Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Letter I sent to IL House Reps (very long)

Here's the initial email I sent off to IL House Reps back in April:


I'm Jay. I'm an Illinois resident, and I'm from Chicago. I'm also not in favor of having a statewide smoking ban. A statewide smoking ban will not level the playing field, as some ban supporters claim. Sure, all of the Illinois comunities would be under a ban, meaning there would be no competition among businesses of cities that currently have smoking bans and the nearby cities without the bans.

But what about competition between hospitality businesses, in particular, in neighboring STATES? A statewide smoking ban in Illinois means lots of Illinois smokers will drive out of state just to find a bar or restaurant that permits smoking.

No smoking customers for the businesses in Illinois means no money for those owners. And in some cases, the owners might be forced to lay off workers due to a lack of customers/actual work at the businesses who actually depend on smoking customers. Ban supporters claim smoking bans don't hurt businesses. But this wasn't the case when I recall hearing about a Tinley Park tavern owner having a serious drop in revenues at the start of 2007, when Tinley Park's smoking ban went into effect. This owner eventually got her wish of a postponement on the smoking ban during January. I think the fact the Bears were in the playoffs and how lots of smokers enjoy going to taverns to enjoy their drinks and smokes while watching the games played a role in that decision to postpone the ban.

Smokers in Illinois might move out of state altogether with a smoking ban. If they can't smoke anywhere within the public, not even at adults-only places, what's the point of them living in Illinois? They're better off living in a state where they would feel welcome as American citizens. Since these Illinois smokers also pay taxes, that means less money for the state, if Illinois loses smokers as actual residents. And I do mean smokers pay taxes in general. Tobacco is only part of the long list of taxes ALL smokers pay.

Thanks for reading. Smoking bans have nothing to do with health reasons. Otherwise, Illinois would ban tobacco sales statewide too. And not just ban smoking in places.


Here's one reply I received from one of those Reps.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: John DAmico
To: Jay
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 1:21:22 PM
Subject: Re: Please consider these cons of having a smoke-free Illinois

Dear Jay,

Thank you for taking the time to contact my office about second hand smoke, and smoking bans. I really appreciate constituents such as yourself who take the time to educate me about issues and your positions. I will take your words into careful consideration when I vote.

This is a complex issue. I do believe in individual rights and responsibilities. Smoking is an adult choice that should not be dictated by the State. At the same time, the State does have a responsibility to protect non-smokers who do not wish to be exposed to second-hand smoke.

Please understand, regardless of what action the State takes on this issue, it will have very limited impact on our lives, because communities in our area have already passed local ordinances. For example, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance which already bans smoking in most public areas, and will ban smoking in bars and restaurant bars on July 1, 2008. The Village of Morton Grove passed an ordinance which will ban smoking in most public places, including restaurants, effective July 31, 2007. The Village of Niles recently passed an ordinance restricting smoking in public areas.

Please call on me if I can ever be of service.

John C. D¢Amico
15th District


And finally, my rebuttal to John's reply.

Dear John,

Thank you for your reply, and I will keep your offer in mind to call you in the future if I want to share my opinions on future issues.

I just simply want to comment on two things you brought up in your reply.

1. You say Illinois has a right to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. Illinois can do this by encouraging all public places to use adequate ventilation indoors. Even enclosed rooms with adequate ventilation could work for smokers. Or maybe Illinois can ban tobacco sales. The state can protect nonsmokers by not allowing tobacco sales at all. But since the state depends on smokers to give the state money for tobacco taxes, the latter idea will never happen.

Nonsmokers can protect themselves by not approaching areas with several smokers gathered around a building outside. Illinois would've banned smoking decades ago if they really wanted to protect workers from secondhand smoke. And even at that, I have yet to hear of a noonsmoker who died from inhaling secondhand smoke. I've heard of some who have suffered from inhaling the smoke. But I haven't seen a death certificate that specifically mentions "Inhaled secondhand smoke" as the direct cause for a nonsmoker's death.

