In een redactioneel artikel in de Wall Street Journal wordt de situatie geanalyseerd waarin rokers op dit moment verkeren.
“Ze kunnen als groep de verkiezingen beïnvloeden en hele staten politiek overnemen als ze zich maar zouden verenigen. Maar ze zijn zó gedemoraliseerd en verslagen dat ze niet meer voor hun rechten opkomen.”
A funny thing happened, though, during last week’s blackouts. Everyone noted how much better New Yorkers behaved compared to the 1977 blackout, when arson and looting were commonplace. And all the while New Yorkers were smoking in candlelit bars. And neither the bar owners nor the police seemed inclined to stop them.
Smokers are a strange interest group. They could sway elections and capture entire states if they voted as a bloc, but they’ve been so beaten down about their habit that they won’t even stand up for themselves. Before applauding, though, antismokers ought to ask themselves whether it’s a really good idea to be breeding a pariah consciousness in an otherwise law-abiding 25% of the population.
Although New York’s take from the cigarette tax hike is considerable, it’s much less than expected because of an enormous outbreak of smuggling or quasi-legal tax avoidance. That has only riled up the enforcers further who’ve been chasing smokers down to shake every last penny out of their social pariah habit. Even Indian reservations, usually a political untouchable, have found that their sovereign status isn’t sovereign when there are cigarette revenues to be had.
With giant holes in state budgets from coast to coast, governors and legislators are all chasing after smokers, the only taxpaying class that refuses to defend itself. Even hard-bitten places like Texas have lately been eyeing their Marlboro men greedily.
But at the end of the day, smokers are grown ups. They know what they are doing. And they are finally speaking up for themselves.