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Now in Brooklyn, Homegrown Tobacco
February 25, 2011 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Fed up with anti-smoker sentiments and taxation of cigarettes, Audrey Silk decided to plant her own tobacco at her home in Brooklyn.
posted by reenum (149 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I read this earlier this morning. It just seems so impractical, but then I guess making a point often is.
posted by item at 9:12 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love it... and I don't even smoke or care to start.
posted by inthe80s at 9:15 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


“Don’t let this fool you,” she said. “I put my roll-your-owns in here. I just saved all my old Parliament boxes.”

Seriously? If you're going to roll your own, at least shell out the 20 bucks to get yourself a pretty metal case.
posted by phunniemee at 9:16 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


IF TOBACCO IS LEGAL THEN EVERYONE WILL GROW IT!
posted by LordSludge at 9:16 AM on February 25, 2011 [25 favorites]


my old Parliament boxes.

Shouldn't she be using Silk Cut?
posted by zamboni at 9:17 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What a weird reaction. I mean I guess she avoids the tax, but she still can't smoke in most places in the city outside of her home and that seems to be her main complaint on her website. If anyone needs proof that nicotine is a drug and that addiction makes you do crazy things, here's a good example.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:18 AM on February 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


"It 'll make the antismokers apoplectic," said Ms.
Silk . " They're using the power of taxation to
coerce behavior. That 's not what taxation is
supposed to be for ."

I've no problem with her growing her own fags, as long as she doesn't expect the state to susidise her (statistically) disproportionate health care costs. I guess that might not factor for her in the States, but it's certainly an issue in most other societies.
posted by londonmark at 9:19 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know plenty of people who do this with other smokable plants. I guess they specifically don't want articles written about them, though.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:20 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ah, the NYT trend piece. One person is a trend.
posted by fixedgear at 9:20 AM on February 25, 2011 [21 favorites]


What a weird reaction. I mean I guess she avoids the tax, but she still can't smoke in most places in the city outside of her home and that seems to be her main complaint on her website. If anyone needs proof that nicotine is a drug and that addiction makes you do crazy things, here's a good example.

It's almost like she's using the publicity from solving one problem to draw attention to a related problem she can't solve on her own! Crazy!
posted by vorfeed at 9:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


If anyone needs proof that nicotine is a drug and that addiction makes you do crazy things, here's a good example.

Huh, whaaa??

People brew their own beer.

People bake their own bread.

People churn their own butter.

etc.
posted by LordSludge at 9:24 AM on February 25, 2011 [29 favorites]


NYT: Fed up with the price of basil, New Yorkers grow own basil.
posted by seventyfour at 9:24 AM on February 25, 2011 [20 favorites]


If there are other New York City smokers growing tobacco at home, they appear to be keeping it to themselves.
posted by seventyfour at 9:25 AM on February 25, 2011


Not sure this counts as a political act - one person going 'off the grid' isn't likely to change anything. Anyway sooner or latr the NY moralists are just going to ban smoking indoors as well.
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 9:26 AM on February 25, 2011


vorfeed: what is the problem she is trying to solve exactly?
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:26 AM on February 25, 2011


Then there is the processing: washing leaves in her kitchen sink...

Yeah, you wouldn't want to get toxins all mixed in with your cigarettes.
posted by rkent at 9:28 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


There aren't "sin taxes" on bread or butter.. Can't recall if there are limits to beer brewing, but if you distill, there certainly are limits..

And should she try to sell anything she rolls, well, hope she has a lawyer..

(Curious how she's retired at 46, given the hoopla over Wisconsin and public employee unions.. )
posted by k5.user at 9:28 AM on February 25, 2011


What a weird reaction. I mean I guess she avoids the tax, but she still can't smoke in most places in the city outside of her home and that seems to be her main complaint on her website. If anyone needs proof that nicotine is a drug and that addiction makes you do crazy things, here's a good example.
So everyone who grows their own tomato or spices is crazy too? Growing plants can be fun, and while there's no doubt that nicotine is a very addictive substance I wouldn't call growing your own 'crazy'. If taxes get to high this is a reasonable approach. You might not save money but you'll probably have fun setting it up and growing the plants.

That said, what do tobacco plants smell like? I find the smell of cigarette smoke pretty gross, and I feel like the plants would stink up the apartment pretty bad.
posted by delmoi at 9:30 AM on February 25, 2011


Modern tobacco tastes like crap. Good for her; and I look forward to watching this trend grow.

/thankfully, tobacco lawsuits and lottery funded the schools. Uh. Off topic again./
posted by buzzman at 9:30 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If anyone needs proof that nicotine is a drug and that addiction makes you do crazy things, here's a good example.

What an insulting, condescending thing to say. "Yep, that nasty old tobacco makin' her crazy! Keep it out of the hands of our children!" Did you form your opinions from watching Reefer Madness?

Frustration also makes you do you irrational things, like symbolic protests because you have little other recourse.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:31 AM on February 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


As seen on AskMetafilter.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That said, what do tobacco plants smell like? I find the smell of cigarette smoke pretty gross, and I feel like the plants would stink up the apartment pretty bad.

Dunno, but unlit cigars and cigarettes smell fucking great.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:32 AM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


"It 'll make the antismokers apoplectic,"

Really, what better reason could you have for spending hours and hours planting, replanting, processing, drying, shredding and rolling?

Work harder, Audrey. I'm hardly even concerned.
posted by PlusDistance at 9:32 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


There aren't "sin taxes" on bread or butter.. Can't recall if there are limits to beer brewing, but if you distill, there certainly are limits..

Distilling without a permit is illegal on the federal level. It's called moonshining.

Local and state laws aside, homebrewing is limited to 100 US Gal per person age 21 per year, or 200 US Gal per household without ATF permits. Obviously, many of us know people who reach and breach that limit easily, but the gummint doesn't seem to care if you homebrew past 200 gallons as long as you aren't selling it.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:34 AM on February 25, 2011


Given that finding really good tobacco for cigarettes is relatively hard and expensive, this seems like a natural outgrowth. When I smoked, I think I would have been inclined to give this a shot.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:35 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck the tobacco. She should grow weed, and buy cigarettes with the massive profit that she makes.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:35 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


It will be amusing to see what will be taxed next and the uproar it will generate when the revenue from taxation on cigarettes dwindles as more people decide to quit smoking.

