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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
George Burns, Winter 94/95

(continued from page 3)

I enjoyed the trilogy of articles on the antismoking hysteria in the Autumn 1994 issue of Cigar Aficionado. Reflecting on the articles, I saw many similarities to another issue that I have been involved in: gun control. The amount of hysteria and inconsistency is similar. States pass gun bans, but let criminals go free. They crusade against guns as if guns themselves are begging people to use them to commit crimes. There is a lack of sound statistical and scientific evidence that any form of gun control would reduce crime.

As a cigar and gun aficionado, I lament the crusaders who attack us just as they did with Prohibition. (Don't people ever learn?) Banning something that you don't appreciate or enjoy does not make sense, but is a common theme in our society these days. From the "moral right" wanting to ban books and movies, curfews for teens (again taking a right from the many because of the few), banning logging, to current attacks on the tobacco industry, taking away basic individual rights is seen as a viable way to get what a special interest group wants. Whatever happened to "to each his own" and compromise?

I want to echo your call to be heard. Write your politicians. Don't wait. As Russell Baker said in his column, "It would be proper for conservatives to get concerned about the anti-smoking crusade. What it attacks...is...the right of those who are disapproved of by the high and mighty to be left alone." It is time for collective action. I am referring to those of you who are unsure or unwilling to be politically involved. If you awake to political action now because your smoking rights are being challenged, that is good, but there are many other issues that need your attention.

A quote by Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984) says it all: "In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by then no one was left to speak up."

You could easily substitute various current issues into the appropriate places above to make this a modern-day story. I feel that all interested parties must stand up to the prohibitionists. If you have been neutral on some issues, I think you can see how allowing them to gain momentum on one issue snowballs into more restrictions on your freedoms. Collective action by conservatives can stop this hysteria.

Lawrence A. O'Brien
Del Rio, Texas

* * *

Dear Marvin,

While cigars are gaining notoriety as trendy accessories to both the well-heeled and the individualistic, they are also, unfortunately, being used symbolically by those who do not necessarily appreciate their finer uses.

The best use for a cigar is to transport the smoker to a state of relaxation. Some, however, think they are best used to accentuate a marketing message based on the cachet associated with finer cigars.


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