Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cigarettes... Booze... Marijuana... Other Drugs... Taxation.... Regulation... You Tube Video Blitz... Facts and Stats... Your Thoughts...


According to the following recently released documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - (1) "State Smoke-Free Indoor Air Fact Sheet";
(2) "State Comparison Report Cigarette Use (Adults) - BRFSS"; (3) "State System - Trend Report Cessation (Adults) - BRFSS"; and/or (4) "State System - Tobacco Control Highlights Report":

1. AS of 12/31/08 - based upon a household survey (one aspect of the "2008 National Health Interview Survey"):

California and Connecticut were listed as being among the states that had NO "smoke free" indoor laws - AND as being amongst the states that had cigarette rates that were (comparitively, relatively low): 14.3% and 15.5%, respectively. [I can't explain the discrepancy regarding California - or any other state - in the videos represented below - unless the laws (These videos were submitted at different times) have been fluctuating (They certainly have, in many cases) and/or changed.]

Wheras Colorado and New York State were listed as being among the states that had FOUR "smoke free" laws (restaurants, "government worksites", "private worksites" and bars) - AND as being amongst the states that had cigarette rates that were (comparitively, relatively high): 18.7% and 18.9%, respectively.

Utah (which was listed as having three "smoke free" laws during the noted time span) had the lowest rate (11.7%) noted - but these results were quite likely (in my opinion) confounded by the high number (relatively speaking) of "Mormons" (who also, if tales be true, strongly discourage the consumption of coffee and alcohol...) in the state of Utah.

A sampling of some other states that are listed (during the noted time span) as having FOUR "smoke free" laws in effect - are listed - with their respective (comparitively speaking, relatively high to very high) rates - below:

Arizona: 19.8%
Delaware: 19.0%
Illinois: 20.2%
Iowa: 19.8%
New Mexico: 20.8%
Ohio: 23.1%
[Think about it!]

Not to mention the fact that:

According to Figure 8.1 ("Prevalence of Current Smoking" - Adults 18+ - U.S. - 1997-Sept. 2008):

Smoking (cigarettes) trends - after dancing around (with the various laws, taxes and mandates?) - actually INCREASED from Jan. 2007 to September of 2008 - to approximately the same levels present in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

The highest rates (adult population, age 18+) of tobacco usuage, according to one or more of the above sources, is amongst the Alaskan Natives and American Indians (35.3%) and those (adults, aged 20 plus) with less than 12 years of formal education (30.6%)

To which one could add the fact that although cigarette taxes have generally gone up, up, up... primarily affecting those that can LEAST AFFORD IT - there was - according to one or more of these same sources (during this same time frame) - NO LEGISLATION aimed towards the cigarette advertising industry.

And although the "gross revenue" from cigarette taxes (2007) was listed as being $936,456,574...

The National and Federal "investment in tobacco control" efforts (2007) was listed (making this investment appear rather insincere...) at a mere $3,422,465.


That said (remember all of these laws and stats are in flux...) - please view and read the following - and give some thought (Feedback is welcomed!) to all of the facts, stats and ideas that are presented here:

["Just Can't Quit: How Far Will Smoking Bans Go?"; as submitted to ReasonTV on 11/12/08;]

[""Smoking" Banned In Your Own Home-California Adopts Hitlers Policy"; as submitted to You Tube by Ahmenra2012 on 1/29/09;]

["Jump In Tobacco Tax To Shock Smokers"; as submitted by kmbctv on 3/25/09;]


"House set to vote on tobacco regulation bill"; Published - Apr 01 2009 06:24PM EST;
By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press;

"The House is poised to thrust tobacco companies under government control after years of attempts in legislatures and the courts to tame one of the country's signature industries.

'We cannot and we must not wait a moment longer to protect our children from this killer,' Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said as lawmakers began debate Wednesday evening on landmark legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration authority for the first time to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Passage of the bill was expected Thursday morning.

Opponents contended that the legislation would hurt the economy and that the FDA wasn't up to the job.

'The last thing we should be doing is force the FDA to regulate an inherently dangerous product,' said Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind.