In a way, the states are addicted to the money from the taxation of smoking. A proposed $1/pack tax hike will supposedly raise $9 billion dollars for states.
posted by chambers at 9:35 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a bonus, she likely avoids all the nasty additives and preservatives big tobacco add to their smokes. I bet this is WAY healthier. Think homemade mac and cheese versus Kraft Dinner.
posted by Brodiggitty at 9:36 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I've heard that people growing their own marijuana for personal consumption, like in Spain and Italy, actually reduces abusive behavior, making that among the best regulatory approaches. I donno if tobacco might work out similarly. Alcohol does not self regulate well.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:36 AM on February 25, 2011


This is a good thing - she's still killing herself, but at least big evil corporations aren't getting a piece of her flesh.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:36 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


They're not "using the power of taxation to coerce behavior" as much as they using the power of taxation to make money off of people's addictions.

Still wrong, of course.
posted by tommasz at 9:39 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, that'll *cough* really *cough* show that pesky *cough cough* government who's boss!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:39 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


As someone who gets physically ill around cigarette smoke, I'm not so unsympathetic with a lot of the anti-smoking sentiment, but I imagine that her growing her own probably smells world's better than being downwind of the average person puffing away.
posted by Phalene at 9:40 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is pretty neat! If I didn't already have all kinds of loopy projects going on in my apartment, I would be mighty tempted to try growing tobacco.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:41 AM on February 25, 2011


What will happen when she tries to grow tomatoes also?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:42 AM on February 25, 2011 [21 favorites]


I don't have a problem with using tobacco taxes to put cash back into healthcare and all, but it really does piss me off when people start expecting that money to always be there, using it to fund schools and roads and whatever. What happens if people stop smoking? I know budgets are tight and all but the taxes on smokes are supposed to be earmarked for repaying the government for the social costs of smoking, not for free cash that can be used all willy-nilly like it's never going to stop raining Benjamins.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:43 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That said, what do tobacco plants smell like? I find the smell of cigarette smoke pretty gross, and I feel like the plants would stink up the apartment pretty bad.

The Body Shop used to sell Tobacco Flower perfume, so it can't smell that bad.
posted by peppermind at 9:43 AM on February 25, 2011


Counterpoint: This is a bad thing; the tax on cigarettes provided $440 million for health programs within NY state last year, including $72 million for the state's cancer research center and money for tobacco cessation programs. She's not paying her fair share even though these programs primarily help smokers and ex-smokers.

What will happen when she tries to grow tomatoes also?


Then there will be at least one decent tomato in New York City this year.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Basically, being subservient to an addiction is silly, but gardening is intrinsically rewarding regardless of output. So, it's a wash.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


If they wrote it up as "open source tobacco" would y'all still have out your pitchforks and torches?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:45 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


but it really does piss me off when people start expecting that money to always be there, using it to fund schools and roads and whatever. What happens if people stop smoking?

But that's the clever part - they're addicted!
posted by biffa at 9:45 AM on February 25, 2011


What will happen when she tries to grow tomatoes also?

This is silly, because how would she smoke a tomato?
posted by found missing at 9:46 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Body Shop used to sell Tobacco Flower perfume, so it can't smell that bad.

Tobacco flowers are an entirely different beast than the leaves. (For a pleasant-both-ways example, anyone who lives in sakura country can testify that cherry blossoms are pleasant but very different than cherries)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:46 AM on February 25, 2011


What will happen when she tries to grow tomatoes also?

Then there will be at least one decent tomato in New York City this year.


I think this was the answer FoB was looking for.
posted by item at 9:47 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I bet this is WAY healthier. Think homemade mac and cheese versus Kraft Dinner.

Haha, my homemade Mac and Cheese is WAY worse for you than Kraft.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:48 AM on February 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


"It 'll make the antismokers apoplectic,"

I dislike the bullying of smokers in our society, but what I hate even more is that smokers don't even seem to have a clue that their habit it just fucking gross. It's as though smokers don't even care. And what about all the cigarette butts at the beach? Or flicking a butt out of the window of a car? Or smoking in and around the playground?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:49 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


The snooty, arrogant attitude some of you have is incredible. Everyone lives a life full of addictions. This is a very responsible way to live ones life: provide for your own happiness at a local level. And she gets healthy, organic tobacco, not laden with additives. Why anyone could object or even laugh at this is beyond me.
posted by pucklermuskau at 9:52 AM on February 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


Like goldline, but gives you cancer.
posted by schmod at 9:52 AM on February 25, 2011


And what about all the cigarette butts at the beach? Or flicking a butt out of the window of a car? Or smoking in and around the playground?

All of those things are illegal here.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2011


Everyone lives a life full of addictions.

Many of us have the good manners to keep our addictions to ourselves. Smokers almost never smoke alone.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Perhaps the only thing worse than melodramatic living
“I’m waiting for the black helicopters to start flying over my yard.”
is melodramatic writing
"— one wrong move could ruin her cigarettes."
"...Ms. Silk has gone off the grid,"
(I smoke but I don't smoke in a restaurant even when I can because I think it's rude, but demonizing something that is legal seems odd. I remember when they enacted the smoking ban when I lived in SF and I'd go to the Irish bars out in the Avenues and they would just laugh: Bars aren't a place you go to get healthy. Also I've only driven my own car for 4 of my 46 years and I resent the people that drive in from the burbs with their cars belching and tell me to not smoke. Perhaps there should be some equivalent of a pollution tax credit or a carbon emissions tax.)
posted by vapidave at 9:55 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


> Everyone lives a life full of addictions.

It's a stretch to equate the myriad of little "addictions" that people structure their lives around with cigarette addiction. She's having fun growing good tobacco is enough justification without having to make it morally equivalent to hypothetical habits.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:57 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


That said, what do tobacco plants smell like? I find the smell of cigarette smoke pretty gross, and I feel like the plants would stink up the apartment pretty bad.

I grew up near Lancaster County, PA, where a lot of Mennonites grow tobacco. Used to drive past one of one of these on my way to school. It smells amazing. Tobacco only smells bad when you burn it. Which is true about a lot of things, when you think about it.
posted by valkyryn at 9:57 AM on February 25, 2011


So everyone who grows their own tomato or spices is crazy too?

Yeah, I can never find anywhere to eat a tomato around here. It's totally an affront to my civil liberties.

