Cigarettes, Marijuana, and Muslims

I wonder who in modern American society is the most vilified. Which segment of the population is most demonized? Is it conservatives? Maybe Christians? Or could it be smokers? The joke is that these days, if you want to get ahead, you need to be a crippled, black female abortion activist. Put that on an application for anything remotely aligned with the government and watch the cash start rolling in.

On the flip side, try being a middle-aged conservative white smoker. Just imagine the discrimination. One could take away the middle-aged, the conservative and the white and still have the single most discriminated segment of society – the smoker.

Now due to education, public pressure and massive tax increases, cigarette smoking has been dropping steadily in the United States for decades. According to Real Science, “In 1997, 36.4% of Americans smoked. By 2013 the rate fell to 17.8%,” no doubt some do to ridiculously high sin taxes the states and feds impose.

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In 2009, the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes was raised from $.62 to $1.01. The New York State tax is $4.35 and Illinois the taxes well above $7.00 a pack. With a tax that high, it must caused many to stop purchasing. This demonstrates what we conservatives have said forever. If you want less of something – tax it. That doesn’t just apply to cigarettes, but everything – yet, liberals can’t seem, or refuse to make that connection with anything else in the marketplace.

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It’s also interesting that the same liberals can’t seem to connect the success of their non-smoking campaigns with a loss of revenue to the state coffers for things like health programs for kids.

So states are flipping reason on its head by taxing a legal product, cigarettes, out of existence and replacing it with newly legalized marijuana. Now that makes sense.

The HuffPo writes, for example, “Oregon voters passed these initiatives not as an endorsement of marijuana per se, but as an effort to undo the damage done by its criminalization: out-of-control youth access, massive numbers of arrests, and the crime, corruption and violence that comes with a multi-billion-dollar illicit market. Tax revenues derived from sales, meanwhile, can provide local and state governments with badly needed funds for education and other critical services.”

For the political class, the only pertinent part of that paragraph is the “multi-billion-dollar” part. States are pushing for legalization of pot for that reason alone. No government can stand anything being sold without getting their take.

Never mind that pot is 100 times worse for you than cigarettes. Maybe I embellish, but I bet not by much. But unlike cigarettes, marijuana is presently in Vogue, so for now, it’s safe for politicians to come down on the side of legalization. They can be against it later when it inevitably becomes a problem. 

But what of Big Tobacco? What are they going to do with an ever shrinking market share? Who’s left to market their product to? Well, how about Muslims.

Back to Real Science, where the article states the need for Big Tobacco, “to take its addictive products to new, emerging markets. High on tobacco companies’ priority lists are Islamic countries. But in the Middle East and other bastions of Islam, smoking is a tough sell.”

“‘Islam has a spiritual and legal tradition that provides guidance on smoking to its adherents,’ writes Mark Pettigrew, the Director of the Public Health Research Consortium and a professor of Public Health Evaluation at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. And according to that guidance, tobacco is widely discouraged or even prohibited.”

Okay, so subjugation of other religions, executions by stoning, sex slavery, beheadings and rape are allowed, but tobacco is where they draw the line in the sand?

Yet, according to Real Science, memos revealed that there is “a concerted effort by tobacco companies to recruit and pay off religious leaders and scholars to portray smoking as acceptable. Accompanying these bribes were attempts to reinterpret the Koran.”

That’s not like bribes, payoffs and kickbacks from green energy companies and advocates to politicians for combating global warming, is it?

So if it’s not allowed in Islamic society then why, “in Jordan do 51% of men smoke, while in Egypt, 43.6% of men do? The epidemic is particularly alarming in Lebanon, where 52.6% of the adult population smokes,” according to the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

There’s really an Institute for Social Policy and Understanding? Wow!

So why do they smoke? I’ll tell you why. People smoke because they’re bored. Sure it’s addicting, but the poor smoke because they have nothing better to do. And in the Middle East, due to theocratic rule for centuries, there’s no economic growth, no free market and no jobs, so men just sit around and smoke –Koran or no Koran.

But rather than market cigarettes to Muslim countries, I think Big Tobacco should learn from states like Colorado, Oregon, and California and, instead, market marijuana.

Maybe then, if the Middle East is completely stoned, they will stop attacking and killing people – as long as there are also airdrops of Doritos on a regular basis.

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