2. You referred to a few communities with smoking bans already, Chicago included. Well, I heard about 34 percent of the Illinois communities have smoking bans already. That means the majority of communities in this state don't want to violate smokers' freedom to use a legal product, and business owners' freedom to make a living. Glenview is one Illinois community which considered a smoking ban, but they decided to say "NO to a smoking ban" in the end. This decision came in March 2007.

Thanks again for your reply to my initial e-mail.

Smoke Cops

As much as I'd love to share my 100% honest thoughts on smoke cops, I'll put it like this. They oughta spend more time trying to keep the streets (and alleys) as clean as possible. But even I know that's a challenge for them. Especially if the alleys have no cams. Those alleys are the best spots for those who may not be violent but still believe in taking other type of thrills so to speak.

But anyway, I will share my only confrontation with a smoke cop.

2 years ago, I saw a guy smoking at the train stop near Wrigley Field. The platform was crowded with Cub fans. So I went near him and lit up my own cig. Neither one of us said a word.

And then a cop approached ME and said "I see you work here. You know you can't smoke up here." I put my cig out in front of him as my way of showing him it was out. And he didn't give me a ticket.

This freaky cop demanded me to put it out, but he didn't tell the guy standing next to me to put it out. That cop should've done his job by telling both of us to put it out. I sincerely hope that cop just overlooked the guy smoking (since it WAS crowded). But part of me believes he gave the other guy a break since both of them are part of the same group so to speak.

Now in modern times, it doesn't matter what color you are. If the smoke cop catches anyone smoking on that train platform, that person is getting a ticket. That does sux in a sense. But at least the smoke cops are ticketing ANY fans for smoking on the platform now when caught.

I still think the cops need to spend more time focusing on the streets than catching disobedient smokers. Because if catching smokers is all what the cops did, that would make it easier for thrill-seekers to get away with stuff in the streets. I guess that also includes bros who sell different items in the streets as well (like CDs, jewels, etc). They don't have to worry about getting arrested if cops are more worried about catching smokers breaking the ban.

Cops are a benefit to society when they do what they're supposed to do. And that's protect citizens from violence and not tobacco smoke. I know if a false terrorist alarm goes out and millions of folks (cops included) flee out of the Windy City, I ain't fleeing myself when I know it's a false alarm. I might smoke in places I always dreamed about smoking at. And I wouldn't be the only one taking advantage of a golden opportunity like that. LOL

I didn't exactly give my totally honest thoughts on cops. But I did leave an idea on what I think of them.

Peaceful Thoughts (mostly peaceful)

This is a weekend, where people relax, have fun, and go out to places. I meant to leave a more relaxed post on smoking. I couldn't resist responding to that Q someone intended to leave as a comment. That Q helped me let it out on that "Save the kids" saying. I dunno how antis can save kids from SHS when there are kids who actually smoke themselves.

Antis claim Big Tobacco make smoking look glamorous. Well it IS glamorous. If there was never anything good about smoking, then 20 percent of the American adults who still smoke would quit.

Antis claim smokers have bad luck in making friends. Being a smoker has certainly helped me meet more intelligent smokers. A few of those smokers I also ended up meeting offline as well. I also meet smokers offline when a bro or sis sees me enjoying a cig outside. Smokers are intelligent? As far as smokers who recognize the truth on smoking bans go and the truth on antis' claims....I'd agree REAL smokers are intelligent. Brainwashed smokers need to be educated on the truth, and not just antis.

I must be very intelligent for a smoker if I received comments from outside of this blog. Some are impressed at what they read on here, and some think my thoughts are actually more stronger in here than the posts I leave in groups/forums. Well, I'm just being honest in my thoughts. I guess people can see for themselves I wasn't playing when I said I'm proud to be a smoker and of my heritage....since the city side of me comes out at times. I didn't lie about my age range either if I sound more like a smoker who's been lighting up for decades. Since most smokers around my age are sadly brainwashed. But as least some of them enjoy smoking those Ports.

I know if every smoker in this world had my mindset, we wouldn't have smoking bans and darn high cig prices. Since a city knows a smoking ban would be a failure if every smoker in the city ignored no smoking signs. And Chicago would get nothing in cig sales if smokers either went to Indiana, or switched to MYOs.