Besides, by the time I'm 65 they'll have a cure for tomato cancer for sure.
posted by mhoye at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone lives a life full of addictions.

I drink a lot. I don't spit it in the face of the person sitting next to me though, or throw my empty bottles into the street. And I never complain about the taxes I pay for my liquor, or grouse that I can't drink at work, or in the street, or at my nephews birthday party, although god knows I could have used a drink then.

I suppose it depends on what side of the fence you're sitting on. I don't care if people smoke, as long as it doesn't affect me. Smokers, however, seem to think that not giving them the opportunity to ruin every bar I go to, and every concert I see, and every restaurant I eat at, and the bus stop, is somehow oppressing them. I suppose on their side of the fence it does look like oppression. On my side of the fence, they seem like whiny, entitled monsters who are determined not to let me have a night out when I don't feel like I have to wash my clothes in tomato juice when I get home.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2011 [47 favorites]


Tobacco only smells bad when you burn it. Which is true about a lot of things, when you think about it.

Certainly applies to tires.
posted by found missing at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Can I grow my own opium poppies now?
posted by Danf at 10:02 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What if she was growing her own food to eat and was morbidly obese?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:02 AM on February 25, 2011


On the curing front: a basement isn't exactly an ideal place for that. Even if you aren't going to fire cure the stuff, you need it to be dry. So I wonder how good this stuff actually winds up tasting. She's probably growing it at least as much for the nicotine as anything else, but curing is such a huge part of tobacco production that I wonder how well this actually works.
posted by valkyryn at 10:02 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


she gets healthy, organic tobacco

I'm with you on your general point, but it's a stretch of Plastic Man proportions to call a cancer-causing substance "healthy." (Unless you mean Silk's tobacco plants themselves are healthy as a matter of effective plant-growing, which may be true although not particularly relevant to anything.)
posted by brain_drain at 10:03 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


What if she was growing her own food to eat and was morbidly obese?

Then she'd probably be on the road to eating more healthily.
posted by aught at 10:03 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I drink a lot. I don't spit it in the face of the person sitting next to me though, or throw my empty bottles into the street.

Not for nothing, but two of my friends were killed in highschool by a drunk driver.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:04 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


She's not paying her fair share even though these programs primarily help smokers and ex-smokers.

Wait, she's supposed to pay a tax on a product she makes herself? And by not doing so she's somehow cheating the rest of us? Dude, you've got some strange ideas -- what have you been smoking?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


And she gets healthy, organic tobacco, not laden with additives.

A smoker friend used to self-teasingly refer to the Natural Spirits he would usually buy as his "health food" cigarettes.
posted by aught at 10:06 AM on February 25, 2011


I drink a lot. I don't spit it in the face of the person sitting next to me though, or throw my empty bottles into the street.

Not for nothing, but two of my friends were killed in highschool by a drunk driver.


And there are appropriate laws prohibiting people from driving drunk . . . so . . huh?
posted by Think_Long at 10:06 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


"It 'll make the antismokers apoplectic," said Ms.
Silk .


It will? Why? I could care less what she does in her own home.
posted by spicynuts at 10:06 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


And there are appropriate laws prohibiting people from driving drunk . . . so . . huh?

And there are appropriate laws prohibiting people from smoking around other people here.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:07 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I grow my own opium poppies now?

Yes.

posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2011


Can I grow my own opium poppies now?

Good question!

The answer, it turns out, is very, very complicated. In the simplest possible terms, you can grow your own opium poppies, so long as you don't realize you're growing opium poppies. As soon as you know that you're growing opium poppies, you can't grow opium poppies any more.

Drug war thoughtcrime!
posted by mr_roboto at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


Not for nothing, but two of my friends were killed in highschool by a drunk driver.

You've convinced me. Let's have laws against smoking AND laws against drunk driving since they are both deadly, though in differing degrees.

What if she was growing her own food to eat and was morbidly obese?


I guess if she were constantly spitting her fatty, unhealthy food in my mouth I'd want a law against that too.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what about all the cigarette butts at the beach? Or flicking a butt out of the window of a car? Or smoking in and around the playground?

Assholes did those things. Not smokers.

I smoked for 15 years, never flicked a butt out of the car window, never smoked around kids, and was always aware that my habit was obtrusive and hazardous to others. Because I was a smoker, not an asshole.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:10 AM on February 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


Tobacco only smells bad when you burn it. Which is true about a lot of things, when you think about it.

Here's a list of some things that smell bad whether you burn them or not:

Poop
Testicles
Rotten eggs
Hobos
French people
My dog's breath
Mildew
posted by spicynuts at 10:10 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


[If anyone needs proof that nicotine is a drug and that addiction makes you do crazy things, here's a good example.]

LordSludge: Huh, whaaa?? People brew their own beer. People bake their own bread. People churn their own butter. etc.

Incidentally, "Addicted To Butter" is the name of my new band.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:13 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Awesome plan I came up with when I was 18:

1) set up hydroponic grow setup in large closet
2) grow tobacco
3) cops raid house, find that you're only growing healthy, legal tobacco, apologize in order to avoid lawsuit
4) ROTATE CROPS
5) profit (or, more likely, ensure large home supply of expensive, hard-to-source medicinal herbs)

Now that I have been foolish enough to publish this plan it may become necessary to repeat step 3 a couple times, but I think the basic idea is sound.
posted by jtron at 10:14 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude, if every smoker who flicks their butts out windows or smokes around kids or smokes while walking in front of me on the sidewalk (the fucking worst) is an asshole, then like 90% of smokers are assholes. I think I have associated with enough random people in my life to say, not anecdotally but empircally, that the vast majority of smokers throw their butts anywhere they damn please, including on the sidewalk or out the window.
posted by gagglezoomer at 10:17 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


What will happen when she tries to grow tomatoes also?

Someone pulled a Homer Simpson and grew an actual Tomacco plant.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:18 AM on February 25, 2011


Wait, she's supposed to pay a tax on a product she makes herself? And by not doing so she's somehow cheating the rest of us? Dude, you've got some strange ideas -- what have you been smoking?

The idea that growing stuff for yourself does not free you from government control is pretty common in the US.

Obviously that is federal not state but you get the point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:18 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I have associated with enough random people in my life to say, not anecdotally but empircally

I think I know enough to say that that statement is obviously false.
posted by wildcrdj at 10:18 AM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


>And what about all the cigarette butts at the beach? Or flicking a butt out of the window of a car? Or smoking in and around the playground?

