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Body of letter sent to Larry King prior to commencement of
22 day hunger strike
Back One Step
The pen is only mightier than the sword if what it has
written has the chance to POST read. The truth shall set you
free only if someone is given the right to tell it. In a
society which has guaranteed rights to all groups regardless
of race, color, sex, creed, religion, and even sexual
preference, there still today exists a group who faces
legalized discrimination. In fact, this group of over 60
million faces legalized persecution in that even in this
country of free speech this group has been denied the simple
right of fair and open debate by the popular press.
Since 1978, after completing my PhD in economics and
entering the tobacco business, I have personally been
involved with efforts to open a fair discussion on the
complex controversies surrounding tobacco use. Enclosed is
some information about my efforts, which have included
pushing for disclosure of information about cigarette
additives and attempts to legislatively confront the 1969
Banzhaf decision which limits the free flow of vital
information to the American public. I also enclose excerpt
from my writings on the subject which should be helpful as
Currently my attempt to open this needed debate includes
an attempt to POST Phil Donahue to host a debate on these
controversies. I began a nationwide signature campaign
aimed at urging Mr. Donahue to host a show on the
controversies surrounding tobacco. I hope to have collected
100,000 signatures by Christmas and would like to present
them to Phil on a show along with a hand made Christmas
card. The card is a symbol of peace and represents our
simple plea to have a voice that has been denied to us.
Though I myself- like you- have personally given up smoking
as a fair thinking American I still find the climate of
outright discrimination toward smokers to be intolerable.
This discrimination goes far beyond seating arrangements in
restaurants or airports. This discrimination stretches to
the root existence of the individual as it is currently
legal to discriminate against smokers in terms of employment
and housing. Certainly there is a loss to the individual
who is barred from employment because of smoking preference
but there is a greater loss to society as it is deprived of
the services and creativity of that individual who, other
than being a smoker, would be most qualified for the job
from which he is being excluded. This, aside from the
arguments concerning equity, is the societal argument for
limiting racial or sexual discrimination and it should be
the same argument for legislating against job discrimination
My attempt to draw public attention to this issue is as
serious to me because of its implications for our democracy
as it is in its implication for the tobacco controversy.
The purposeful policy of the press to silence any effort to
raise economic or equity questions surrounding tobacco and
smoking has made me question the wisdom of a First Amendment
which guarantees the media machine too large a right of free
speech and censorship. Though I do not smoke and have spent
my professional life attempting to POST people to quit
cigarettes I still feel compelled to protect the individuals
right of choice and our societies right to a free and open
debate. After fifteen years of attempting to open this
debate I am tempted to resort to tried and tested forms of
personal protest. Hunger strikes, even by convicted
prisoners and self incineration by monks of South East Asia
have brought forth the call for public attention to their
issues. Though I really do not relish having to attempt to
POST attention by using such methods as I would rather be
allowed to speak because of my education and for what I
know, there is some benefit of having to go to such extremes
toward proving the kind of discrimination that exists even
in the press in regards to smoking. Because of a life
threatening illness, a hunger strike of even short duration,
or withdrawal from my medication which must be taken with
food, would only allow me a short time to POST the proper
media attention. Given the political incorrectness of my
subject and the spoken and unspoken taboo against free
debate of these issues, I recognize that there is a
possibility that the press would continue to ignore my
demonstration and allow me to starve to death so I am forced
to threaten to threaten to go on a hunger strike. I have
often imagined that the traditional tag for the Donahue
Show, where I to POST on it, would read "Accommodations and
transportation for guests of the Donahue Show are provided
by the luxurious Downtown Hilton and Big Time Limousine
Service while Dr. Lapides, a representative of the tobacco
industry, was given a cardboard box and a map of the New
York City Subway System".
I would sincerely ask you to have me on your show and I
implore you to use you good graces to POST Mr. Donahue to
host a fair and honest debate on the many controversies
surrounding tobacco. We turn to you to give us a chance to
address our greatest grievance, the loss of our freedom of
Ira T. Lapides, Ph.D.
Back One Step
95% of our orders are shipped the day they are received.
- You MUST be at least 18 years of age to purchase tobacco products in Tennessee!
- We do not sell tobacco products in Maine or Arizona.
- All Packages are shipped US Post Office unless you specify UPS.
- All Customers will be Charged for Shipping & Return Postage on any Refused or Returned package(s).
- International Customers: You are to check with your local customs & duty officials to see if there are additional duties or fees required, or if there are prohibitions on tobacco or amounts of tobacco which can be shipped to your country.
- Charge card customers may order by calling
- To check on an order call 865-436-4412, 9am-3pm Eastern Time Monday-Friday.
- Visit our showroom on D-Level of the Mountain Mall, on the corner of Parkway and River Road in Gatlinburg!
- We are open 7 days a week.
- Prices subject to change without prior notice.
- No Cash Refunds. Merchandise credit ONLY on returns.
- We DO NOT ship cigarettes.
603 Skyline Dr.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
24hr Fax: 1-865-430-7476
© 2009 Gatlinburlier, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Here is the change in government you were promised!
THE GATLINBURLIER DOES NOT SHIP CIGARETTES.
Change in the form of a 30% or better increase to the cost of tobacco products with an added dose of insult. Get mad. Call your representatives and call them a name. Economically Ignorant Extortionist Fool, is politically correct and accurate. Here is the phone number for contacting your US Senators.
Here is the phone number for contacting your US Senators.
PHONE NOW: 202-224-3121
Tobacconists are as helpless as any other victim of organized crime. Maybe we are even more helpless since we face criminals masquerading as government representatives.
The time for nice words and platitudes has passed. The tax-gouging Congress has declared war on 20% of the American population. They have used taxation as a method of discrimination and discrimination as a tactic for persecution. Their punitive taxes have caused tremendous price increases for product, and you and we in the tobacco business have no representation to or protection from our government. Our forefathers went to war over a few pennies increase in the tax on tea, while we suffer from tax increases in the hundreds of percents. We too are being forced to cede our freedoms or also go to war.
The government’s negative economic radical action against smokers will cause decreased tax revenues for the programs that these new taxes were to fund, and sooner rather than later, all will share in the misery caused by congressmen turned extortionists. It is way past time for being the squeaky wheel. It is time to be the screeching halt. Consider acts of civil disobedience before your obedience becomes subservience.
Ira T. Lapides, PhD