Protecting Our Rights, A Must Read!

emmys pipe

Hello from the windy slopes of Sonoita!

It has been quite a while since my last post, I am sorry for that.

We have been busy making pipes and playing in the snow!

One of my Readers alerted me of a Newsletter that I was not aware of; it is called the “Smokers Intellegencer”. In this newsletter there is an article written by Dr. Bob, A physician.

The name of the section is” Thoughts From A Smoking Stethoscope”

In this piece, Dr. Bob writes about our communities’ on going struggle to keep our rights as smokers.  He talks specifically of the planned new tax on tobacco.  As you know by reading my past blog entries, I to have taken up the sword on many similar concerns.

Please read Dr. Bob’s article:          “first published in the Intelligencer”

THOUGHTS FROM A SMOKING STETHOSCOPE JANUARY 15, 2010

Dr.-Bob-150x150

The Doctor Is In

I am a pipe smoking family physician as well as a pipe carver (DR BOB PIPES) and I am appalled and angered by the anti-smoking propaganda that we pipe people have to labor under these days.

I plan to have articles like this one appear in the Intelligencer to help build facts that we all can use in some way. I applaud Craig Tarler and Fred Brown who are giving all of us some basis to use our freedom of speech to protest this anti-smoking nonsense.

Many of us have sat around in our rooms at the pipe shows and dream of ways to fight our cause. Often we conclude we cannot do much because we feel powerless because of the lack of legal defense we could muster, primarily because of huge legal costs. Also what forum would we use?

I spoke to a pipe smoking attorney a few years ago and asked him why no attorneys would jump into this arena as it seems there would be plenty of legal cases. His answer was “Bob, there is no money in that for attorneys.”

One obvious way to fight would be to smoke in a banned place, get arrested, and then take it to court and win because of constitutional violations. This would set a precedent much like the victorious case won a few years ago in that restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pa. But who would be that sacrificial lamb and who would be that attorney who would step up to the plate?

In the meantime here we are starting to do our part and thus the Intelligencer. The antismokers (henceforth simply “anti’s”) are quite a group are they not? They use any and all means to promote their cause.

The following are just a few of their twisted methods of operation • crusade • hypocrisy • political compromise and stunts • lies • unconstitutionality • stupidity. The crusade is a term I have used often and is so appropriate. Think about the old crusades. They were won by a group of passionates about a cause. They mustered all the power they could find by forging great instruments of destruction and enlisting those with strength and skill. They went forth to win AT ANY COST!!!! So go the anti’s as they will attempt to win at any cost.

Their cause is not really about stopping smoking but hating the smoker (like crushing the smoker as you would crush the butt of a cigarette). Yes, most of this is about cigarettes but kid not yourself as they are already drawing a bead on those of us who smoke a pipe or cigar; i.e.,the 2 reps from Tennessee who have proposed a bill to increase tax on pipe tobacco to as high as $25/lb .

So if we are to engage the enemy in this crusade, we must be informed and know truth, become informers or teachers to those close to us at home or in the workplace, be zealous and uncompromising, and willing to work hard and make personal sacrifices.

THE STUPID AND THE LIARS

Let us look at some of the distortions, stupidity and lies out there; this reminds me of a tornado-twisting to destruction everything in its path! The crusader knows how to distort facts and even produce outright falsification of facts especially in the medical science arena. We call it junk science.

The crusader knows how to use press releases giving false information before published data is available. A hot topic lately is the e-cigarette (ec) which is a device that vaporizes a liquid that has nicotine in it. It is a great invention that should save more lives as people will get primarily nicotine delivered and not the other 4,000 ingredients.

The ec is successfully being used in Europe. Well there are plenty of anti’s attacking. How about a look at stupidity. Two senators from New Jersey are asserting that ec’s are more dangerous than regular cigarettes and that this is a ploy by Big Tobacco (BT) to deceive people into thinking that ec’s are safer than regular ones. Ec’s have a trace of carcinogens plus nicotine while regular cigs have over 40 know carcinogens.

And BT has nothing to do with ec’s, in fact they don’t even make them nor do they market them!!! So, what are the senators really saying? That real cigs are safer than ec’s?