All of those things are illegal here.


I honestly believe the behaviours I'm describing here represent a failure of laws. Every time a new law is enacted to curtail smoking in public places, smokers generally obey the letter of the law and nothing more. No smoking within 30 feet of a building entrance? Well, I guess I'll smoke at 30 feet, 1 inch from the entrance, no matter if it's a busy thoroughfare where people *must* walk in order to get into the building.

This is why all of the laws and hypocritical moralizing just don't work, as it makes smokers become defensive and uncooperative. If there was just some way to explain to smokers that a majority of people find their habit just plain gross, that it's entirely possible for an asthma sufferer like me to catch a whiff of their cigarette smoke from across the street (let alone while walking behind someone on the sidewalk), or that it's actually quite frightening when someone holds a glowing-hot cigarette at the eye-level of a child on the sidewalk...

If smokers realized all this and somehow adjusted their behaviour, were courteous, it would be so great.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


>> Here's a list of some things that smell bad whether you burn them or not:
>>
>> Testicles
>>
>> posted by spicynuts


Oh indeed.
posted by JohnFredra at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I know enough to say that that statement is obviously false.

You get my point. Sorry I didn't have my comment peer reviewed in the National Journal of Nasty Habits.

I want to live people. Live until I'm 90! I don't want to die!
posted by gagglezoomer at 10:21 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


smokers generally obey the letter of the law and nothing more

Sure, but that statement is true of $TYPE_OF_PERSON as well. In cities especially, there are always enough assholes who don't care about other people that any annoying behavior will seem omnipresent. For example, texting while driving in states that have outlawed talking on a cellphone while driving. Letter of the law, maybe --- but obviously not the spirit.
posted by wildcrdj at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Grow Coca, sell to Charlie Sheen
posted by Ad hominem at 10:23 AM on February 25, 2011


KAM, I think the commenter is saying that since Silk is no longer purchasing tobacco and thereby paying taxes, her illness causing behavior is no longer contributing tax revenue to offset the increased medical costs to society.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:23 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oops, that should have been KAC.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:24 AM on February 25, 2011


And there are appropriate laws prohibiting people from driving drunk . . . so . . huh?

And there are appropriate laws prohibiting people from smoking around other people here.


ah, I thought you were coming at it from the other angle. never mind.
posted by Think_Long at 10:24 AM on February 25, 2011


“I make meatballs,” Ms. Silk said, by way of explanation. “My recipe is a four-hour ordeal. My biggest loved ones do not get any. When I have to put a lot of work into something, I don’t share.”

What a lovely person.

And what about all the cigarette butts at the beach? Or flicking a butt out of the window of a car? Or smoking in and around the playground?

All of those things are illegal here.


And how often are those activities ticketed? Right.

Dude, if every smoker who flicks their butts out windows or smokes around kids or smokes while walking in front of me on the sidewalk (the fucking worst) is an asshole, then like 90% of smokers are assholes.

I have no real problem with smoking (outside), even right next to me and my child, but the littering is the absolute worst. I see millions of butts on the street. Those butts get washed straight out to the Bay. Ugh.

Put it out, make sure it's out, then throw it away in the trash. Be like a Burner and carry around an old film canister as an ashtray.

Stop throwing your nasty butts all over the world! Pretty please?

If I didn't already have all kinds of loopy projects going on in my apartment, I would be mighty tempted to try growing tobacco.

Growing tobacco is easy. The processing is the bitch.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:28 AM on February 25, 2011


The idea that growing stuff for yourself does not free you from government control is pretty common in the US.

That case is radically different from the suggestion that she be taxed on a product that she produces and consumes herself. Of course the government has some say in what we can grow -- marijuana being an obvious example.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:31 AM on February 25, 2011


To me, i couldn't care less what she does to her body, along with every other smoker. But it's not just them, they force it on everyone around them and rarely give two squats. I'm severely allegoric to cigarette smoke (or something in it when it burns), and if it's not an open area, not long after being in the room with them my eyes swell shut, my throat stats to get tight, and i either have to hope to have some meds on me or gtfo. I've also never been around a smoker who cares, as long as their addiction is taken care of. This makes it different than other "sin taxes". Does anyone ever force something down your throat (fatty foods, soda, alcohol, etc.)that could possibly kill you? No. So i have no sympathy what so ever with smokers, since they have never shown any to me.
posted by usagizero at 10:37 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


" They're using the power of taxation to coerce behavior. That 's not what taxation is supposed to be for ."

Um... IANAE (I am not an economist) but I thought that's exactly what taxation was for. A series of incentives and disincentives to modify behavior toward a particular result on a macro level. (with varying degrees of success, of course)
posted by indiebass at 10:38 AM on February 25, 2011


" They're using the power of taxation to coerce behavior. That 's not what taxation is supposed to be for ."

Um... IANAE (I am not an economist) but I thought that's exactly what taxation was for.


Well, that and raising the necessary funds to keep our civilization going.
posted by aught at 10:40 AM on February 25, 2011


What a lovely person.

Indeed. If you'd like to know what sort of person Ms. Silk is, look no further than her lighting up two feet from her dog's face.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um... IANAE (I am not an economist) but I thought that's exactly what taxation was for.

Well, that and raising the necessary funds to keep our civilization going.


That's certainly what Oliver Wendell Holmes would say. =)
posted by indiebass at 10:48 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um... IANAE (I am not an economist) but I thought that's exactly what taxation was for.

Well, the main purpose of taxation is to fund government. Economists sometimes favor taxes to modify behavior, but in those cases they would call the behavior-modifying function of taxes "correcting an externality". Such taxes are called "Pigovian taxes".
posted by mr_roboto at 10:49 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


She should be careful, as should anyone on the blue considering growing their own 'baccy. Dermal exposure to nicotine can cause some nasty diseases; without proper harvesting gear, this is fairly common.

However, it usually affects disenfranchised migrant workers rather than hip, contrarian brooklanites. New NYT trend piece?
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


That said, what do tobacco plants smell like? I find the smell of cigarette smoke pretty gross, and I feel like the plants would stink up the apartment pretty bad.

Well, they don't smell like burning tobacco; and growing plants don't smell like dried tobacco, either. They smell sharp and green, is the best way I can put it. Lots of chemicals in there to keep the bugs away- tannins, so they smell bitter. If I brush against Nicotiana, I can smell it on my clothes later. It's not unlike the scent of pepper or tomato foliage; they're all in the Solanaceae family.

