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Friday, July 6, 2007

What if RJ Reynolds had invented Eclipse Cigarettes 40 years ago?

For those of you unaware of Eclipse, they are cigarettes that don't burn: a tiny piece of charcoal heats the tobacco instead. You can only tell when they're done when you stop inhaling the smoke.

70% of what an Eclipse smoker exhales is water vapor. They have a slight odor, but it's not a cigarette-type smell. It doesn't cling to your clothes and hair, it doesn't make ashes, and it doesn't offend non-smokers that I've run into. It doesn't stink up your car or your home. Prime example: my wife hates the smell of conventional cigarette smoke. Out of respect to her, I would only smoke outside or in the garage. When I switched to Eclipse, I was able to smoke in the bathroom off my study without it bothering her at all.

During the 60's many Americans smoked regular cigarettes and smoked them everywhere. Non-smokers didn't like the smell, but their reaction was a self-satisfied "if that guy wants to kill himself, let him"! The anti-smoking groups were going crazy trying to get traction but to no avail. And then one day, in probably the most brilliant marketing move of all time, someone said "Hey, if cigarette smoke kills the smoker, what about the smoke they exhale and the burning cigarette gives off that I breathe? And so, without an ounce of medical, scientific, or anecdotal evidence, "Second Hand Smoke" was invented.

Suddenly, the non-smoker was in a panic! That guy smoking over there is killing himself AND ME! The anti-smoking movement grew, smokers fell into a minority, and then the fun began.

Tocqueville and Mills both wrote hundreds of years ago about the "tyranny of the majority" and it's effect on a democracy. A good example would be the way African-Americans were treated right up through the civil rights movement. Jim Crowe laws, "separate but equal" schools, drinking fountains, restrooms, etc. Instead of protecting them, the laws subjugated them to second-class citizenship. Only in the last 40 years have the laws provided equal treatment under the law for citizens of all colors. This doesn't mean racism is dead: it takes generations to change the hearts and minds of people, but UNDER THE LAW, all are equal.

Once the anti-smoking lobby grew to the majority and cigarette smoking had become "politically incorrect", smokers became victims of the tyranny of the majority. Punitive taxes of up to 500% (federal and state) were imposed, smoking was banned in bars, restaurants, public places, in the workplace: in fact, some employers won't hire smokers regardless of how qualified they are, and it's legal! A restaurant or bar owner who WANTS to cater to the smoking demographic is prohibited by law from doing so. A recent letter to the editor from a female non-smoker said "I don't want to ban cigarettes. People should be allowed to smoke if they want to. But only in their garages."

And that begs the question: WHY HAVEN'T CIGARETTES BEEN BANNED ALTOGETHER?" After all, the Surgeon General's warning has been printed on every pack of cigarettes heralding cancer, dead babies, and worse since the early 60's. The body of so-called "evidence" supporting the dangers of second hand smoke is voluminous. "Everyone Knows" that cigarettes are the worst possible danger on the planet: so dangerous, we dare not allow TV commercials. So dangerous, that politicians (Mr. Obama, for example) risk LOSING AN ELECTION if they're caught smoking. We've banned DDT, lead paint, asbestos.....FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY HAVEN'T WE BANNED CIGARETTES???????

The answer is simple: Tax Revenue. Hundreds of Billions of Dollars are raised every year by State and the Federal governments punitively taxing cigarette smokers. The hard truth is that if cigarettes were banned and criminalized tomorrow, within 30 days thousands of schools would be forced to close do to lack of funding. Whole State governments would collapse and go broke. All the social engineering programs liberals embrace and the defense budget conservatives stoke would grind to a screeching halt. Or worse yet, they would have to quadruple the alcohol taxes!!!!! So what that more people die from alcohol related incidents than by cigarettes in this country: don't tell Joe Sixpack he's going to have to pay a $3 per can beer tax! Don't tell Jenny Gentry she's going to have to pay a $10 per bottle wine tax! I shudder to think about the outrage of the hard alcohol drinkers! Washington and every State Capitol in this country would be burned to the ground. "You'll get my whiskey tax when you pry it from my cold, dead hands." would be the battle cry.