Missouri polliticans asked the residents down there "Should the cig tax be increased?" The majority of the residents said NO on a cig tax increase. That's the way politics should be. Residents of IL (especially smokers and owners) should've been asked if we need a statewide ban. Since I pay taxes to this state in several ways, I'M the one that should've decided if IL needed a state ban. Not a brainwashed, screwed-up House member or Senator. I understand not all of them are brainwashed. But still, smokers needed a say on the state ban issue.

I smoke, I pay taxes, and I vote. But I can't voice my opinion (as part of a Springfield poll) as to whether or not IL needs a smoking ban? That's bogus! I oughta get a refund on state taxes I paid throughout my life. If you (the Springfield folks) ain't gonna listen to me, then you don't need to take my money! And I do have my ways to get cigs. So you ain't getting IL tobacco tax money from me anyway.

You think I'm playing? Watch how some IL smokers AND business owners move out when 2008 comes. I wouldn't be surprised if lots of them agree with my thinking of "I'm not giving you tax money if you refuse to listen to me! Buh-Bye, state of ILL-thinking-nois!"

If IL had warm weather like CA in winters, then more people would accept smoking outside in the IL winters.

Followup to smoking in cars with kids

I see an anon poster asked me on here "Would you be outraged if there was a law prohibiting a parent punching his/her kid?" It was a Q as part of a comment I rejected on here. So it likely never appeared for others' viewing.

I dunno why he/she was surprised at my attitude. I'm a smoking activist and I oppose society taking control of smokers' lives with dumb laws such as no smoking in cars. Smokers own cars. Not the governments.

It's more harmful for a kid to be in a car where the driver is speeding down the street with loud music being played. Yeah, there's a law against loud music in cars, as well as speeding. But do you think every person is obedient to every law? Those parents know what to do when the coast is clear on the streets. Light up the cigs, and pump up the volume in the car!

In response to that anon's parents punching kids Q Of course I wouldn't be outraged at a law like that. A parent punching his/her kid is a definite example of giving harm to the child. Inhaling SHS isn't harm. Millions of kids (myself included) grew up during the days when lots of parents smoked in cars. Those kids turned out to be fine adults, and their health turned out to be fine.

If inhaling smoke in a car contributes to a kid's death, it's a wonder why millions of those former kids are still living today as productive adults in society.

SHS is not deadly for anyone to inhale. If it was, people would be dropping dead on the streets from SHS inhalation. I would've dropped dead in my mother's crib as a lil boy. But if you think it sounds stupid for someone to die from inhaling SHS instantly, guess what bud? It's equally stupid to call a kid inhaling smoke in a car harmful for him/her, and will contribute to his/her death.

Here's an experiment. Put that kid (or an adult) in an enclosed room with a group of smokers for 2 hours. Put a second person in another enclosed room with a car running. Meaning the second person would be inhaling vehicle fumes for 2 hours instead.

How much do you wanna bet the only person who comes out alive from those enclosed rooms (after 2 hours) is the kid in the room with smokers? The point is even if you're in an enclosed room, you might have better luck dying from inhaling vehicle fumes than from inhaling SHS.

How come society never viewed inhaling smoke in a car as dangerous during the 20th century? But all of a freaky sudden, it's a "crime" to smoke in a car with a kid?

Nobody viewed smoking in a car with a kid as dangerous years ago because the antismoking poison-anda wasn't in full bloom back then. As far as I know, nobody tested to see if a kid wo uld actually end up getting harmed and/or suffer death from inhaling SHS in a car.

I dunno if that person who left the comment was a brainwashed smoker. Could've been, and I could care less if that was an actual anti.

I know more smoking activists need to spend more time saving the SMOKERS (underage smokers included) from the anti poison-anda those morons have left across America. That comment I read was an example of someone infected by anti poison-anda. The smokers I'm referring to are the ones who regret starting smoking, they actualy believe they're bad citizens, and they honestly believe smoking bans are good for America. THESE are the smokers that need to be saved from BS thrown by antis!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Smoking in cars with kids

Maine has a law that makes it illegal to smoke in cars with kids inside of it. I'm guessing this includes (if Chicago had a similar law) kids who ride on motorcycles with Dad who smoke or "buds" zooming around for business reasons.