The Body Shop used to sell Tobacco Flower perfume, so it can't smell that bad.

Like most other plants, the flowers don't necessarily smell like the leaves. The flowers have a sweet, white floral scent, similar to jasmine in a broad sense.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:02 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hope they follow up in 20 years to write about how she's processing her own chemicals for her cancer treatment. Then I'll be impressed. Well, I'll be impressed if she's learned to share a meatball.
posted by perhapses at 11:05 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


She expects to produce a total of 45 cartons after planting two crops

“I make meatballs,” Ms. Silk said, by way of explanation. “My recipe is a four-hour ordeal. My biggest loved ones do not get any. When I have to put a lot of work into something, I don’t share.”

"It 'll make the antismokers apoplectic"

Ms. Silk, you're doing this wrong.

There are ten packs in a carton, twenty cigarettes in a pack = 200 cigarettes per carton X 45 cartons = 9000 cigarettes. That's just over a pack a day for a year. Ms. Silk, you do need to share. You need to start a blog called "9000 Cigarettes: One Woman's Quest For Personal Freedom, One Cigarette At A Time." It should go something like this: "I lit up cigarette #305. Could it be cigarette #305 already, I wondered? Yes. And it was only Thursday." Then wait for the blog to be turned into a best-selling book, which will in turn be made into a sit-com starring Brett Butler. Then sit back and cash those fat syndication checks. Now THAT will make the antismokers apoplectic.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:06 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


The idea that growing stuff for yourself does not free you from government control is pretty common in the US.

That case is radically different from the suggestion that she be taxed on a product that she produces and consumes herself.


No, not really. Dude was growing a legal product for himself and it counted as interstate commerce, so of course it could be taxed or destroyed.

Again, this applies to the federal government not the states, but the idea doing something for yourself means you are free of the government simply isn't as strange as suggested.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:12 AM on February 25, 2011


"I've no problem with her growing her own fags, as long as she doesn't expect the state to susidise her (statistically) disproportionate health care costs. I guess that might not factor for her in the States, but it's certainly an issue in most other societies."

I think you make a good point here. While I know most people think about it this way and think "Oh well the solution is less laws"-- I sort of understand where some people might find it more compassionate to protect people from these kinds of decisions.

I mean--- people do a lot of stupid things, in the end who was "nicer" the society that banned tobacco and was mean (enacted fines or community service requirements-whatever) to people that tried to sneak it but managed to keep the majority of people off it--- or the society that says "Ok who cares but we won't care for you when you're ill" and the people who smoke statistically tend to die slow sad deaths without medical care.

I recognize having the government control everything we do is a terrible idea--- unless there were a benevolent intelligent leader that could reign compassionately and we could ensure that all succesors behaved the same---
(while we're making up impossible scenarios, I suppose we could also just imagine that we had the power to prevent anything bad from ever happening to anyone.)

But I kind of get why some people get behind these protective laws. I mean if we could protect people from decisions that would be terrible for them... I mean that's a bit gray for me. I wish we could protect people from the consequences of bad decisions.
posted by xarnop at 11:21 AM on February 25, 2011


“They’re using the power of taxation to coerce behavior. That’s not what taxation is supposed to be for.”

Too right.

I just spent two weeks in NYC. I grew up there, and started smoking there, so we have a long history together in that regard. Cigarettes were $12.57 a pack at the corner store. They were half that or less across the river in NJ, where I paid $5.50 at 7-11.

So either NY is using tax punitively or every other state in the US is failing to understand the proper role of taxation. Consider the way NY has been gunning for smokers over the last 10 years, I vote for the former.

I am fine with not being able to smoke in a bar, or a cab, or an office, and I would never dream of smoking in someone else's house. I certainly wouldn't smoke in my sister's home; I smoked on her stoop instead *and picked up all my butts, thank you.) But I do think it is ridiculous to be told I can't smoke in a public park, and I'm pretty sure that outlawing smoking on public streets is next.

The impact of a total public smoking ban will not be to make me quit smoking, but will instead be the end of my annual tourism dollars in NYC.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2011


All of those things are illegal here.

And how often are those activities ticketed? Right


Don't know about where you live but here it is a $1000.00 fine to flick your cigarette butt out the car window.
posted by chugg at 11:32 AM on February 25, 2011


If it takes you four hours to make meatballs you are doing it wrong. Does she grind her own beef, pork and veal?
posted by fixedgear at 11:32 AM on February 25, 2011


If she raised her own pigs and cows it would take a lot longer.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:39 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now that I have quit I cannot stand being anywhere near smokers, but even when I was one I thought secondhand smoke was noxious so I can't see myself getting too fired up about a total ban in public places. Smokers can't control their smoke from bothering other people. So you either don't smoke or you have to make sure you're somewhere that isn't near anyone else. If you're the polite sort - and apparently those are few and far between.

Also the tax on cigarettes in NYC is ridiculous. When I lived there I'd go out to Long Island and buy them by the carton for half the price.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:40 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ms. Silk, 46, a retired police officer

46, retired, presumably on a taxpayer-funded pension health plan? Smoke away!
posted by Nelson at 11:41 AM on February 25, 2011


I dislike the bullying of smokers in our society, but what I hate even more is that smokers don't even seem to have a clue that their habit it just fucking gross. It's as though smokers don't even care.

I don't think it's gross, and I don't care if anyone thinks it is. At this point, I'm so fed up with the hand-wringing and knee-jerk "won't someone please think of the children, insurance rate, sidewalk, etc." that I pretty much just keep smoking now to piss you all off.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:42 AM on February 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


So either NY is using tax punitively or every other state in the US is failing to understand the proper role of taxation.

State's cost for providing health care for diseases caused by smoking not covered by private insurance + lost tax revenue because smoker is dead or disabled due to smoking + cost of fires caused by cigarettes + dead people in fires + litter removal + second hand smoke pollution + all the other bad things about smoke - good things caused by smoking = cigarette tax

Pro-tip: if you want to save money on smokes in New York, go to one of the Indian reservations and buy 10 cartons. They're like $5/pack there. I hate smoking, but I hate taxes even more. You could potentially save hundreds of dollars a year like that. I imagine most smokers don't do this because "I'm gonna quit soon..." Well, if that's the case, then here's my plan B advice: Go get a prescription for Chantix. That shit will deactivate the nicotine craving receptors in your brain. It might set you back a few hundred dollars, but you likely won't die at 60.
posted by gagglezoomer at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2011


"Ms. Silk would have spent more than $1,000 had she bought nine cartons in parts of New York City. Instead, she spent $240, mostly for the trays, the buckets and plant food."

