Wednesday 14 December 2011

Yes, it's all about prohibition

An anti-smoking group calling themselves Tobacco-Free Washington have taken their crusade to its logical conclusion by demanding the prohibition of tobacco. Under their proposed law, possession would be a class C felony. Sale would be a class B felony.

Yes, I am serious and so are they. Initiative 512 reads...

(1) It is unlawful to sell, manufacture, or possess any tobacco products including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco.

(2) A person who:

(a) Sells or manufactures any tobacco product is guilty of a class B felony punishable according to chapter 9A.20 RCW; or

(b) Possesses any tobacco product is guilty of a class C felony punishable according to chapter 9A.20 RCW.

(3) For the purposes of this section, “tobacco product” includes any product containing tobacco or nicotine that is expected or intended for human consumption.

The prohibitionists are now looking for 300,00 signatures to move Initiative 512 forward. The good news is that they have used a clumsy definition of tobacco products which includes pharmaceutical nicotine 'therapies', so the bill will meet strong opposition from Big Pharma and the various anti-smoking groups they fund.

You have to laugh at the guy who is behind this law. Dr Ed Dolan is a dentist who doesn't sound too bright (you can listen to the half-wit here). Whenever prohibitionists are looking for a handy precedent to seem less nuts, it's only a matter of time before they point to seat-belts laws. They are, after all, one of the few laws which are imposed on people for their own good.

Such a law, if it came in to existence, would likely illicit a lot of resistance from those who believe taking away their right to smoke is a violation of their civil liberties. So Dolan compares it to the seat belt law - a law that yes, infringes on civil liberties, but significantly increases the average life expectancy of someone living in Washington.

One of the main objections to seat-belt laws in the 1980s was that they would be the start of a slippery slope to banning smoking, drinking and Lord knows what else. "Nonsense!", said the campaigners, but here we are 30 years later doing just that.

Dolan does acknowledge that it treads on a slippery slope. 

Dude, you're calling for the possession of tobacco to be a felony. Possession of alcohol wasn't even a felony under Prohibition. You don't need to worry about treading on the slippery slope. You hurtled down that a while ago.

When [it was] suggested that if cigarettes are outlawed, then red meat and alcohol could be next, Dolan said he's not sure about what could happen regarding health concerns and laws.

At least this numpty doesn't try to deny it. It's the next logical step, innit?


Mr A said...

Will never happen. Not if, as you say, it also impacts on almighty Big Pharma.

But if someone with a semi-functioning brain rewords it....? Hmmm, scary. I'd initially think they'd oppose it because of the loss of tax take and the obvious rise in smuggling. But then obvious logical outcomes have never hindered Tobacco Control's actions in the past.

(That said, it will be amusing to see ASH US and all their little helpers arguing against such a prohibition. That will sort of hamstring them when some bright spark does decide to reword it a few years down the line....

Tony Palazzolo said...

Several years ago an attempt was made to make it illegal to sell tobacco one of the states (Iowa, Idaho?). Groups that spoke out against it included the ACS and other anti groups. As you know they derive part of their funding from the MSA and banning sales of cigarettes would diminish their funding. I wonder if people like this don't hurt the movement more then they help it. It seems that eventually the public will look at these people and understand how they are utterly nuts.

Anonymous said...

I didn't go read any of it yet, but you know what? Nit-wit for nit-wit I prefer the ones that call for total prohibition of the product than the ones that want to keep collecting the handsome dividends of tobacco but prohibit the smokers everywhere instead. Somehow this nit-wit is more honest.

Iro Cyr

Leg-iron said...

Their proposed law criminalises vitamin B3.

That'll be interesting.

westcoast2 said...

Their proposed law criminalises vitamin B3

and potatoes

PaulinMO said...

The state you were talking about was North Dakota in 2003.
While most online media references have expired, one remains:;jsessionid=7B7E19A23E1C1BC564659FA3D540EAE6#page-78
on pages 75-77 that highlights the incongruous cowardice and veiled avarice of the ACS, ALA, AHA, etc. IN SPADES!
Don't look for them to jump on Dr. Dolans bandwagon because he is a major threat to their MSA & excise tax gravy train.
Part of me wants him to succeed because the TC nut-cases created him and now they'll have to back-peddle their lying rhetoric to preserve their opulence.
It's put up or STFU time, Tony.

Anonymous said...

And to think I use to live there!

HARLEY I beleive I can tell you right where these lil devils have their orifice at!

Anonymous said...

Cigarette Prohibition in Washington, 1893-1911 Essay 5339 : Printer-Friendly Format

The first Washington state elected official to make national history in a crusade against cigarettes was not Attorney General Christine Gregoire, who brokered a settlement between the tobacco industry and 46 states in 1998, or Metropolitan King County Council Member Greg Nickels, who led a campaign to restrict cigarette advertising that same year. The distinction belongs to C. T. Roscoe, an Everett attorney and Republican state legislator who sponsored the law that made Washington the first state to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone, adults as well as minors. The year was 1893.

Hammering Down Coffin Nails

The law was struck down in the federal courts the following July, but Progressive reformers in Washington State continued to agitate against “coffin nails” (a.k.a.. little white slavers, dope sticks, devil's toothpicks, Satan sticks, coffin pills, little white devils, etc.). The State Legislature passed another cigarette prohibition law in 1907. It enacted an even more sweeping law two years later, banning the possession as well as the sale and manufacture of cigarettes and cigarette paper. Cigarettes remained articles of contraband in Washington until 1911, when the legislators conceded defeat -- at least temporarily -- in the battle to make the state a smoke-free zone.


Anonymous said...

From Dave Atherton

@Pauline I still have a link too.

Anonymous said...

And here's the latest insanity:

Action on Smoking and Health Australia spokesman Stafford Sanders said a state-wide ban was long overduefor NSW.

"Tobacco is a highly toxic, carcinogenic contaminant,"he said.

"There is no good reason why it should be treated differently to asbestos."