A car is the parent's property like a house. Therefore, whether kids or adults are in the car, the parent has every darn right to smoke in his/her property. And suppose the driver of the car or motorcycle is an actual teen? I guess that teen would get locked up for smoking in the car or on the bike, since it's illegal for him/her to be smoking period?

Or what if the kid just turned 18? Will the smoke cop still give the adult smoker a ticket for driving in the smoke-filled car? Or will the cop ask for the 18 yo person's ID, to prove he/she IS 18?

So many controversial Q's assosciated with this dumb smoking law. If this law ever comes to IL, I hope the smoke cops will be prepared for speed chases when it comes to catching smoking drivers with kids in the car. I dunno how the cop is gonna catch a Newport bro or a Marlboro dad zooming away with their sons on the back of motorcycles. Especially if the bike driver has the capablity to do something else while zooming (and I don't mean smoking the cigs on a motorcycle).

I'll leave it like that before I get carried away. That's how I honestly think on certain smoking issues because I'm from a place where law-breakers are common (and normal for me to see). I can imagine Maine parents being ticked off of that law though, I wouldn't recommend speeding, because even a Maine smoke cop might be shocked to see an innocent smoker do that.

Thoughts on outdoor smoking issues

Banning smoking outdoors is bogus. Antis got their wish of smoke-free buildings. Now they're complaining about smoke in doorways. Either I can smoke inside or outside. They can't have it both ways.

That's also why there are laws saying you can't smoke so-and-so feet from building entrances, so antis won't have to smell smoke. Based on that logic, vehicles shouldn't be allowed to go down streets. It's not OK for a nonsmoker to inhale SHS from doorways. But yet, there's no low protecting them from vehicle fume inhalation...fumes that are more dangerous than SHS. That's screwed up.

If I feel like I'm not smoking less than 15 feet away from a building, I hope I can request a measurement.

I know some places prohibit smoking at the beaches. But some want smoke-free beaches because the beach workers are tired of sweeping up cig butts. I bet they're tired of sweeping up butts on downtown sidewalks alone.

Here's a piece of friendly advice for those workers. If you hate sweeping up butts, either quit the job, or let the politicians know that smoking bans are making your jobs inconvient. If smokers could smoke inside as THEY should, then sweeping up butts outside wouldn't be an issue. But as far as smoking on beaches is concerned, what's the point of me spending time in the sun when I can't smoke and relax? Antis argue kids can pick up butts on the beach and swallow them. If there's a kid who actually does that on the beach, then that kid's parent is irresponsible for not watching the brat.

That's another thing about smoking outside. Antis snitching about smokers "littering" with their butts. Well, if cities learned to install ashtrays near each building and on the corners of every street, I bet smokers littering with butts wouldn't be much of an issue. I see trash cans on the corners of every intersection downtown. But I see NO ashtrays! Not even near actual buildings!

I know some smokers save their butts and throw em away when they can get to a trash can (for dumping em). If it's a crime for me to litter with butts when I'm finished smoking outside, then how come I see no ashtrays I can use in the streets? Sometimes I have no choice but to drop the butt on the sidewalk, with all due respect. I can see dropping empty PACKS in the streets being wrong. Those can be disposed of in trash cans.

Did it ever occur to antis that they would see less butts on the streets if us smokers were allowed to enjoy ourselves and our lil friends inside of places? If smoking was meant to be outside, then smoking never would've been popular in the old days. At least that's my belief. Why buy cigs if tobacco companies said decades ago "You can only smoke cigarettes outdoors?" They never said that because they KNOW inhaling SHS is not deadly at all. Smokers back then would've gotten as mad as me if someone demanded them to "Take it outside!"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hospitality Workers

If I worked in a smoke-free bar, I'd feel depressed on that job. No customers, and then when someone DOES enter the bar, I'd be lucky to get 5 bucks as a tip.

