Cigar industry victim of the nanny state

USA Today has a depressing piece up on the state of the cigar industry. The short version is that the economic downturn, sudden tax hikes, and smoking bans are killing the industry. I worry about the long-term effects anti-smoking laws will have on premium tobacco. Making and smoking it could become a lost art, creating a cascade of job losses in the US and especially in growing countries. Cigar smoking will become exceedingly rare; furtive smoke breaks for mass-market cigarettes will continue just fine. [Via Stogie Guys.]

As an example of what we’re up against, here’s what the city council in Del Mar is up to:

Del Mar officials took a step this week toward banning smoking on city sidewalks and restaurant patios after diners complained about smoke ruining their meals at newly installed outdoor cafes.

The council will hold a public hearing before voting on the ban, but council members Monday bluntly expressed their distaste for smoking.

“You shouldn’t be exposed to a health hazard while walking down the streets of Del Mar,” said Councilman Don Mosier.

Mayor Crystal Crawford said she remains open to hearing from the public but noted, “This is a council of non-smokers.” [...]

Staff members also will research the idea of creating a city licensing program to regulate tobacco retailers.

There was discussion about banning cigarette vending machines, but no one remembered seeing such machines in Del Mar.

What kind of person complains to the city council about a bad experience at a restaurant? If one’s Caesar salad isn’t up to par, the usual remedy isn’t asking the local rulers to step in and fix it. You talk to the manager, write a bad review on Yelp, or take your business elsewhere. Smoke exposure shouldn’t be any different. The fact that non-smokers are turning to the city council to get their way is just another example of how anti-smoking hysteria has poisoned civil society.

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    “Growing” countries? You make them sound like toddlers: “He’s a growing country and he needs his cash crops so one day he’ll grow up into a big, healthy democracy!”

    Perhaps you meant “developing” countries? Although, now that I think about it, that term’s open to the same interpretation.

  2. Jacob Grier says:

    @Ben: Actually all I meant by “growing countries” is countries that grow tobacco, but I can see how that wasn’t clear in context.

  3. Marty says:

    it sounds like the council is pulling a car salesman’s trick by using a ‘higher authority’- only they’re using mysterious taxpayers as their boss…

  4. snowbird says:

    I walk into a bar and said I don’t drink therefore I am going to grab the levers of government to pass a law so that everybody can’t drink.

    Am I pushing my moralistic views on everybody??

  5. Donna says:

    While I am saddened for my own country, I have no sympathy for the cigar makers and mass-market cigarettes if they indeed “supported expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program”. They wanted more federal government spending, they just didn’t want to have to pay for it. They should be careful for what they wish in that case.

  6. News says:

    I agree with the ban on smoking in restaurants and bars because they are indoors, but outside ok.

    I am seriously allergic to the tobacco plant itself. Smelling it is really bad for me as well, as that I can pass out.

    If someone reeks of tobacco, I am allergic to that person. Its not fun having to avoid smokers, who don’t obey the law to begin with.

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