These stups need a course in basic science. Recently the FDA tried to stop the import of ec’s coming into the U.S. because they were a device/drug. But a U.S. District Court ruled against this and stated it was a tobacco product and thus would fall into that category.

A device or drug would have to go through tight clinical and/or epidemiological trials which could take 20 years before they could say this product decreases diseases. Obviously this would be a fatal blow to the device (ec’s) for it could be taken off the market because it had not conducted those trials. If left to be a tobacco product, then the tobacco act precludes the FDA from regulating any tobacco product.

One of the militant crusaders is The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and they argue that the FDA should regulate ec’s because they represented a clear blow to public health. So those dummies are saying that smoking cigarettes is healthier than ec’s.

Ec’s represent a great way for current cigarette smokers to quit and to prevent former smokers from relapsing back into regular cigarettes and those 40 carcinogens. And would you believe that some of the stronger voices against ec’s (as being health hazards) are the Big Pharma companies that make stop smoking products like the pills or the patches? Gee would getting into their financial pockets possibly be motivating them?

The lies are astounding especially from the standpoint of the scientific standards that are to be followed by research groups. There have been multiple smoking bans initiated by many countries and then a year later, these groups have published false outcomes. They all showed a considerable drop in heart attack rates.

One study is from Swiss Medical Weekly in which they showed a 22 percent drop in heart attacks after the ban started. The problem with that study is that there were no comparison groups. There should have been studies in other towns of similar size as the decrease may have been from a general secular downward trend secondary to controlling cholesterol and hypertension and improved medical treatment of heart attacks.

That Swiss town has a large transient population of vacationers and the rate of heart attacks were the same among residents and none residents. If the rate truly dropped then it should have been much lower in the residents as one would not expect it from transients staying there for a week or two.

Another lie came from the Institute of Medicine Committee on Second Hand Smoke Exposure and Acute Coronary Events in which they reported they conducted a comprehensive review of published and unpublished data on the effects of smoking bans on the rate of heart attacks.

In a separate communication they even said they did not look at the unpublished data which included the countries of the United States, Scotland, England, Wales, Denmark and the states of Florida, California, New York, and Oregon. This latter list of studies from these countries and states showed NO EFFECT ON HEART ATTACK RATES FROM THE SMOKING BAN.

So the IOM could not resist some lying. There is so much out there nowadays regarding info relative to smoking that it is hard to keep up with it.

Hopefully these summaries of crusader tactics will be helpful and will give us all something useful to see the truth.

More crusader stuff latter…. Dr. Bob

Please visit:

http://pipesmokersintelligencer.org/journal/

Emmy Fishes Up North and ponders the “New Tobacco Road”


emmys pipe

As I drift on a small row boat in the middle of Luna Lake, smoking my pipe and enjoying nature at her best. I cannot help but think of those who grow this sacred plant that we all enjoy.

From the fertile fields of Georgia, to the verdant plains of Virginia & Kentucky, farms are being forced to change.

In my previous blogs I have spoken about the vast new regulations on

Our beloved tobacco. As regulatory measures and taxes increase, along with tobacco subsidies being reduced or even ended all together, what is the tobacco farmer to do?

When I returned home from our vacation I found the answer in an article from August 2009 in the Wall Street Journal.

Tobacco Road Leads to Wine Country

By ERICA ALINI

Seth Meranda graduated from Ohio State University in 1994 and planned to spend the rest of his life as the fifth generation running the family tobacco farm in Brown County, Ohio.

But amid falling demand and cheap competition from abroad, Mr. Meranda began to lose his taste for the golden leaf. When the federal government ended tobacco subsidies in 2004, he opted for a lump-sum payment of $126,000 in a program to help tobacco growers transition to the free market.

He bet it all on a new vineyard and wine-making business, the Meranda-Nixon Winery, which he opened on the site of the family’s former tobacco farm in 2007. Winemaking requires a depth of knowledge that makes it more challenging than growing tobacco, Mr. Meranda said.

