War against smoking points to organized crime

The war against smoking has nothing to do with health and everything to do with organized crime.

Dear Editor:

The war against smoking has nothing to do with health and everything to do with organized crime.

Last November, the National Post reported that there are 55 illegal cigarette factories on Indian reservations in Ontario and Quebec, with another 10 on reserves across the border in New York state. The same article said native gangs have gotten as high as 30 per cent of the cigarette market. I estimate this to be a $14 billion a year cash-transfer from honest business and government revenue to criminal syndicates. These figures do not include counterfeit cigarettes imported by the Chinese triads, or ordinary cigarettes smuggled in by other gangs.

This is Prohibition, all over again. A legal product has been tabooed to funnel fortunes to the lawless. In spite of clichés to the contrary, gang members aren’t spending those billions in the bar. Like drug money, the funds are laundered through banks and re-invested in the legal economy, giving criminals more and more influence over our economic stability and jobs. That they were able to get anti-tobacco legislation passed across the West at the same time shows the power they had even before the price of cigarettes was raised. That increasing pressure against tobacco has been exerted for decades demonstrates that organized crime gangs, like the banks that launder the money, engage in long-term planning. They have lots of money to influence politicians — and others, too.

When religion is used to justify anti-tobacco legislation, this only shows how completely the influence of organized crime extends. Tobacco taxes are often called “sin taxes,” yet there is not one word in the Bible defining tobacco use as a sin. Therefore, in God’s eyes, we are free to use it. Ironically, sin is an old-fashioned word for crime. The meaning of the word has been changed, to put criminals in charge of our lives.

When the cost of tobacco doubled, I contacted every political party in Alberta. Not one would take my side. That is also a crime, because at least 27 per cent of Albertans now have absolutely no democratic representation at all. Even Stalin and Hitler allowed people to smoke. Ironically, every country outside “the free world” still does. Governments don’t care, because the money they lose to criminals is made up for by the increased prices law abiding smokers pay to stand outside in the cold.

Such disregard for the Golden Rule is clearly condemned as sin by the Almighty, who tells corrupt leaders in Ezekiel 13.22: ‘’You grieved the right-hearted by falsehood, when I had not made them sad and encouraged the wicked not to turn from his wicked way of life.” But governments and the crooks who bribe them have no use for the Golden Rule. They know both smokers and non-smokers often have strong opinions about smoking. They also know they are ruining our lives. To deflect blame from themselves, they start a fight between smokers and non-smokers. They want us all to have somebody closer to home to hate — as they and their friends rip us off.

Crooks know everybody needs a little break from time to time so the price of smokes is raised to get us to buy their contraband butts. Booze is stomped on to encourage us to buy dope, which shovels even more billions to organized crime. Worse yet, these measures pressure honest people to identify with and take the side of criminals. If we become criminals too, the criminals running society know we can’t point the finger at them. It’s time to let them down. We need a break from living in a three dimensional, organized crime world.

Ralph T. Kenny