BANNED IN BOSTON… THE WAR ON TOBACCO CONTINUES
Another Editorial by David Garofalo
It’s Columbus Day, a day to celebrate the discovery of Tobacco and Cigars, and a day to discover why there is a war against tobacco.
A few weeks ago, the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker placed a four-month ban on all vaping products in response to the popularity of e-cigarettes and after nine people died in the United States from a mysterious illness. Was it a problem with vape, maybe but maybe not, but either way, it’s gone for now. At the same time, New York and Michigan banned flavored vaping which they believe has attracted children, despite the fact there is a law against children buying it already, it is already illegal for people under the age of 21 to purchase it.
Some politicians are already arguing maybe the ban has not gone far enough. The ban has already put thousands of mom and pop retailers out of business and is bankrupting others, and the facts are not in. Out of business for just selling a legal product that has not proved to be harmful. This is just the first step to wipe out vape but not the first to wipe out tobacco and everything associated with it.
So what does this have to do with a blog about cigar smoking? I believe it’s a war on tobacco and it’s been going on for a long time.
Tobacco products first emerged in 1492, when discovered by Columbus in the new world, seeing the Taino Indians sitting in religious circles (called Cohiba) with rolled up tobacco leaves offering prayers to their tribal leader (Behike) who would then offer their prayers in smoke signals to their god, the goddess Atabey. Columbus took back some of the tobacco to Spain and this began the fascination with, and the acceptance of, tobacco around the world.
With tobacco popularity came money, and with money began the bans, and none bigger than back in Boston Massachusetts, which is where this all started. The first ban in America was in Boston in 1632, when smoking in public places was banned, by 1646 it was illegal to smoke outdoors unless you were at least five miles from any town. Then in 1840 they felt the ban had not gone far enough and Boston banned smoking all together. This was something that the Nazi Party years later would implement under Adolph Hitler, as it was another way to control people.
Bans on tobacco began catching on until someone came up with the idea to tax it. This is when all the bans went away, and the popularity of tobacco grew dramatically with the invention of the cigarette in 1865. The cigarette making machine was introduced in 1881 and only then did it become widespread and easily taxed.
To learn more about tobacco in the World, America or Massachusetts just follow the money or the loss of businesses. Smoking bans have devastated small businesses over the years and it almost happened to me. In 1996, Massachusetts implemented a 12% tax on cigars, including a floor tax on products not sold. With three Two Guys Smoke Shop cigars stores in Massachusetts and 10 years of built-up inventory, it would have been a large enough tax that I would have been bankrupted. So, I made the decision to close the stores down after a decade of marketing, advertising and building my business and started all over again in the neighboring state of New Hampshire. Counting on their state motto of “Live Free or Die,” I hoped and prayed I could continue my business and survive.
As expected, the Massachusetts 12% tax went up to 15%, a year later to 20%, then to 30% and just a few years later 40%. This all compounded from its Federal taxes and state sales tax. Almost all the cigar shops in the Boston area that remained when I fled are out of business now, thanks to the taxes.
Today Massachusetts has its eyes on Vape, the new tobacco related product. It is untaxed and serves no purpose in Massachusetts or in most states yet, because there is no money in it for the states or Federal government. What about processed food, soda, candy… are they next?
Are they going after things they believe are not good for you or are simply taxable? Do they want us healthy or do they want the money… or do they just want to control us? What’s next, maybe they will mandate exercise like the Chinese or the North Koreans? Maybe Socialism or Communism is next, telling us what is best for us?
There is a war on tobacco and today all eyes are on vape but be warned… they are coming after what you like next… if there is tax money in it for them.
For more on this, read The War On Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State by Theodore J. King. It will open your eyes and scare the hell out of you at the same time.