Thursday, May 29, 2008

I moved out of Baltimore for a reason

Which mainly had to do with not wanting to get shot in my own apartment, which was located within range of a middle school where shootings became the norm in the mid-1990s. (Didn't Baltimore -- and Maryland -- ban "Saturday night special" handguns back in 1988? How's that working out? Just fine, if you believe JHU's post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument here. But I digress.)

I also didn't feel like being called for jury duty all the time in that crime-ridden city.

Now, Mayor Sheila Dixon has a bold new initiative that is sure to snap Charm City out of its funk: Ban cheap cigars!

She says these cigars are sold for as little as 69 cents each in stores across Baltimore in a wide variety of flavors. [Dang, I wish I'd known about those flavors!] The Mayor says studies show products like these encourage smoking by youth and young adults who are especially sensitive to the price of tobacco products. [No, they helped me and some buddies with some enjoyment (!) when we nabbed a few of those "cheap cigars" from a corner store while attending my cousin's wedding reception on Mt. Royal Ave. a number of years ago. In fact, I think even LC partook of a 'gar!] A recent study by Johns Hopkins University found that 23.9 percent of youth ages 18 to 25 smoked cheap cigars in the last 30 days. [Um, ex-squeeze me? Those people can LEGALLY SMOKE! Or does that mean 76.1 percent of youth are listening to Cigar Dave? And see above for what I think of JHU studies.]

Under the proposed regulation, retailers would be required to sell cigars in packs of five. [Aha! Now we see that the city doesn't get enough "sin tax" revenue off individual cigars! You gotta follow the money, folks.] The proposal exempts cigars with a wholesale cost of two dollars or more, as well as cigars sold in tobacco shops. [Well, isn't that special?]

The Mayor says she believes the sale of such cigars undermines efforts to inform the public about the health risks of smoking. Single, cheap cigars generally do not carry health warnings, and consumers can be misled about the health risks of smoking. [Like the city really cares whether anyone smokes single cigars or not. As I just said, Dixon needs revenue. That's what this is all about.]

Well, Madame Mayor, why stop there? If smoking is so daggone bad for you and others, why not ban the sale, use, possession, importation, or cultivation of tobacco in the city? Hm? Lead the way! Set the pioneering example for other cities to follow.

Go ahead. I'm waiting.


Just can't live without those taxes, can you?

(HT: Michelle Malkin)


Julia said...

There IS a point to all this.

College buddies and I, as well as the vast majority of young "cheap-cigar" purchasers, are not buying those things to enjoy the tobacco.

We are cutting them open, dumping them out, and using them as drug paraphernalia.

Granted, rolling papers are still abundantly available, but if you should ever overhear someone around my age mentioning a blunt, it ain't a "cigar" they're smoking.

Cygnus said...

Appreciate the enlightenment, Julia; I wouldn't have known that, being blissfully ignorant of that scene. But I still think it's a shtoopit idea.

I know this sounds Clintonian, but I never had to try pot. Everyone else on the MTA buses did so for me.