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.