Smoke Screeds

June 04, 2008

The blogosphere is lighting up with reaction - most of it negative - to Baltimore's proposal to ban single sales of little cigars, which are favored by young smokers and are often mixed with illegal drugs by users. A sampling of the commentary:

"Since all tobacco products are already illegal for anyone under the age of 18, the ban is simply an elitist attempt to target cheap cigars that are mostly smoked by young inner-city adults (who city officials seem to think are too stupid to be able to decide whether to smoke cigars). Or, as Jacob Grier observes, 'In other words, upper-class people can responsibly choose to smoke a cigar, but poor people need to have choices taken away from them.' Like most prohibitions - last time I checked, drugs were also illegal in Baltimore, but readily available - this ban is destined to fail. Enterprising individuals will be able to buy these cigars by the box and then illegally sell them on the street to anyone willing to buy them, including children. And any health benefits are likely to be undone when, instead of smoking cigars, people will turn to more addictive and unhealthy cigarettes."

- Patrick S on

"Baltimore has been wracked by violence the past year. 'Charm City' is commonly derided as 'Harm City' because of the high murder rate. There's even an entire blog devoted to documenting Baltimore crime. So what are city officials proposing to do to help Baltimore's residents? Ban cheap cigars! ... This is a Nanny State power grab to shut down a legal activity using kiddie human shields as protection. It's also a handy way to distract from B'more's abysmal failure to make its streets, buses and schools safe. But hey, at least we'll be safe from 50-cent cigars and trans fats!"

- Michelle Malkin on

"What's the big deal? Aside from the fact that these cigars are a popular item for underage shoplifters, they are usually stripped, and the tobacco mixed with pot and laced with other drugs. ... A ban like this won't affect the way you and I buy our smokes, so if it will help keep kids from smoking and help the boys in blue keep some drugs off the street, I'm all for it."

- Rob Hogan on

"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."

- Julia on

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