A worker picks grapes at Persimmon Creek Vineyards in Clayton, Ga., last year. The vineyards are part of an expanding winemaking industry in areas once given over to tobacco. The number of U.S. tobacco farms fell by 83% between 1997 and 2007.

The number of U.S. tobacco farms shrank by 83% between 1997 and 2007, according to the most recent agricultural census, reflecting consolidation, the fading popularity of smoking and the end of federal subsidies. Tobacco farmers from Virginia to Kentucky have been replacing their traditional crop with everything from corn and soybeans to more exotic pursuits like goat herding and winemaking.

Wine production is among the few profitable options for former proprietors of small, family-run tobacco farms, said Margo Knight Metzger, executive director of the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council, a division of the state’s Commerce Department. She said subsidized tobacco used to be a good business for a 10-acre farm, but “the small-plot tobacco farmer is a thing of the past.”

North Carolina and Kentucky allocated money from a tobacco-lawsuit settlement in the late 1990s to set up programs to help tobacco-dependent areas develop other industries, including growing wine grapes and winemaking. Former tobacco farmers in other states are benefiting from state-funded programs offering technical advice on growing grapes and producing wine.

Some media reports have suggested that wine grapes are a cash crop with returns comparable to subsidized tobacco. Not so, according to Tony Wolf, a viticulture professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Profit margins on grapes have been falling over at least the past 10 years, he said.

A vineyard with an active winery, on the other hand, can be very lucrative. “There’s much more money to be found in wine production,” Mr. Wolf said.

Frank and Lenna Hobson transformed their tobacco farm in Boonville, N.C., into “RagApple Lassie Vineyards and Winery Estates.” The switch was “Plan B to keep the place agricultural” and replace falling income from tobacco, Mrs. Hobson said.

Mastering the intricacies of winemaking is a challenge for beginners. The Hobsons hired an expert winemaker from Ohio to help. But even with expert guidance, winemaking is a painstaking and risky business. It takes three to five years before grape roots are strong enough for the plants to withstand harvesting, and developing an acre costs $10,000 to $17,000, compared with about $3,000 for tobacco.

Making and marketing wine are separate challenges. From processing grapes to bottling and storing wine without lowering its quality, the road is full of pitfalls for the inexperienced. Then there’s finding a niche for the finished product.

“There are so many labels in the market,” said Rob Morris, a senior manager at Frank, Rimerman & Co. LLP, a California-based accounting and consulting firm that is a leading source of wine-industry research. “To get noticed among that crowd is really difficult,” he said.

RagApple Lassie isn’t turning a profit yet — it normally takes a new winery eight to 10 years to break even, according to Mrs. Hobson. But she said cash flow is enough to cover costs and business has been running ahead of projections.

“There’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Many former tobacco farmers in Virginia have switched to winemaking. Last year, the state ranked sixth by number of wineries with 170, compared with 99 in 2004, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department. North Carolina, among the chief beneficiaries of federal tobacco subsidies, had 94 wineries in 2008, an increase of 45 from 2004.

Winemaking in tobacco states is gaining a following. Virginia wines dot the “very good” section of Wine Spectator magazine’s blind-taste ratings. One Virginia vintage, a 1993 Chardonnay, even earned an “outstanding,” along with the usual suspects from California.

Vineyards also generate another kind of lucrative low-hanging fruit: the wine tourist.

In 2005, visitors spent $57 million in Virginia to taste the local Chardonnays and Cabernets, among other varieties, according to estimates by MKF Research, a division of Frank, Rimerman & Co. In Pennsylvania, another tobacco state, wine tourists spent $167 million in 2006, up from $140 million in 2003, according to MKF Research.

After spending four years getting his wine business up and running, Mr. Meranda said he had few regrets. In recent months, he expanded his list and now offers eight different wines, instead of just three. “Life is good,” he said. “It’s a lot let stressful this year.”

Write to Erica Alini at Erica.Alini@wsj.com

This article gives you food for thought….

I am happy to see the farmers making a new start. But the nagging thought in the back of my mind remains, “Who will be growing my favorite tobacco in the future?”. Perhaps this will be yet one more commodity we must purchase overseas.

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