No ifs, ands or butts

Excellent article by Collin Levey about smoking, tax evasion and political courage.
It’s time, perhaps, for governments to get a clue. Their efforts to stigmatize smoking are beginning to backfire, undoing the good work that has been done by others to make sure smokers at least understand the risks of their habit.
Canada, Brazil and some European countries have slapped enormous warning stickers on packs, with bold threats or gruesome pictures of the consequences, to little avail. Instead of persuading the unpersuaded, these efforts have aroused a new class of entrepreneurs who sell stickers over the Internet to cover the warnings. They’re called “liberty labels” and are designed for “reclaiming cigarettes from the moral scolds.”
The antismoking activists will insist that this is somehow a plot hatched by Big Tobacco to continue brainwashing the young and impressionable. But at the end of the day, smokers are grown ups. They know what they are doing. And they are finally speaking up for themselves.
The options are often witty and sometimes thoughtful: “Life is More than Longevity, “Smoking Causes Statistics” and “Smoking Creates Busibodies.” And, as found on a British Web site, sometimes relay their message with gusto: “Smoking is Cool,” “You could be Hit By a Bus Tomorrow,” “Social Smoking Doesn’t Count,” and, best of all, “Smoking Makes You Look Big and Clever.”
If this keeps up, smokers might even start voting.

The new anti-smoking is indeed causing various “nicotine railroads” to pop up. Smokers trade the names of online cigarette brokers who still ship to their state. Unwilling lawbreakers take road trips to their nearest Indian reservation to stock up.
My favorite online butt dealer in Kyrgyzstan is sadly, no more, but this is a reliable company that ships duty-free worldwide. They also do pretty good deals on perfumes and lighters too.
(I am recalling my previous endorsement of Esmokes: their customer service turned out to be lousy when it counted.)

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