Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
George Burns, Winter 94/95
(continued from page 1)
I refuse to make myself miserable about this unfortunate tide and I refuse to surrender any of my dignity to the whining masses. Openly fighting with "do-gooders" won't help our cause. In the same way that I deal with pests, annoyances and other inconveniences in life, I have established my own set of rules by which to live and smoke. Smoking is then easy as one, two, three. Call them, if you wish, my "smoker's standards," "puffer's principles" or "three tenets for tobacco users." They are as follows:
--I don't smoke around nonsmokers.
Our society has grown to accept public rudeness aimed at smokers. Even polite requests to extinguish are barbed. Could there ever be justification? I recall enjoying a meal at a nice restaurant. The pipe smoker at the next table finished his meal and lit a bowl of latakia tobacco, which gets its pungent aroma from curing over smoldering camel dung. The stench was more offensive than the strongest body odor I could imagine. It ruined my dinner, and I told him so. Why would I ever want to do that to someone else? "Smoking sections" in restaurants usually don't keep smoke from the nonsmoking sections. Bottom line: when indoors, at work, home or vehicle, I don't subject others to my smoke and I don't subject myself to their rudeness or whining.
--I don't debate on smoking relative to health, the media or society in general.
Like debating religion or politics, there can be no winners. Bottom line: I show support or opposition with my wallet or with my vote.
--I don't patronize businesses with double standards for smokers (prohibiting pipes or cigars while permitting cigarettes).
I don't have a problem with a "no-smoking" policy applicable to all. As a pipe/cigar smoker, however, I am particularly offended by this hypocrisy, especially when the establishment serves up food that has been described by the Surgeon General as "a heart attack on a platter."
Some of your readers may shun my principles as "rolling over and playing dead." So be it. I nevertheless enjoy my pipe on my drive to work, at lunch and on my drive home, and my cigar each evening at home. I am not harassed or tormented by my many nonsmoking friends and co-workers. As I have not infringed on their lifestyles, they do not infringe on mine.
In spite of all of the nonsmoking sentiment in our society, let's not lose sight of the forest for the trees. After all, Prohibition didn't work before and it won't work this time. We'll just have to yield a little.
Quietly and with dignity, I enjoy smoking and reading your magazine.
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