16 Feb 2012 Occupy Occupy D.C., Day 4: “Smoking in the Rain”
If anything showed the second-class citizen status of tobacco users, it was what we encountered at our rally point prior to today’s “Occupy Occupy D.C.” event. Outside of the office building next to Freedom Plaza stood smokers who are not allowed to smoke near the entrance, garage or anyplace used for “business purposes.”
Today, that meant almost having to stand in freezing rain.
But into that freezing rain the National Center staff ventured for today’s event to highlight the excessive regulation, taxation and demonization of anything related to tobacco. While not denying the health problems associated with tobacco use, Jeff Stier — director of the National Center’s Risk Assessment Division — pointed out that government campaigns against tobacco products are counter-productive because they ignore ways of decreasing risk and create an odd addiction by the government on “sin taxes” related to tobacco sales. Jeff explains this problem to WMAL-DC reporter Martin DiCaro.
Today’s activity found broad support in Freedom Plaza, with Occupier “Stiff” (right) — a native of El Salvador and cigar aficionado — explaining he agrees that the government is too heavy-handed in its regulation of tobacco.
Venturing into the encampment, Jeff discusses the finer points of government regulation with Occupier “Barry.”
And with David Hogberg, a reporter for Investors Business Daily (and a former National Center employee).
Stay tuned for video of today’s event and Jeff’s commentary on tobacco policy flaws.