I heard about hospitality workers who saw decreases in tips once the restaurants or bars became smoke-free. Not only did the tips go down, but the number of customers on an average basis went down. Antis don't believe in giving tips. I'm telling the truth. I served lots of nonsmoking customers on my Wrigley Field job 100s of times. Most of them like giving coins as tips. But smokers give me actual bucks as tips.

Even if I never smoked, I'd conclude smokers are friendlier hospitality customers than nonsmokers. Smokers understand how hard bar/restaurant workers work hard at their jobs. But nonsmokers? They don't give a squat on how hard I work. They just want their order and the darn change!

My thoughts go out to hospitality workers who have to get unemployment checks after their taverns were forced to close down. Working in a bar/restaurant is all some of those workers have ever done in their lives. What the hey are they supposed to do when a smoking ban makes them lose their jobs? It's tough for even myself to get hired at a place other than a ballpark.

Smoking bans DO hurt businesses. And when you ask an anti "How about opening up your OWN smoke-free bar or restaurant?" they're quiet then. Antis don't want to run their own smoke-free businesses. They just want to wipe away ALL smoker-friendly joints!

"Smoking isn't a habit for us"

I remember an antismoking bro telling me a similar quote. On how he doesn't smoke because it's a habit for W's.

I didn't respond to him, but he sounds like the type of anti who assosciates smoking with one particular group of people. I hate to burst his bubble, but people of ALL races/nationalities enjoy smoking. Including Africans who actually live in Africa. I hope he has seen sport teams celebrating winning world championships before, because I saw more than just "w" players smoking cigars.

Or maybe he falsely assumed that since he lives in an area where we are not common, then that must mean we don't smoke. Well, that anti bro needs to visit a big city where black residents are more common. I bet he'll see more of us smoking in a big city. And I'm sure if he ever takes a trip to Africa, he'll find MORE African smokers over there. Maybe he forgot about Christopher Columbus being introduced to pipe smoking by Indians in the late 1400's! Based on his logic, how come a "w person" didn't tell Christopher about smoking tobacco in a pipe? LOL

If smoking IS a "W habit," how come Russians, Hispanics, French folks (you get the point I'm making) smoke too?

Tobacco Taxes

The majority of a cig pack price are different taxes for that pack. One of these taxes that effects smokers nationwide is the Federal Cig Excise Tax. I heard the wonderful folks in DC want to raise this federal tax to $0.61 per pack. This specific tax goes toward funding governmental programs. I wouldn't be surprised of one of those programs is related with "saving the kids" from SHS and smokers. I don't believe smokers should be forced to send in funds for governmental programs. Those folks in DC are wealthy. Why don't they use their OWN money? After all, those are THEIR programs. Not mine.

Taxes on a cig pack also go to major anti groups, and that tax money isn't used to help find different ways to make cigs safer. You would think if they portray tobacco as a demon weed, they would use smokers' money to find ways to make cigs a lil bit more safer to smoke, right?

Wrong! That money is used to help fund antismoking programs that deal with preventing kids to start smoking, and quit-smoking programs. As well as contributing towards antis pushing for smoking bans in states that hardly have current smoking bans.

Kids are gonna find ways to get cigs, whether society likes it or not. As a matter of fact, in my town, kids can easily buy packs from pack dealers in the streets. And thanks to technology, a teen can make his/her own fake ID that looks so real. I know some cities actually have ways to cut down on fake IDs. But in my town, as long as a kid shows an ID that has a valid birthdate on it, clerks on certain sides of the city will just ask the kid "I'm guessing you want one pack of Kools (or whatever brand) since the prices are so darn high?"

I wouldn't be surprised if those young clerks are fellow smokers too. From my experience, nonsmoking clerks follow We Card when it comes to kids trying to buy tobacco. But smoking clerks are like me (at least the clerk smokers in my area). They don't give a squat about We Card. I wonder how come smoke cops don't do their job in investigating stores like that where clerks ignore the under 18 law. I guess it's because those stores are also in rough areas, and the cops don't wanna risk walking into possible violence over something as small as selling packs to young bros/sis.

And quit smoking programs! I have no interest in quitting smoking. So why the hey should I help pay for these programs so brainwashed smokers can quit smoking? If I quit smoking, I wouldn't be Jay. I'd be a nobody, since cigs are a part of my personality.

