Archive for 10th May 2009

La. cigarette-tax proposal rises from the ashes

La. cigarette-tax proposal rises from the ashes

Published: Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 7:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 7:35 p.m.

BATON ROUGE — State Rep. Karen Carter Peterson is trying a second time with her cigarette tax.

Peterson’s first bill taxing tobacco products died in committee last month, amid threats from Gov. Bobby Jindal that he was opposed to any tax increase. On Wednesday, the New Orleans Democrat filed another: a bill proposing 50 cents in new taxes on each pack of cigarettes, down from the $1 per pack in her original bill.

Jindal said Thursday he’s still opposed to the tax increase.

Peterson has said a tobacco tax would reduce smoking, thereby reducing the costs of treating smoking-related health problems, while raising money for health-care programs facing budget cuts. Her proposal would impose big tax increases on pipe and cigar smokers, as well as users of smokeless tobacco.

The new bill (House Bill 889) would raise an estimated $93 million, according to figures from the Legislative Fiscal Office.

From the archives: Minister warns smokers over cancer risk

From the archives: Minister warns smokers over cancer risk

8 May 1956

The Minister of Health, Mr R. H. Turton, yesterday confirmed that there are twenty times more deaths from cancer of the lung among heavy smokers than among non-smokers. This statistical evidence, he said, had been collected from this and other countries.

Giving as his authority the chairman of a committee of the Medical Research Council which has been investigating the subject, he emphasised what he called “statistically an incontrovertible association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.” The fact that as yet no causal agent had been recognised should not be allowed to obscure this.

The Minister’s information was part of a statement to the House of Commons on smoking and lung cancer. He repeated what he had said in an earlier statement that two known cancer-producing agents have been identified in tobacco smoke, but added that it is not yet certain whether they play a direct part in producing lung cancer. He promised that when new information becomes available he himself would make it public.

He rejected the idea of a national publicity campaign put forward by Mr Donald Chapman. He thought it would not be appropriate “at the present state of our knowledge,” but he willingly agreed that that was a decision he would have to review as fresh information came in.

Mr Turton felt it important neither to minimise nor exaggerate the size of the problem. He gave a few statistics to make plain the true position. The number of deaths from cancer of the lung has risen to 2,286 in 1931 to 12,271 last year, he said. To place these figures in perspective, he pointed out that in 1954 out of every thousand deaths of men aged between 45 and 74, 77 were from bronchitis, 112 from strokes and apoplexies, and 234 were from cancer, of which 85 were cancer of the lung. He added that the number of women who die from cancer of the lung is still a small fraction of the total.

Another point which Mr Turton confirmed was that according to the latest research the risk of lung cancer is “substantially less” among pipe smokers than among heavy cigarette smokers, though pipe smokers do still face a heavier risk than non-smokers.

Mr Vaughan Morgan asked him how those who give up smoking are affected, and Mr Turton said cautiously that “there is some evidence that the risks of contracting cancer of the lung decrease when smoking is given up.” The Minister was unable to differentiate in his statistics between those smokers who inhale and those who do not. He was afraid that was beyond the capacity of statisticians.

A Movement to Pipes: It’s the Economy

A Movement to Pipes: It’s the Economy

Cigar smoking is a lifestyle commitment … and investment. Unless you’re smoking low-end cigars, your daily spend is at least $5 and could reasonably reach $10. If you truly go upscale, you’re looking at $20 a day or more, with boxes starting at $450. It becomes expensive quickly, and today, people are reconsidering how they use their “fun money.” Unsurprisingly, pipes are gaining popularity as a cost-effective smoking alternative without forcing you into the nasty world of cigarettes.

At first, pipe smoking appears to be pricey. To enter the world of briar, you could lay out hundreds of dollars – even thousands. And, since you can’t buy just one pipe, the cost multiplies. Once you get past the initial purchase, though, pipe smoking is quite affordable. Top pipe tobacco brands cost less than $15 a tin … roughly the cost of a cigar.

Like cigars, pipes range from garbage to entry level to high-end. Generally, quality follows price. A $5 corn cob is what you would expect, and hand-crafted Dunhills – which can sell for more than $1,000 – may be a bit much for someone testing the waters.


Gallery: Dunhill Pipe Dinner

A set table for Manhattan's pipe smokersDunhill's pipe stands, not available to the publicA closer look at the Dunhill pipe standThe guests gather for a meal and pipe discussionPipe smokers focus on the craft



I started with a $160 Savinelli, a machine-made pipe which smokes quite well. It was sufficient for experimenting with different pipe tobaccos and learning the rituals of packing, lighting, smoking and cleaning. For a bit more, you can start with a Radice pipe (which Law & Order SVU actor Richard Belzer enjoys), adding a touch of luxury even to a novice smoker.

The attraction of pipe smoking in this economic climate is the satisfaction f smoking without the high cost of cigars. a $200 pipe and a $10 tin of tobacco offers as much smoking time as a box of cigars at roughly the same price. But, when you buy that next tin of tobacco, you don’t have to buy another pipe. Even a $150 pipe is designed to last a lifetime.

After you select a pipe, you’re faced with a dizzying array of tobaccos from which to choose. It’s natural to worry that you’ll pull from the shelves that won’t suit you. Michael Bowman, the resident pipe expert at De La Concha, and the man who initiated me into pipe smoking, advises that mistakes aren’t a big deal. “If you buy a tobacco that you don’t like, you’ve only spent $10 or $11.” He continues, “Have you ever bought a cigar you don’t like? It’s the same amount.” He suggests that you give a tin that doesn’t agree with you to a pipe smoker, as goodwill is rarely forgotten.

Pipe smoking may be a substitute for cigars, but the experience is not the same. The feel, flavors and physical involvement are much different. If you wind up enjoying a pipe, it will become an alternative … and a less expensive one. For others, it may be a way to stem the outflow of cash for a bit, at least through the recession.

Whether pipes will work for you is, of course, a personal decision. The increase in pipe sales is showing that many cigar smokers are open to the possibility.