Monday, February 15, 2010
Breaking the Myths of Native Remote Tobacco Sales
It appears that the latest attempt to push through a ban on the use of the U.S. Postal Service for the shipping of tobacco products may be to attach the bill to Homeland Security and Anti-Terrorism legislation. In the America of uber-patriotism, or at least the politically correct need to appear so, hoards of politicians line up to pass anything dubbed Homeland Security or Anti-Terrorism. These mindless "servants of the people" check common sense, or any sense for that matter, at the door without even considering the absurdity.
Can anyone actually believe that a sale that takes place on Native soil by Native retailers direct to a consumer can some how be supporting Al Qaeda? The two most influencing arguments for making tobacco not mailable are claims that terrorist organizations may be benefiting from this trade and that children are purchasing cigarettes from Native retailers. Both of these worries are ridiculous and hide the truth behind the legislation. While it is possible for both a child or a terrorist to buy cigarettes from a Native retailer and have that product delivered, by mail, to them; it is neither a practical process for the type of instant purchase and under age smoke would employ or the clandestine path a terrorist would choose. Minimum and maximum purchases apply. Age and identification must be verified. Payment is done with a clear paper trail through checks or credit cards and it can take a week to ten days for the product to come. Not to mention, it is a government agency making the delivery.
There is nothing sinister or immoral about remote sales. No matter what your opinion about smoking is, tobacco sales are legal as is the mailing of tobacco. Native participation in this industry is both appropriate and thoughtful. No one really believes our sales are supporting Al Qaeda or Hammas nor does anyone believe children are indiscriminately being shipped cigarettes for them and all their friends to become addicted. These claims as well as some of the numbers associated with lost revenue are all a smoke screen for following Big Tobacco's lead and crushing the Native tobacco business. We no longer do the grunt work of pushing Philip Morris' Marlboros or RJ Reynolds' Winstons and Salems. We now have Native brands that threaten their market share. So now what appears to be socially acceptable anti-smoking laws are in fact protectionist measures for Big Tobacco. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the benefits to these guys. Hell, even a lowly public servant should be able to do it.