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01 July, 2002 :: 4:35 p.m.

I am a smoker ...

I'll pause while people wrinkle their noeses in disgust and find a new diary to read.

This is getting out of hand...a new tax in NYC just pushed the price of cigarettes in the city to over $7 a pack...and here in good ol' PA, we have a 69 cent tax coming our way the 15th of this cigarettes will be over $3 a pack even at places like Puffs where I buy my cigarettes and will jump to something like $4.50 a pack at places like gas stations and grocery stores, etc.

As if I wasn't having trouble with this whole patriotism thing before, it's really biting my ass now. Cigarettes will cost almost as much as a 6 pack of beer--beer which causes countless accidents, as well as health problems. And actually you can buy a bottle of wine cheaper than cigarettes in some places now...I'm not complaining about alcohol, but my point is there are countless other things that are bad for people that are A-OK, but cigarette smoking is now practically an immoral act in this society... I agree that smoking around kids or people who already have breathing problems is wrong--hell anywhere that your smoke is blowing on someone else that really has no choice but to sit there and take it, it's wrong. I'm not going to apologize for smoking outside and I'm not going to apologize for smoking at the bar or in a designated smoking area, such as the breakroom at work, where some nonsmokers choose to sit regardless of secondhand smoke. And I don't think that smokers should have to carry the weight of budget defecits on their own shoulders. Smog from factories and cars is virtually accepted and ignored in most areas and they actually have advisories on whether you should go outside in most cities. Junk food is ignored despite the health hazards and social stigma of being obese...but this is on the fringes of some politicians agendas to make names for themselves...there is actually a small movement to tax junk foods...of course it probably won't pass because how do you decide what is and isn't junk food, how do you say twinkies deserve to be taxed and not red meat? Plus everyone has some sort of snack that they love and don't want to be forced to pay taxes on.

Smokers already have to endure severe social stigma to the point where strangers passing by will yell at you (right, Pat?), they have to put up with knowing their habit will probably catch up with them at some point in their life (I've only smoked for 4 1/2 years and I already notice some of the effects). I don't want to smoke the rest of my life; I also don't want to be forced into quitting. We have to deal with being herded into little designated areas, many people have to go outside and endure whatever weather mother nature throws at them while trying to get a nicotine fix. Why is their such a huge stigma on us and not the idiot driving a car that gets 8 miles to the gallon and creates huge plumes of dark can they say that cigarettes and second-hand smoke are the cause of all these problems for nonsmokers when the air quality is so piss poor all over the place. Obviously if you live with a smoker and you are stuck indoors with them and their smoking, you have a right to complain...I'm sick and tired, however, of the people that walk by on the street covering their mouths or giving nasty looks like I just gave them cancer right there on the spot...enough of smokers being the "whipping boys" (and girls) for the rest of society. Enough taxing our asses off claiming it's to recover some of the healthcare costs of smoking when the money is being uses for many other things...either leave smokers alone or start taxing every little vice people have and see how long it takes people to start bitching.

I blow a symbolic puff of smoke in the face of everyone supporting these new and outrageous taxes on smokers. I'll quit when I want, not when you tell me to.

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