March 9, 2006


Smoking In U.S. Declines Sharply: Cigarette Sales At a 54-Year Low (Marc Kaufman, March 9, 2006, Washington Post)

Americans smoked fewer cigarettes last year than at any time since 1951, and the nation's per capita consumption of tobacco fell to levels not seen since the early 1930s, the association of state attorneys general reported yesterday.

Using data the federal government gathers when it collects taxes on cigarette sales, the group found a 4.2 percent decline in 2005 alone and an overall drop of more than 20 percent since tobacco companies reached a legal settlement with the states in 1998.

Association leaders and other tobacco-control advocates hailed the decline as a sign that sometimes-controversial developments triggered by the $246 billion settlement have been effective. The drop was a result, they said, of factors that include the sharply higher cost of cigarettes, restrictions on cigarette advertising and a shift in public perceptions as the dangers of smoking are more aggressively and widely publicized.

"I think we're reaching a tipping point, where the image of tobacco is that it's unhealthy and dangerous, and not glamorous like years ago or neutral like the cigarette companies say now," said Tom Miller, Iowa's attorney general and co-chairman of the National Association of Attorneys General's tobacco committee.

Today when you see someone smoking you wonder why they despise themself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 9, 2006 8:12 AM

themself ? ? tch, tch.

Posted by: Jim at March 9, 2006 8:28 AM

They've come a long way, baby.

Posted by: oj at March 9, 2006 8:42 AM

Jim, you missed "someone-they." Perhaps some NH idiom at work??

Posted by: curt at March 9, 2006 8:58 AM

Really, the only thing encouraging people to smoke these days are those gawdawful commerccials. They make me want to go and light up just to spite those pretentious, angst-filled agit-propagandists.

Posted by: Bryan at March 9, 2006 8:59 AM

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. --H.L. Mencken

Posted by: ted welter at March 9, 2006 11:05 AM

No one's happier than Puritans.

Posted by: oj at March 9, 2006 11:11 AM

When William Gibson's prediction comes true and they start digitally editing the cigarettes and smoke out of old Bogart movies ... oh, wait ... that already happened, didn't it?

Posted by: Cybersmoke at March 9, 2006 11:11 AM

If second-hand smoke is emitted in the forest, and there is no one about to breathe it, does it make you frown?

Posted by: Bert Russell at March 9, 2006 11:14 AM

Mr. Russell:

The problem remains first-hand smoke.

Posted by: oj at March 9, 2006 11:20 AM

Since there's a fair chance that they're about to carelessly burn down the forest, yes.

Posted by: Timothy at March 9, 2006 11:21 AM

The most hilarious bit on Why I like to smoke was the tour de force performance by Harriet Sansom Harris, sometime Frasier agent, on the old TV show, Frasier. She had everyone running around trying to sneak a smoke.

Recovering smokers will get a kick out of it. People who never smoked, won't get it.

Posted by: erp at March 9, 2006 12:06 PM

It's OK. The Chinese will buy all the cigarettes we can ship...

Posted by: M. Murcek at March 9, 2006 12:52 PM

Everyone buys bootleg smokes now.

"Tom Miller, Iowa's attorney general and co-chairman of the National Association of Attorneys General's tobacco committee"

Someone should inform these statists that smoking isn't a crime. But of course for the AG's it isn't really about smoking, it's about extorting money from the tobacco companies.

Posted by: Carter at March 9, 2006 2:19 PM

They wouldn't have been able to extort money from the tobacco companies if the tobacco industry hadn't ludicrously insisted, for decades after their own research showed it to be true, that cigarettes aren't addictive, and that the link between smoking and cancer was weak.

The tobacco industry dug their own grave, the As G just pushed them in.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 9, 2006 4:00 PM