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Out of the Humidor

The Editors
From the Print Edition:
John Travolta, Jan/Feb 99

(continued from page 3)

I was pleased to see your recent commentary, as you discredited Winston's ad campaign that suggested class warfare between the cigarette and cigar industry. What a strange position for Winston to decide to pick a fight with an ally.

As Americans struggle to maintain our constitutional freedoms, I've been OK in siding with the entire tobacco industry in fighting for individual rights to choose. But I've always felt uncomfortable with any notion that smoking a cigar is analogous to cigarette smoking. If push comes to shove, the cigarette group can go find their own alley to blow smoke in.

We all know that hard scientific evidence proves cigarette smoking is unhealthy, but the recent government cigar report has yet to be statistically and objectively analyzed. Of course, I've seen a couple inappropriate conclusion jumpers, media members happy to encroach on another of our freedoms. The evidence they've used as the foundation for their comments are based on assumptions of cigar smokers inhaling, and environments withunidentified ventilation.

I used to be appalled that many bars and other commercial venues would allow cigarette smoking but abolished the finer smokes. In my mind it's no different than saying, "Go ahead, drink cheap beer and lousy whiskey, but don't you dare drink Cognac in this establishment." For eons I've put up with cigarette smokers for the sake of respecting their choice. I expect the same respect, and I'll be more reasonably conscientious of others around than many cigarette smokers I've observed.

Here in California it's illegal for any bar to allow us to make our own decision to smoke legal products of any kind, in these social places we go to of our own volition. Cigars, cigarettes--what's the difference in this overall issue of personal options?

I just heard an editorial comment on a news radio station that stated the majority of bar patrons now support this antismoking legislation, whereas they didn't a year ago. Duh, didn't it occur to them that the bar crowd is now composed of fewer smokers--as they've been treated like second-class citizens--which obviously affects the marketing research now tainted by a larger proportion of purists? I used to look forward to visiting a cigar bar and enjoying an after-dinner drink and fine cigar. Now, these establishments are actually outlawed; places considered too dangerous for this state to allow.

So typical of American conservatives and overreactive, relentless legislators that have been brainwashed into thinking that the fix for everything is to establish more laws; and all to create a society hell-bent on coercing us into conservative behavior and subverting our personal freedoms as promised by our forefathers. We are plagued by others imposing their values on us, and they do this with motives of their own self-assuming, moralistic ego gratification.

Enough from these tyrants; give us back our country, the real America.

Joel Weiss
Camarillo, California

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