can't stand. The fact, however, may be that our uncanny dependence on statistics makes it impossible to form even a simple rationale for cooperation. With all of the theocratic/theological based animosity in the world, all based on opinion by the way, or FAITH, which is the ultimate form of opinion, we have a very long way to go before we have enough real facts to find common ground with anyone, especially if we need an empirical excuse. Open minds are not getting easier to find and returning to the analogy we started with - that of the machine - perhaps it really is time for a superior form of intelligence to take over our decision making processes for our own good. I resist that notion but if people like you and I do not begin to seriously campaign for drastic changes in who controls the rulebook, perhaps we deserve no better master.
I know I tend to harp on the subject of individual responsibility a lot in this publication, but frankly, though we receive a lot of mail about the subjects we write about, I still see little movement in our ability to control the forces who are bent on controlling us. We have so many more important things to consider on this planet than whether some of us smoke or not, that the huge waste of time and revenue can simply no longer be justified. Even as I write this piece, there is legislation before Congress to force carriers who deliver tobacco products to private residences to disclose that information to the government. Both the seller and buyer will be under unimpeded scrutiny by our Big Brother and I tell you, if we don't stop this kind of intrusion, how can we expect to stop even more intrusive regulation in the future, involving even our most private moments.
The time has come that even single issue candidates, who are enthusiastic supporters of individual rights, should be encouraged to run for office at all levels of government. And once elected, they must begin to get rid of those career bureaucrats, whose continued support of organizations that are raping our treasuries with the excuse that it somehow is in our best interest. These parasites should perhaps be prosecuted along with the lawyers who encourage them. We really do live in a rather small and manageable house if only we redefine what a representative is and firmly control the manner in which they represent us. There are more than 70 million adults in the US who use tobacco in one form or another. I can't remember when any successful Presidential candidate got more than 50 million votes and a potential strategy, based on this fact, could extend all the way down to the lowliest city council member.
I will leave you at peace now to digest all of the above and all of that which follows. AGAIN, please study the tables below and start thinking of ways you can become more proactive in the necessary battles that surely lie ahead in all areas of tax-based social engineering. Enjoy the new year and, please, take a serious look around you and see what you can do to regain, each day, just a little more of self. Here are the tables:
Until next time, enjoy - life is tenuous and should be enjoyed aggressively without regret - without fear - be just selfish enough to do simply that. - the ed. As usual, repeated below are some interesting links so that you can keep abreast of vital issues that affect as many as 70 million voting age citizens in the US.
Email us with any comments on this and/or any other issues that relate to your free choice.
|EDITOR'S NOTE: These reviews are solely for the convenience of people of legal age who already smoke, are trying to cut down on smoking, wish to spend less money on their smoking, want to roll their own cigarettes from high quality tobacco, and, in general, wish to have a far more satisfying, and economical smoking experience when compared with smoking pre-manufactured cigarettes. We, in no way, encourage people to smoke. Further, we subscribe to a sane, more logical approach to smoking that involves common sense as to quantity coupled with a strong desire to manage the habit until it becomes an occasional, freely chosen, diversion, that can be fully enjoyed with minimal health risks. Finally, we strongly encourage those who do smoke to take it outdoors, or to appropriate environments where tobacco can be enjoyed away from those who do not smoke, most especially children. We do not sell tobacco or related products from this site; We distribute information about our perceptions of the quality of what is available and where it can be obtained. If you are under 18, it is illegal to buy tobacco and you should immediately exit this site. If you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start.|
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