Evidently her labor is worth $0 per hour.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Go get a prescription for Chantix. That shit will deactivate the nicotine craving receptors in your brain. It might set you back a few hundred dollars, but you likely won't die at 60.

But only as long as you keep taking it, it's $160 a month, and has a bad tendency to give people the crazies.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:48 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't know about where you live but here it is a $1000.00 fine to flick your cigarette butt out the car window.

And how many of those citations are issued every year? My guess is very few, but I don't know if those stats are available.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:53 AM on February 25, 2011


What will happen when she tries to grow tomatoes also?

They will probably be infected with a tobacco virus.
posted by caddis at 12:02 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's gross, and I don't care if anyone thinks it is. At this point, I'm so fed up with the hand-wringing and knee-jerk "won't someone please think of the children, insurance rate, sidewalk, etc." that I pretty much just keep smoking now to piss you all off.

Ironically, I support all these laws just to piss YOU all off.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:22 PM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


A derail, but the DIY tobacco aspect is somewhat related.

If you want to improve the tobacco situation and don't believe in prohibition, supporting a favorable treatment of personal vaporizers (aka "e-cigarettes") is a reasonable end. They smell much less (and better) and do not involve combustion products so the residues are easy to clean. From a harm reduction standpoint, the inhalation of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are considered safe and nicotine as a drug is not nearly as harmful as smoking a cigarette.

Presently the FDA is involved in attempting to regulate these devices as medical devices instead of tobacco products. If the advocacy organizations are to be believed, this will effectively kill the industry in the USA.

Many small US-based companies have been created providing US-sourced e-liquids and US designed and manufactured e-cigarettes. I think in the long run a move away from the popular consumption of smoked tobacco toward vaporized tobacco suspensions is a net gain for everyone. If you think so too, do the democracy thing; contact your representatives and donate appropriately.
posted by polyhedron at 12:27 PM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't think it's gross, and I don't care if anyone thinks it is. At this point, I'm so fed up with the hand-wringing and knee-jerk "won't someone please think of the children, insurance rate, sidewalk, etc." that I pretty much just keep smoking now to piss you all off.

TOATS, man! That's why I pour all my spent engine oil straight into the street. Fuck those environmentalists and their hand wringing won't someone think of the fish bullshit. Also, I took the catalytic converter off my car. Fuck you, ozone layer!! I'm so tired of the hand wringing. Then, just to piss off all those people who keep having hissy fits over clean streets and resale values and all that boozhie nonsense, I stopped using the toilet..I just shit in the street and then I said "Fuck garbage pails..." Now I just throw all my garbage straight out my third floor window and then I go downstairs and set it on fire in the middle of the road. Oh, and I don't bother locking up my shotgun anymore either...I just sort of rest it, fully loaded, against the mailbox. JUST TO PISS ALL YOU HAND WRINGERS OFF.

FYI - I'm a smoker.
posted by spicynuts at 12:37 PM on February 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm just pleased that the Times wrote an article about semi-rational attention-seeking behavior occurring in a part of Brooklyn that is not Park Slope and being done by someone who is not a hipster or a yuppie. Blew my mind!
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 12:41 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


It took 116 comments to get there, but we finally have the hipster Godwin! Yaaaay!
posted by item at 1:05 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair, I'm counting it usually affects disenfranchised migrant workers rather than hip, contrarian brooklanites as breaking the seal on that.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:08 PM on February 25, 2011


Hey, you.

Yeah, YOU.

Stop smoking.
posted by secondhand pho at 1:57 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


But man, for 46 she looks great. Not a day past 70 if I were to guess.
posted by docpops at 1:58 PM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


This lady is an idiot, but if it makes her feel better to stick it to the man by pissing away money she doesn't have on a habit that she's already half dead from then go for it.
posted by docpops at 2:01 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It'll make the antismokers apoplectic"

The American right seems to see that as its main objective and measure of success.

Unfortunately for Ms. Silk, I don't really care if she grows her own, in fact I'll argue that the cigarettes she grows herself are probably better for her than the commercial stuff and she gets the benefit of gardening to boot.

I do wonder how she to get retired from the NYPD at the age of 46, that usually requires either a crippling injury or a fuckup of truly epic proportions.

I don't even care, much, that she's adding extra costs to health care. The point of pooling is that it covers both the safe and dangerous. If we're going to demand that she pay extra, or be exempted from pooling, or what have you for smoking, shall we exempt me for failing to exercise, or rock climbers for putting themselves at risk?

The only objection I have to smoking is mainly that it makes public places smell awful. It is, literally, impossible for smokers to understand how penetrating cigarette smoke is, and how dreadful it smells. They smoke, so they don't smell it. I didn't back when my father was alive, I always assumed that the people complaining about the smell were just being assholes. After he'd been dead for about three months I was finally able to really smell cigarettes for the first time in my life, and I realized that no, the anti-smokers weren't assholes, they really did smell that bad.

I'm very much on the side of those who want smoking in public places banned, and it's the same reason I support bans on people voiding their bowels in parks, and restaurants, and whatnot. Both actions smell awful and I'd rather not have my nose assaulted in that manner.

I'm 100% behind a smoking ban for restaurants, and other public spaces. I'm also 100% behind smokers growing their own.
posted by sotonohito at 2:20 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


buried lede!
how do you retire at 46?!

But for Ms. Silk, 46, a retired police officer
posted by chavenet at 2:24 PM on February 25, 2011


But only as long as you keep taking [Chantix], it's $160 a month, and has a bad tendency to give people the crazies.

Not true. The recommended course is 3 months, no more. I had some stomach pains in the first two weeks (probably because I sometimes skip breakfast and you're supposed to take it after food), and my dreams were a bit weirder, something I had also noticed with nicotine patches in the past. I had quit in my mid-20s, but restarted a year later and had had little success with any quit method since then, although I did reduce my intake to between 5 and 10 / day.

