Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Ron Perelman, Spring 95
(continued from page 19)
I am 25 years old and convinced that what my eyes (and palate) have been introduced to is not an evil, disgusting habit, as almost all I have encountered think, but rather an opportunity to meet some great new friends and smoke a lot of fantastic cigars. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what my favorite brand is, as I haven't found it yet, but I am having great fun trying. Thanks to my boss in Pittsburgh (he knows who he is), and thank you again.
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From the land that gave the world Errol Flynn, Olivia Newton-John, the great white shark and Crocodile Dundee: to see the machinations and drama in your country on television regarding the nicotine-in-cigarettes-inquiry was pretty sorry stuff. But you are not alone. Virtually the same kind of thing is happening in this country. Watching the top brass of your major cigarette companies being grilled before Congress was, in my opinion, totally uncalled for. I say it smacks of political grandstanding.
No doubt our antismoking group would take heart in the developments in your country in furthering the cause here. Their agenda would be to try to duplicate (in whole or part) any far-reaching precedent set in your country.
A smoker is now treated like an outcast. But how the tide has turned, from being able to smoke in your office (I used to chain-smoke cigars in my work area, a government building, till 1989 when the total nonsmoking restrictions came in), in buses, planes, trains, shops and supermarkets, restaurants and cafés and most other buildings, etc., to the present situation where all of these areas are or will be out of bounds. You can see the hilarious spectacle of groups and sometimes hordes of people puffing away (on cigarettes, mainly) around the main entrances of government and public buildings. There's a movie here, I think.
The federal government is reaping a few billion dollars from the sale of tobacco products on one hand, and on the other placing restrictions on sales and consumption, with higher prices on tobacco products in the years to come. The government uses the guise of regular, hefty price increases to try to influence smokers to give up smoking, and, to some extent, this has worked. Common sense would dictate that this on going "war" between smokers and nonsmokers (and the legislators and tobacco consumers) has come far enough. Compromise should be the key here.
In the meantime, I'll con-tinue to enjoy smoking Cuban, Dominican and Honduran cigars.
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