Saturday, July 12, 2008


I do not smoke cigarettes, or anything else, and never have. Sure they are addictive but I don't really see what the initial appeal to them is. Everyone knows they are bad for you, you hear of people dying of smoke inhalation from fires, they cause cancer, etc. They are also very expensive. At the last election there was an issue that would raise taxes on cigarettes. I voted against it, I do not think people should smoke, I just saw it as an unjust tax particularly since they already were taxed a lot (state taxes them $1.25 per pack, county charges them an additional 34.5 cents per pack that is not including sales tax). The tax passed. I often wonder how these people who smoke a carton a day can afford to. Cigarettes are very expensive. Even if they try to buy online they can not avoid paying the taxes since my state prohibits purchasing cigarettes out of state as well as bans the shipping of cigarettes to consumers. They actively go after people who purchase online to a degree I believe to be excessive (A federal law requires online cigarette vendors to report sales with each state for tax purposes and the state will and has gone after the people who buy online).

A law in the state prohibits people from smoking in all public buildings in the state. It is illegal to smoke in a bar or restaurant . While I am aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke and do not like being near people who smoke, I feel this to is excessive. The business owner should have the option of being a smoke free place not be forced to. If a bar wants to allow its customers to smoke it should be allowed to, they should just put up a sign clearly stating that it is a smoking establishment. The people who do not smoke could avoid going to them. Places that chose to be smoking establishment can take steps to reduce the effects of secondhand smoke, some means of doing so are to install good air circulation and air purifying systems. Air purifiers use a small amount of electrical energy, causing a small amount of expense and environmental effect, but would clean the air significantly reducing the effects of secondhand smoke. Air pollution itself is a bigger worry to me than second hand smoke, since my area ranks in the top 10 for for most air pollution in the country, on every ranking I've ever seen.

I recently saw a petition to change the ratings for movies with cigarettes to a R-rating. I think this is fairly stupid. I definitely do not want children, or anyone really, to smoke but I don't think they should rate a movie with an R rating for just that. First of all it is the parents and the schools who should be teaching children about the hazards (I do not feel that they are doing so via the best way - telling about illness in old age and death really doesn't work with kids, instead tell them how smoking will make them ugly -causes wrinkles and decays teeth may work better). Making cigarettes unseen, in my opinion, will enhance the appeal of cigarettes. Similarly to how some people, because of the drinking age, will on their birthday drink so much alcohol to require a hospital visit caused by alcohol poisoning. Already cigarettes are rarely seen in media accessible to children since tobacco is prohibited from being advertised on television, magazines children read do not have ads for cigarettes, movies created for kids do not have people smoking and tobacco ads are rarely seen on billboards or on the Internet (though I'm not sure about the internet since I use ad-blocking software).

Since I write about Japan frequently on this blog, I'll add some info on Japan and cigarettes.
-The Japanese have tobacco vending machines -around 570,000 of them (the Japanese love vending machines, a large amount of items, some very surprising can be purchased in vending machines).
-The Japanese newest tobacco vending machines have technology designed to detect if the purchaser is a minor. This machine has a built-in camera that measures facial wrinkles, pupil size and other features.
-These new machines have been tricked by using magazine photos.
-All cigarette vending machines are installing RFID readers that check the purchaser’s Taspo age-verification card.
-The population of smokers is quite high in Japan. It is 29.2 % (as of 2007) and the fifth highest in the world following Greece, Turkey, Netherlands and Hungary.

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