I smoked one cigarette about 2 months in, and spent the next half-hour retching with a terrible headache to boot, which put paid to my lingering smoker nostalgia. I finished the course about 8 months ago, but my desire to smoke continued to decline afterwards. For example, if I was around people who were smoking I used to feel quite aware of the availability and opportunity to smoke, although finding it relatively easy to resist. Now I just feel indifferent to it. I have relatives and friends who still smoke and am exposed to it regularly, but it's not an issue.

Other people's smoking is annoying, but only in the same sense as burnt toast or litter from candy wrappers - it doesn't arouse any strong emotion of desire or revulsion, except on the rare occasions where I see an old person literally gasping their way through a cigarette. Physically, I felt a bit better fairly quickly, since I wasn't putting smoke into my lungs every day, but not that huge of a change; it was a pretty low-grade feeling of accomplishment and for a while there was something lacking - I wished for some kind substitute mini-reward without the unhealthy aspects of smoking, but eventually figured I'd just have to live without. Then, after being quit for about 6 months or so, I started to notice more significant physical improvements like better circulation or being able to run with less effort. Nothing drastic, but pleasing incremental gains nonetheless.

So your mileage may vary, consult your physician etc., but for me it's the best $450 I ever spent, and well worth the initial bumpy start. In pure accounting terms it paid for itself a while back, and that's the benefit that I would rank last if I were trying to order them. I would seriously consider it worth an employer or public subsidy as part of a preventive health effort.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:52 PM on February 25, 2011


Can I grow my own opium poppies now?

. In the simplest possible terms, you can grow your own opium poppies, so long as you don't realize you're growing opium poppies. As soon as you know that you're growing opium poppies, you can't grow opium poppies any more.


Cortex? Jessamyn? Some help here please?
posted by Danf at 3:47 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do wonder how she to get retired from the NYPD at the age of 46, that usually requires either a crippling injury or a fuckup of truly epic proportions.

Not true, NYPD officers can retire after 20 years. There's a lot of able-bodied 40-something ex-cops out there pulling in half their last year's salary for the rest of their lives. They retire with more money (2/3 or 3/4 of their salary? not sure) after 30 years.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2011


Cortex? Jessamyn? Some help here please?

Help with what?
posted by zamboni at 4:55 PM on February 25, 2011


Anyone who reads this thread can no longer legally grow opium poppies.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:58 PM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


yeah, growing P. somniferum is perfectly legal.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:04 PM on February 25, 2011


mr_roboto, I didn't read those parts or your comment.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:24 PM on February 25, 2011


Cortex? Jessamyn? Some help here please?

Help with what?

Anyone who reads this thread can no longer legally grow opium poppies.


Our mods could make this knowlege vanish in a big forest of ones and zeros and while it will still be there, it would be difficult to find.
posted by Danf at 5:24 PM on February 25, 2011


No one's going to believe me, but I advised Audrey to do this years ago on the USEnet group alt.smokers. Welcome to the wonderful world of South American drug plants, Audrey!
posted by telstar at 5:33 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait till they start taxing condescending comments. Then all you naysayers will be first in line to join the Homecode Community Blog Club
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:45 PM on February 25, 2011


You can grow very pretty flower tobaccos as ornamental plants; they don't have the big, bushy leaves of the tobaccos grown for smoking, but the plant itself is very similar. If the bunnies eat your flowering tobacco, they will die from it, which may be one of the draws if you're a gardener in a very bunny-ridden area.

Anyway, it smells perfectly pleasant and the flowers are very, very pretty. Drive through the tobacco fields of North Carolina and you won't smell anything untoward, unless the pig CAFOs are nearby.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:54 PM on February 25, 2011


Here's another picture of Audrey, smoking and walking (scroll down a little). She is promising a "smoke-in" for May 23, the day public smoking in NYC becomes illegal.
posted by telstar at 7:23 PM on February 25, 2011


A "smoke in" sounds like it would be kind of boring.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:21 PM on February 25, 2011


I have been told, over and over and over again, by an overwhelming majority of smokers that I've brought the topic to, that if I am bothered or disturbed or my allergy to smoke or my asthma is triggered by their smoking (both of which happens every time I'm around cigarette smoke), that I should either stop breathing around them or stay home where I belong and so not restrict their right to smoke. When I turn it around and ask why they feel their addiction gives them the right to pollute everyone else's supply of clean (or at least cleaner than it is if they fill it with cigarette smoke) air, I either never get an answer or I get insulted. This happens almost without exception, and even some of the smartest people I know who still smoke - that's not many - stoop to this level of argument.

I am never...and I mean never...nasty about it, even when I want to be, precisely because I know that there's an extremely high chance the smoker in question will be nasty all on their own and without instigation. It is extremely rare that a smoker will be amenable to considering someone other than themselves, and even rarer when a smoker will obey the laws and enjoy their cigarettes in an location where they know it will have minimal impact on the people around them. This is common courtesy, folks.

This is not "restricting your rights to smoke." As the saying goes, I dont give a shit if you burn. I just dont want to having to initiate emergency medical intervention to counteract the immediate and seriously negative effects to my health that are caused by your filthy, unnecessary, recreational habit that's also, by the way, killing YOU as well as everyone else who is exposed to it.

As a result, fuck you, you inconsiderate assholes. I hope they ban the balls off your "harmless pastime." If you dont know how to behave and your behaviour proves detrimental to others and removes the right that others have to be unharmed by you, then you are forcing everyone else to behave for you. You get what you deserve. You lose your privileges, and you can't blame anyone but yourselves when everyone around you takes their ball and goes home because you have no fucking respect for anyone else on the field by insisting they have to play by YOUR rules, even though theyre deleterious to all involved.
posted by perilous at 10:44 PM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, and thanks to all the smokers out there who aren't like those I described above. I know you exist, and I'm not the only one who appreciates your consideration.

I'm sorry you have to pay for the rudeness of your fellow smokers.
posted by perilous at 10:48 PM on February 25, 2011


In college, my roommate came home once with a big bag of homegrown tobacco he had somehow scored from a friend, in whole-leaf form. Cursory experimentation with various manual methods for shredding it into something rollable didn't turn out very well, at which point one of us (I forget which) had the bright idea of trying the (blade) coffee grinder.

A mere couple seconds application thereof served to reduce the material to a very fine powder, which was absolutely unsmokable but which we recognized immediately as a very passable imitation of snuff. The thing was that, in our haste, we had of course failed to clean the coffee grounds out of the coffee grinder, so they were all pretty well mixed in there too.

