Ash Out Your Civil Liberties

In recent years, it has become apparent to me that people who use tobacco products are becoming more and more persecuted. We aren’t allowed on certain public spaces, admitting you use tobacco has become a stigma and, I’m sorry, but I believe that the tobacco companies have gotten a bad rap. Let me begin.

Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, the tobacco industry is what kept food on the table for much of my family and for thousands of other families for that matter. Tobacco is what kept Kentucky’s economy afloat for many years and I think that the state owes the plant their apology.

More seriously, though, I do believe that tobacco users are being more negatively affected every day. I was on campus when the University of Kentucky announced their tobacco ban and I was outraged. How can they tell their students, who are mostly eighteen or older, that they cannot exercise their legal right to use these products in an open-air environment? When we lit our first cigarette, we made a choice in the lifestyle we were living and we can make the decision on whether or not we wish to quit.

When you use tobacco products you can almost certainly expect a lecture from someone on the adverse health effects that are associated with the plant. Everyone who uses the product knows of the danger, we do not need to be reminded by everyone, all the time. Non-users often will label you negatively and make you feel dirty for using the product. People will openly express their discontent towards the habit with negative dialogue, but if the roles were reversed and I were to comment, on say, an unattractive piece of attire, I would be the bad guy. That is a double standard.

Furthermore, and feel free to disagree, I do believe that tobacco companies have it bad. Not only are they the only companies not allowed to advertise their products on the television, but they have to print warning labels ALL over their packaging. Don’t get me wrong, it is good that they are warning people of the potential danger, but they have even had to take the word ‘light’ off their cigarette packages because it apparently implies less danger. These companies are just one step away from having to print “This is poison and will kill you” on their products, and that I do not agree with. I think that they should make McDonald’s print “Surgeon General’s warning: This product will make you fat” on every cheeseburger, but maybe that’s just me.

In conclusion, I simply want to express to everyone that I am displeased with the treatment I receive being a tobacco-user. I’m sure that others who share the same lifestyle feel the same. So please, stop stepping on my toes and my civil liberties.

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