Smokers have options

Letter - The Regional

August 26, 2009

A recent issue of the "Teka" featured comments from contraband customers on the subject of video surveillance of illegal smoke shacks. For some reason or other they tend to disapprove. One claimed that he could buy tobacco "wherever I damn well please." Another thought that I should mind my own business. You know, butt out!

It's true that people can buy tobacco wherever they want to. It's equally true that they can drive as fast as they want to. After drinking as much as they want to. While reading if they want to.

As I see it, smokers have four options:

1) Buy your smokes at one of the shacks on Highway 6. You're breaking the law, supporting organized crime and hurting law-abiding business owners. It's possible that you and your vehicle will be videotaped. Since you're breaking the law, the video will be given to the RCMP as evidence. You'll probably end up on the web as well.

2) Buy your smokes at one of the million or so shacks that aren't on highway 6. You're still breaking the law, still supporting organized crime and still hurting law-abiding business owners. (Tobacco cannot be legally sold without charging all applicable taxes, to a person without a valid status card). On the plus side you won't get video taped (not by us, anyway). Also it's rumoured that smokes are cheaper on the reserve.

3) If you're afraid to drive on the reserve, then buy your smokes at the local ;convenience store or gas station. Support a law-abiding business owner instead of a crook.

4) If you can't afford legal smokes then become an ex-smoker. You know, butt out!

Doug Fleming

Caledonia