Baltimore Wants To Stop Sales of Single Cigars

by Jesse on May 29, 2008

Banning smoking isn’t enough for these folks now they are going after cigars. Granted this is aimed at the cheap stuff sold at gas stations. How long before a state bans the sale of tobacco completely?

From the Cleveland Examiner:

Violation of the proposal — which exempts tobacco shops and cigars that cost $2 or more — would be considered a misdemeanor and carry a fine no greater than $1,000.

City officials will solicit comments on the proposal until July 1, and tobacco retailers said officials can expect strong resistance.

Tobacco sales can be regulated only on the state level, said tobacco lobbyist Bruce Bereano, who added possession of tobacco products by a minor is a crime.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry May 29, 2008 at 9:55 am

Pretty funny…in April the MD Legislature defeated a bill that would’ve banned the selling of cigars in packages of less than 5. Honestly, its more of a crime thing than an actual tobacco thing. They associate these gas station cigars like Black -n- Mild with crime activity since they are popular within the high crime areas of MD.

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Adam Snider May 29, 2008 at 1:24 pm

What a ridiculous proposal. They’re doing it because they say those cheap cigars are attractive to youths? Given that it’s already illegal to sell tobacco to a minor, why do they feel the need to restrict tobacco sales to adults?

This war on tobacco is getting more and more ridiculous every day.

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Rob Hogan May 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm

What’s the big deal. No one reading this blog is actually buying those cheap cigars anyway, right? Aside from the fact that these cigars are a popular item for under age shoplifters, they are usually stripped, and the tobacco mixed with pot and laced with other drugs. They can then be smoked in front of law enforcement or openly sold on the street without raising suspicion.

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Adam Snider May 29, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Rob, the big deal is that it’s yet another step closer to outlawing cigars and tobacco products altogether. If they do it slowly enough, we won’t even notice that it’s happening until it’s too late.

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Rob Hogan May 29, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I get the banning smoking in bars and other public places to be a step toward banning tobacco all together, but lumping this story in that same category seems a little like building a conspiracy theory to me.

My point is, a ban like this won’t affect the way you and I buy our smokes, so if it will help keep kids from smoking and help the boys in blue keep some drugs off the street, I’m all for it.

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Jesse May 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

This is what really caught my eye:

“The individual sale of low-cost cigars could be banned in Baltimore City under a proposal by city and health officials who called them “public nuisances.””

That same language has been used to ban smoking in parks because you smoking at one end of a 200 acre park might offense someone on the other end.

What if this gas station (I know some here) actually has a small humidor with some $5/cigars and some Flor de Olivas ($2) or the bundle I got yesterday ($0.95). Now they wouldn’t be able to sell these.

If they want to fix the issue maybe they should start busting places for selling these to “youths” in the first place.

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Adam Snider May 29, 2008 at 4:38 pm

I have to agree with Jesse. This law won’t really help to curb youth smoking. Instead, focus on enforcing existing laws about not selling tobacco products to minors in the first place.

As far as sounding like a conspiracy theory, that wasn’t my intention. My point is that it’s a slippery slope, and the way smoking laws have been going during the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tries to outlaw tobacco altogether in the name of “community health.”

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Cubans are Overrated... May 30, 2008 at 7:44 am

I hear everything you guys are saying.

But this is for one reason and one reason alone. Folks use Dutch Masters, Phillies and White Owls to smoke marijuana. It goes on constantly. It happens so often that when I came into the office the other day with 2 Padron singles in a ziplock, the girls who man our front desk (both of whom are in college) giggled, “What are those for?” When I answered that I was going to “enjoy a cigar later” they gave each other a knowing nod as if they didn’t believe that I could have any other use for cigars if not for smoking marijuana.

Start to pay attention and you’ll see the filler from these cigars laying on the ground absolutely everywhere but especially in the parking lots of gas stations.

Beyond that, and without getting into a racial debate, it’s a habit which is integral to urban and hip-hop culture. So, make of that what you will.

This is actually funny though because Baltimore is a horrible town. It’s essentially the heroin capital of the East Coast. Very violent, lots of gangs etc., etc., etc. So, my suggestion would be that there are probably other ways to address more serious crime in Baltimore than to worry about kids smoking marijuana which is not that big a deal.

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Adam Snider May 30, 2008 at 10:46 am

@Cubans are Overrated: Come on, you know that’s not true. Yes, a lot of people use cheap cigars to make blunts, by I know a LOT of people in their late-teens or early-twenties who will often grab a cheap cigar from the gas station after they’ve had a few beers at the pub.

Hell, I knew a guy who smoked White Owls on a daily basis. They were his cigar of choice, believe it or not.

So, sure, people use shitty back-bar cigars to smoke pot, but they also smoke them as cigars (you know, the way they’re meant to be smoked). To try and say that these cigars are nothing more than drug paraphernalia is an insult to the people who, for whatever reason, genuinely enjoy smoking them.

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Cubans are Overrated... June 2, 2008 at 9:21 am

Adam:

How’s the weather over there in naive-ville?

I’m only giving you a respectful teasing.

I don’t know where you live but I live about 20 minutes outside of the center of Manhattan. I’ll tell you what I’ve seen. I’ve seen a lot of “kids” (18-25) going into gas stations, buying cheap cigars and emptying them on the ground in the parking lot. I’ve seen this happen on a regular basis. I’ve NEVER seen kids in this demographic buying one of these cigars and firing it up for the pure purpose of enjoying a cigar.

Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I’m also not saying that the ban proposed is because these cigars should only be or are intended to only be used as drug paraphernalia. I’m just telling you what I’ve seen. If someone is a legitimate White Owl smoker and is offended by my saying that, I’d first tell them to lighten up and stop being so damn sensitive and secondly I’d give them a “real cigar” out of pure pity.

The point I was making was that everyone was pointing out that this is a “tobacco ban” which it is. But, it’s not being pushed through to actually prevent these kids from smoking cigars. Which doesn’t make it any more tolerable. I was just saying, let’s call a blue car a blue car.

It’s the same with Zig-Zag rolling papers. Are there people who use them to roll their own cigarettes? Sure. Is that why the companies that make them do so? Yep. Is that the actual application in the vast majority of purchases? Not if we’re honest about it. Should we ban them because of that? No. But, if a ban was to be suggested, we’d all know the “real” reason for it. As is the case here.

I’m not supporting the ban. I think it’s a little ridiculous from both sides. For legitimate smokers of these “fine” cigars, they will either buy full boxes or switch to something they CAN buy. So, you haven’t stopped anyone from smoking.

For the kids who are rolling blunts, they’re not going to stop smoking weed because they can’t buy a White Owl anymore. So you haven’t prevented them from smoking a little pot.

So as usual, it’s “feel-good” law making so that our elected officials can pretend that they did something but not really effect anyone in a positive way or actually improve the community.

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Adam Snider June 2, 2008 at 9:52 am

@CAO: I’m not denying that gas station cigars are used for smoking pot (and, personally, this doesn’t bother me), I’m just saying, at least where I’m from, at least as many people smoke them just the way they were manufactured: with crappy short-cut, machine-rolled tobacco.

And, regardless of why the law is getting pushed through, I still think it’s a joke. But, on that point at least, I think you and I agree.

But, enough arguing… If we were having this debate in person, I’d suggest we agree to disagree, and have a smoke (but, not a White Owl…lol).

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Cubans are Overrated... June 2, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Hell, if we were having this debate in person, we’d already be into the Jonnie Blue Label!!

Agreed!

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