Senate action would still be required, as well as President Barack Obama's signature, but supporters said both those pieces were in place. They pointed to strong backing from the White House _ where Obama has spoken of his own struggles to kick the cigarette habit _ and an increased Democratic majority in a Senate that's already shown itself inclined to support the bill.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act would amount to the biggest change ever in the government's approach toward tobacco, which has remained largely hands-off even as the health hazards have become increasingly clear.

Although the FDA wouldn't be allowed to ban nicotine or tobacco, the agency would be able to regulate the contents of tobacco products, make public their ingredients, prohibit flavoring, require much larger warning labels and control marketing campaigns, especially those geared toward children.

'This would be the most significant tobacco bill the Congress of the United States has ever enacted,' said Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. 'It would bring about fundamental change.'

The FDA has come under criticism after fumbling a series of health scares, and opponents of said the agency was already overburdened and couldn't handle the job of regulating another big industry. U.S. tobacco production was valued at $1.3 billion in 2007.

Opponents also argued that the bill by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., was unrealistically aimed at ending smoking altogether and wouldn't allow nicotine addicts to learn of alternatives like smokeless tobacco. Supporters of the bill disputed that claim.

Adult tobacco users who have not quit 'should be encouraged to move from tobacco products with higher risks to those with lower risks,' said Maura Payne, spokeswoman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Buyer was offering an alternate bill that would encourage development of less-harmful tobacco products and leave the FDA out of the process.

The country's largest tobacco company, Marlboro-maker Philip Morris USA, is supporting Waxman's bill. Some analysts say the legislation could lock in Philip Morris' market share while stunting the ability of other companies to compete.

Under President George W. Bush, who issued a veto threat after the House passed a nearly identical version of Waxman's bill last year, the FDA said it didn't want the job of regulating tobacco. The Obama administration is welcoming the task.

The White House issued a statement Wednesday saying it 'strongly supported' the bill.

The issue has a long history laced with lawsuits and politics. President Bill Clinton's FDA chief, David Kessler, pushed hard for tobacco regulations. In 1994, Waxman summoned the heads of big tobacco to the famous hearing in which they testified that nicotine wasn't addictive.

Subsequent lawsuits against tobacco companies resulted in big payouts to states, some of which funded smoking-reduction campaigns that have contributed to a decrease in smoking rates. About one in five adults in the U.S. now smokes cigarettes. But a 2000 Supreme Court ruling that FDA didn't have the authority to regulate tobacco makes congressional action necessary."


Questions that come to mind:


Who is the April "fool" - Smokers? [Big bucks for a cig in NY State!) - or the US (in this instance) government [If "they" really want smokers to quit "for their own good" (ahem) - shouldn't they shut down the cigarette manufacturers? If all smokers were to quit, wouldn't that mean a whole lot less business (and that oh so precious revenue...) for a whole LOT of folks? Don't you think there might be better ways [Lots of taxes are going up in NY State folks!] to finance children's health [How about raising the taxes (these are at least directly relative...) on CANDY and SODA POP?]

Could this issue (non-smoking rules / higher taxation on cigarettes...) be yet another reason why a whole lot of small to medium size businesses (mom and pop shops, chain retail markets, restaurants, bars, hotels, motels, etc.) are (Look around folks! I don't think Americans take well to being sold something and then shamed and punished for buying and using it...) failing?

Whilst, ironically - according to some other sources (to be provided upon request) - up to 95% of the American people want to see (at the same time that smoking is virtually being made into a "crime") marijuana legalized - which would theoretically set up this whole chain reaction [legalize it = big money for the "market" > tax it > shame it and condemn those that use it > re-criminalize it > etc...]

Whilst the boozers [I'm personally in favor of legal cigarettes, marijuana and booze - as long as all are utilized RESPONSIBLY by adults ONLY - AND these items are TAXED WITHIN REASON) go on their "happy" (It looks like folks might be able to buy wine in their supermarkets soon...) way...

Crazy stuff?

I'd say.

But I'm more interested in the thoughts of others, right this moment, than my own! So please DO [Thank you.] add YOUR comments!

[If any errors are noted in my write-up, please let me know and they will be (after checking back with the noted sources) corrected. There is much more information available on these topics via the CDC and other links mentioned and/or provided.]


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