The only way smokers can stop giving away tax money that's abused is by switching to cigs they can make themselves. More RYO smokers would mean LESS money for the states. But if you're a smoker who prefers mainly premades, you could try buying cigs outta state.

I buy my cartons outside of IL where the prices are darn cheaper in Indiana. I've been doing this for a couple of years ever since online tobacco shops cracked down and became dishonest on reporting orders. I owe money for back taxes on cartons I bought online from 3-7 years ago. I'm not paying squat on those tax bills. And I never will. I'm not gonna allow IL to make me broke and turn me into a homeless person so to speak!

If avoiding state taxes (by buying outta state) is a crime, so be it. I'm not rich, and even if I was I ain't paying 70 bucks for a carton. I'm doing whatever it takes to get my precious cartons as cheap as possible. Maybe if IL wants my tax money on packs, Chicago oughta make packs only 3 bucks each (as is the case in Indiana).

The increase on taxes is supposed to force smokers to quit. But it does the opposite. It makes smokers get cigs in criminal fashion...I know in Iowa if you're caught buying cigs in Missouri, they view that as a crime in the form of a hefty $200-$500 ticket. Depending on how many cartons you bring into the Hawkeye State.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Civil Disobedience

I guess my first post dealing with a smoking topic is probably my favorite topic related with fighting back against smoking bans. And that's civil disobedience.

I've disregarded No Smoking signs before, and so have others. Antis might argue someone like me disregards the signs because of my addiction to smoking. Oh sure....I'm soooo addicted, I can't smoke outside. Gimme a break! If it's nice outside, I'll smoke outside. But if it's 20 degrees below zero with the wind chill, I'm NOT smoking outside under any circumstances!

Antis don't mind smoke-free buildings. But they don't give a squat about the chances of bitterly cold weather killing me as I simply smoke on a wintry day or night (or in a blizzard). Yeah, I know I can't die from cold weather because of my age. But I actually heard about elderly smokers dying while smoking in cold weather at these Canadian nursing homes.

Believe it or not, there are ways for smokers and owners to engage in civil disobedience in a peaceful manner.

-Owners can set up donation buckets for their businesses. The owner uses these "donations" from customers to help pay the fines for allowing smoking inside.

-Smokers can make a statement by smoking outside as a group. But outside of like within 10 feet (instead of 15 feet) of an entrance. The risk here is every smoker engaging in this law-breaking will get ticketed. It's a risk, but a ticket is worth it. However, I'd find it very hard for smoke cops to pass out tickets to say 20 smokers outside of a building.

Some of these fines for allowing smoking (or a smoker getting caught) are crazy. 500 bucks? If 250 smokers visit a tavern in one week and donates 2 bucks each, that's $500 right there.

Civil disobedience is similar to the first Prohibition America had. People did whatever they could to get booze. Likewise, smokers will do whatever they can to stay safe while smoking, and owners will be glad to pay fines in order to STAY in business.

If an anti thinks smoking outside in cold weather is no big deal, I'd like to see how that moron reacts when I say "Take that booze and drink it outside in the snow! I don't give a care on how cold it is out there! You need a taste of your own medicine, sick dude!"

Civil disobedience is all about smokers and owners showing hatred for governments telling smokers where they can light up at and hatred for governments telling owners how to run their businesses.

How I got involved with smokers rights

What the hey, I might as well mention how I learned about smokers rights now, since that's like "Part 2" of my introduction.

I first learned of smoking being a right when I heard about the NYC smoking ban. I knew CA was so antismoking back then. But I didn't expect anti poison-anda to spread across the nation. But I underestimated the power of their poison. Folks will believe ANYTHING antis say. And the antis' main goal is to have a tobacco-free USA in the long term.

Antis have no right telling me and other smokers how to live. If I have the right to live in America, and if America expects me to pay taxes, then I'm gonna smoke in America. And I definitely didn't like the idea of being forced to smoke outside. That's similar to someone pushing me around for just being an American if I lived in the old days. Anyone who knows me knows I don't take being pushed around or pushed outside with my cig very lightly.