Don't worry, that will never happen , alcohol lovers. Not while a single cigarette smoker remains. Here in Texas, they raised the cigarette tax a dollar a pack (on top of the .40 tax and sales tax already there). During the first month of the increase, cigarette sales fell 13% BUT tax revenue from cigarettes GREW $53MM. Who got hurt? The convenience store owner and the overburdened cigarette smoker. Who benefited? The Middle School a few towns away from me that built a $3 million football stadium. A MIDDLE SCHOOL! $3 MILLION! And ironically, Texas ranks near dead last in education in this country....lawmakers say it's because "there's not enough money".

So what would have happened if RJR had invented Eclipse 40 years ago and the "odor" issue went away? Would second hand smoke ever have been "discovered"? Would cigarette smokers be treated like human beings instead of "separate but equal"? Would Texas kids have enjoyed playing football on a grass field with wooden bleachers just because they loved the game?

Sadly, we'll never know. Today, Eclipse cost $63/carton in Texas and I just can't afford that. I now buy "value" cigarettes from a secret Indian Reservation for $12.95 a carton. I'm back to smoking in the garage, I hate how my clothes smell, my car smells, and how I have to "sanitize" myself before a job interview. So why don't I just quit? Well, I'm smoking "for the children". It would be plain unAmerican for me to stop!

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Jesse Barracoso said...

Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

Eclipse Smokes Rock! I can smoke and watch TV and not smell up my house or dis-color the walls. No ashes mean no mess, cooking instead of burning means Eclipse don't smoke, they just glow. Sure I exhale smoke, but the cig isn't continuously pouring out smoke. It is awesome. -Bob

Anonymous said...

I remember the Eclipse cigarette when it first came out I was in highschool.
It was weird smoking it. I can not find it here where I live anywhere. I would love to get my hands on it again due to it being smokeless I am going through the whole Antit smokers junk.

Mr. UnloadingZone said...

I know, that's why I'm into Swedish Snus now (NOT Camel or Marlboro "snus"). On the top of the right column on my Blog is Index Pages of Popular Topics. Click on snus for the details.

Bottom Line: Swedish Snus: great tobacco flavor and variety, virtually NO carcinogins, regular has 8mg of nicotine; strong has 11mg of nicotine. It's an oral pouch but NO spitting. It's GREAT!
I don't even think about cigarettes anymore and I smoked for over 30 years.

Eclipse was never marketed correctly, Going from Camel Turkish Gold, I could only tolerate the menthol Eclipse (and later came to love them). The regular flavor should have never made it out of the lab.

The availability was limited, in the beginning they gave away $10/off a carton which made them affordable but their coupons after that were too infrequent and too little.

They were never available through the discount internet tobacco or Indian reservation sites.

Probably because of all the above, they never came down in price and when Texas raised the cigarette tax a dollar a pack, I couldn't stomach spending $60/week on them.

Then they disappeared. That was a year and a half ago, probably because the retailers were sitting on them and didn't want them. It was only last week I saw them at a 7-Eleven again, but still high priced.

In the end it worked out as I discovered Swedish snus. It's also a much cheaper habit for a nicotine junkie like me, no odor, you can use it at work, bars, anywhere..and no one knows.

But imagine IF RJRT had gotten the taste right on the regular Eclipse and had offered them 40 years ago. What a different world it would be today.

Hlavaty{BTH} said...

i dont know y this guy is sayin he was gettin cartons of eclipse at like $65 i'v been getting packs for &1.25 at my local 7-11(like a WAWA, or a piggely wiggely or sum shit like that) wen Marlboro's are $5.65 a pack lol. by the way i live in NY where everything is more money for some stupid reason

Mr. UnloadingZone said...

Hi Hlavaty{BTH},

$1.25 a pack? With NY cigarette tax at $2.75? Sounds like they fell off a truck, or as you said NY is crazy when it comes to money.
Maybe Reynolds is discontinuing them and just giving them away. I haven't really followed Eclipse since I switched to Swedish Snus.

Amazing price in any event. I'm glad I don't smoke anymore or I'd be really pissed instead of happy for you.

I'd stock up while they're around....then switch to Swedish Snus.

Anonymous said...

I ordered from a "secret Indian reservation" online before (I ordered those fancy looking but mediocre tasting YSL cigarettes) and they were shipped from Eastern Europe. So much for their "we get around tax laws because we are a reservation" BS.

Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"