It was the best snuff ever.
posted by 7segment at 10:58 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The early retirement age for police officers is not uncommon in other municipalities as well. It's because there have to be incentives to attract people to police service, as it's an inherently dangerous job where your life is often at risk. Also, the longer someone is active, the greater the chance they will become injured on the job, and it's high burnout. It seems like cushy treatment, but some jobs work better with an early exit so you're continuously bringing in younger people to replace them. The job is partly physical, and the cold reality is that younger people have bodies which aren't yet suffering from age. There are good reasons for it, and cities of any size run into recruitment issues for officers. Better for the incentive to be long term security and early retirement rather than fat paychecks, which might attract people for the wrong reasons and cause other social issues.

They aren't getting rich on their salaries, so there is no need to become envious of police officers, although budgeting that sort of retirement age requires a lot of forethought. The problem with pensions in the public sphere is that economies always get overextended, and municipal budgeting is guided partly by politics and may not take this into account. Indeed, hardly any government budget was exempted from the effects, as part of the revenue is simply gone and not coming back. Careful planning can account for uncertainties and ensure that long term obligations are well funded, but there is always the problem that not everyone in charge of budgets thinks in the long term or beyond their own ambitions and those of their campaign contributors.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:05 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's gross, and I don't care if anyone thinks it is. At this point, I'm so fed up with the hand-wringing and knee-jerk "won't someone please think of the children, insurance rate, sidewalk, etc." that I pretty much just keep smoking now to piss you all off.

But I honestly worry about your lungs, your high risk of gum disease, and your aging skin!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:23 PM on February 25, 2011


I understand the allergy and asthma issues...but until I start to see legislation that fines people for being drenched in perfumes, then things like smoking bans in open areas seem like nothing more than puritanical punishment of the evil sinners du jour.

We tried growing tobacco once. We got giant caterpillars of doom, which turned into this astoundingly huge lunar moth things. (Wingspan the size of my hand. First time one strafed me, I thought it was a bat.) Since the giant caterpillars ate the tobacco and not my tomatoes, and the moths ate mosquitoes, we considered the experiment a success.
posted by dejah420 at 12:41 AM on February 26, 2011


Hmm, so what if I smoke on the sidewalk that runs along side the park? There is a 100% chance that some of that smoke will drift into the park.

EEEEERRROOOOOODDDDIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGG!!!!!!!!
posted by XhaustedProphet at 1:40 AM on February 26, 2011


"We got giant caterpillars of doom, which turned into this astoundingly huge lunar moth things. "

Probably a hawk moth/tobacco horn worm.

The one problem with growing tobacco and tomatoes together is not tomacco, but that tobacco mosaic virus, which is quite common (and can be carried dormant in cigarettes for YEARS -- "able to survive in dried plant debris as long as 100 years") will destroy the shit out of your tomatoes. And peppers. And eggplants. Also potentially your petunias and deadly nightshades. This is also why my husband goes batshit insane if someone tries to smoke in our backyard near his prized heirloom peppers ... a stray cigarette butt, if it happens to be infected, can infect most plants in the solanaceae family. (And members of many other families as well.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:32 AM on February 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Eyebrows, I did not know that. Damn, now I have to go research how far away smokers need to be from my gardens. Thanks for the heads up on the survivability in dried matter.
posted by dejah420 at 8:54 AM on February 26, 2011


Tobacco mosaic virus also affects aloe plants, not too many people grow those themselves, but a few do and they're really aggressive about keeping tobacco as far from their gardens as possible.
posted by sotonohito at 8:59 AM on February 26, 2011


paging meatbomb....
posted by uni verse at 9:01 AM on February 26, 2011


I've got aloes, but they're in pots. We'll plant the usual garden stuff; tomatoes, beans, greens, squash, etc. The only plant that will be new to the rotation this year will be a small patch of wheat, because my son wants to make his own flour, and we've got enough land to do some corn this year.

That said; I'm pretty fanatical about people containing their smoking to a small patio section or wandering around the land, just cause I don't want butts, ashes, etc., getting in the pool...but I guess I will further contain it to just the patio, because most of the smokers I know have military backgrounds, and all of them field strip their cigarettes, so tobacco could get everywhere, given the prevailing winds of the prairie.

That said; I've smoked for years. I've never successfully quit. I'm trying again now with the patch. Nicotine itself isn't really that dangerous, it's the inhaling of burning materials. And the smell of an ashtray of cigarette butts is about the most vile thing in the world. I don't let anyone smoke in the house, or in my car, or anywhere else where the smell could permeate and ruin things. I don't smoke around non-smokers...or anywhere where non-smokers might congregate; in other words, I make it as difficult as possible for myself to smoke. I know it's a bad idea to smoke, I know that the smell is obnoxious, I realize it makes me look stupid...I don't need everyone else piling on too, ya know? (That said; that cigarette after an outstanding high...or the one after sex...those will be the ones I miss the most...)

As to people who want to grow their own tobacco...good on them. I'd feel the same way about someone who grew their own hops, or lavender or herb garden. It's no skin off my nose how people decide to circumvent ridiculous laws.
posted by dejah420 at 10:40 AM on February 26, 2011


I *think* the smoking is mostly an issue from discarded butts, or if someone's ashing right on your plants. We've found when we explain to smokers about the tobacco mosaic virus and infecting our (fairly impressive) garden, people are very gracious about smoking in one spot and carefully discarding their butts, rather than wandering around ashing. (Since people enjoy being invited to our garden.) When it's not just, "SMOKERS MUST STAND IN QUARANTINE" but "So my husband has 30 varieties of super-hot heirloom peppers, and cigarettes can carry this virus that survives 100 years in dried tobacco debris that can kill them!" people are usually like, "Holy shit! That's crazy! I will definitely stand over here!" It is also helpful to send them home with super-hot heirloom peppers. :)

We knew a gardener whose yard was up against a convenience store parking lot with a slight slope. All her plants kept getting infected and she couldn't figure out why, until it finally dawned on her that people were dropping their butts in the parking lot, they were rolling "downhill" and either into her yard or the water runoff from the parking lot was carrying small amounts of debris into her yard. That problem wasn't solvable, since you can't police a whole parking lot of shoppers. She finally moved instead.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:01 AM on February 27, 2011


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