I will never understand why people can't smoke in taverns. Non-smokers are not forced to enter taverns. And they even find a way to bring kids into those joints. Last time I checked, kids are not allowed in bars. Smokers represent the majority of bar customers. So how can the owners and workers make money in a smoke-free bar? When there are hardly any customers in there to begin with? How can I even enjoy myself in public with a smoking ban? I might as well stay home if I can't smoke in restaurants, bars, and sport stadiums!

Well, I met a smoking activist from Illinois a few years ago who had similar thoughts on staying home if you can't smoke in places. And the rest is history so to speak. I'm helping out with Illinois Smokers Rights as well. Helping out with the actual offline group that is (and not the IL Smokers Rights site itself).

I notice I reflected on one thing that makes smokers similar to "us" in terms of how both groups are treated. But there are a lot more similarities. I don't need to hear the anti argument of "Smokers are not comparable with blacks because blacks can't change their looks. You can quit smoking to stop the 2nd class SMOKING treatment though. And I never heard of a person getting killed for smoking in public."

With all due respect, the similarity between smokers and us lies within the discrimination. A smoker doesn't have to get killed. A smoker can get denied a job not for race, religious, gender, or sexuality reasons. That smoker can get denied a job for....drumroll please....smoking a LEGAL product in the privacy of his/her home! Smokers even pay more for insurance than nonsmokers! If that's not discrimination, then the anti needs to wake up from dreaming.

If you don't believe me on smokers getting fired for smoking off of the job and smokers getting denied jobs period, then you need to keep up with the news in the smokers rights community.

Introduction Post

I'm not totally new to the world of blogs, but this is my new attempt of having one.

I'm Jay, and I'm a real supporter of smokers rights in Illinois as well as nationwide. My age is irrevelant. But I will say I'm in my late 20's and I'm from Chicago. African-American is my heritage, and I feel very proud to be a Black smoker living in America.

As far as what I smoke is concerned goes: Well, I actually like both regular and menthol cigs. I particularly like the taste of regular cigs I can make myself (these are called RYO/MYO cigs online). But I love menthols the most. I personally believe if menthols never existed, I never would''ve discovered the truth of smoking. That is, the truth antis don't want society to hear. Smoking is a pleasurable habit, not filthy and deadly as they make smoking sound. And since it's common for folks of my kind to enjoy mint, it's no surprise why menthols are more common among African-American smokers in particular.

Speaking of menthols, major anti groups make claims such as "African-American smokers have a greater risk f getting lung cancer because of the menthol added to their cigs." ACS (American Cancer Society) made this claim, and all they're doing is trying to make a group of smokers feel bad.

I understand there are risks assosciated with smoking. But with all due respect to the ACS, I've met a few ladies who are a lot older than me. And guess what they were smoking? Yup! Newports! I'd like to ask the ACS "How can a Black smoker smoke menthols for 30-40 straight years, and this person still has no lung cancer?"

If there is some truth (on the anti side) about Big Tobacco making more menthol brands during the Civil Rights era as a way of attracting minorities to smoking, then thank you Big Tobacco for menthols. Because I had a secret interest in smoking even when I was a little boy. I didn't quite understand the "menthol" term back then.

But based on how much I enjoy smoking now, I can't imagine myself quitting if menthols disappeared. I'd make my own regulars or buy some Marlboro Red 100's. Yeah, I smoke long-length cigs because I get more enjoyment for my money. Especially since king-sized cigs are the same price.

Some brainwashed smokers online think I'm denying I'm addicted to cigs, and how I'll regret starting smoking when I'm a lot older. I am not addicted. I just enjoy smoking a lot, and it's the only real pleasure I have in my life. Nothing beats enjoying a cig on a sunny morning while sitting down. It is sad I didn't grow up in the days when smoking was allowed in tons of public buildings.

In the old days, smokers were treated like first class Americans. In modern times, smokers are treated like second class citizens. I even heard of the saying "Smokers are the 21st century Blacks." This is a topic I'll try to focus on my next post. Including explaining how I got involved with smokers rights.