January 01, 2004

Leave it to New York

Hey - Happy New Year. Welcome to 2004's first rant.

And this is a rant. New York - the state this time - in time for this joyous New Year has decided to regulate carelessness. No, really, it did. I promise. And it feels good about itself.

    ALBANY, N.Y. - To prevent house fires set by careless smokers, New York state has adopted the nation's first rules mandating that cigarettes sold in the state must be rolled with lower-ignition paper.

    The so-called "fire-safe" cigarettes will extinguish by themselves if not puffed on, and advocates say they will prevent many of the fires now triggered by smokers who leave cigarettes unattended.
I love it - "fire-safe" cigarettes. I'm not a smoker, so perhaps I misunderstand the meaning there. Aren't cigarettes tobacco in a nice/friendly hand-holdable form intended for personal burning. Don't humans light those things on fire? Perhaps I'm missing something.

And that's just a slight eye-rolling statement. Next, there's this:
    "This could be the beginning of a global standard for cigarettes," said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group. "If New York goes ahead, it will drive a national debate because tobacco companies are not going to make one set of cigarettes for New York and one for the rest of the U.S. And if the U.S. sets standards, those will be standards for the entire globe."
What a gargantuan victory! We have yet again outsmarted Darwin. The crowd hoorays! New York, you paragon of forerunning; you visionary!

    Every year approximately 900 Americans die, 2,500 are injured and $400 million in damage is caused by fires started by cigarettes, according to the American Burn Association and the federal government.

    The lower-ignition paper does nothing to reduce the toxicity of cigarettes to smokers or to reduce the health effects of smoking.
Wow - I'm certain we all would never have slept a wink last night if we knew that. And I especially love the little "disclaimer" that apparently tells those of us who list ourselves among the clueless that, hey, moron, "safer cigarette" doesn't mean "safer CIGARETTE."

You know - I have an idea. New York - why don't you just ban the damned things altogether. Next year on New Year's Eve? Okay. If you're gonna meddle in your shopkeepers' lives and tell them what they can and cannot sell, might as well REALLY regulate, no?

I'm only have joking. I'm only half serious. I suppose I should be glad that the news today is this absolutely inane. (You're not even reading anymore, are you?) Brian opened the newspaper this morning and noted the cover story. I gave him a blank look, like, so what? He said yes, nothing blew up.

Good point.


Posted by hln at January 1, 2004 08:24 PM | RANT | TrackBack

I think they are forgetting one small thing "make something idiot proof and they'll build a better idiot". Okay - so they make these cigarettes extinguish themselves after a short period of idle time. So, what's an idiot to do???

I KNOW! I KNOW! Buy one of those punk things that you light fireworks with on 4th of July. That damned thing'll stay lit - then when the cigarette goes out - it can be relit right away!!! Yeah baby!

Posted by: Teresa at January 2, 2004 09:43 AM

Actually, Brian was wrong... YOU blew up :-)

Posted by: Harvey at January 2, 2004 09:56 AM

I have a suggestion: Instead of using low-ignition paper, use cement.

There are many advantages to making cigarettes out of cement. They are cheap - since you can't light them, a single pack will last for years. They're not addictive, don't cause cancer, and pose no fire hazard whatsoever.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 2, 2004 11:11 AM

Holy smokes (eep). The problem here isn't the paper, unless New York intends to demand lower ignition couches, mattresses, curtains, carpets, and oh yeah, PEOPLE. This new standard does absolutely nothing except waste tax dollars with the paperwork and annoy the tobacco industry. Idiots.

Posted by: Analog Mouse at January 5, 2004 07:22 AM