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Gatlinburg Businessman continues Hunger Strike

GATLINBURG -- Ira Lapides said a hunger strike was not on his high school list of things to accomplish in his life, but the issue of smokers' rights is too important to ignore.

Lapides, who owns the Gatlin-Burlier Tobacconist in Gatlinburg, has been on a hunger strike since Nov. 11.

"Right now I feel less well than I did yesterday," he said Tuesday. "I was fine this morning, but around 11 a.m. my body crashed and my energy was drained."

Lapides is taking a series of vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes, as well as drinking juices and liquid laxatives to prevent ulcerations in his lower intestines.

"I guess I'm taking in about 300 calories or less a day," he said. "That's less than what Holocaust victims were allowed. They were allowed around 600 calories a day."

Lapides, who holds a doctorate in economics, is also slowing down his metabolism by relaxing and meditating.

"I'm also utilizing some of the things I learned from the Chinese," he said. "I am meditating and slowing down my activities. I would say in seven to 10 days, I will be pretty worn out." Lapides' hunger strike is a result of several failed attempts to reach the national level to discuss the smoker's side of the tobacco issue. Lapides contends he is being shut out by the national electronic media.

"This is much greater than just the right to smoke," he said. "This is about the right to free speech. I guess (the national media) is afraid that I will be the spark that will set 50,000 people on fire to stand up for their rights."

Lapides said it is not his goal to be the speaker for the second-class citizen -- the smoker. He simply wants to tell his side of the story.

"I may end up being the first man in the United States to die specifically because he was not allowed to speak," he said.

However, Lapides does not recommend that others attempt a hunger strike to POST what they want.

"I don't recommend this method," said the 48-year-old former University of Tennessee economics professor. "If you're not ready to bear the pain of a hunger strike and are not educated and experienced enough to handle it -- don't."

Lapides plans to stay on his hunger strike until he is given an opportunity to speak by any of the national talk shows, news magazine shows or the Cable News Networks

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Area information for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains.   Make it a perfect day and enjoy a meal at one of our Gatlinburg restaurants.
  • 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.
The Gatlin-Burlier
603 Skyline Dr.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
24hr Fax: 1-865-430-7476

© 2009 Gatlinburlier, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.


As with any avalanche of lemons into one's life, survivors attempt to make lemonade and so it is with the Gatlinburlier Tobacconist. G&B Tobaccos new licensing and stature as a Tobacco Manufacturer now presents many opportunities for our loyal long-time customers. Not only does this new status make the Gatlinburlier the only truly legal tobacco retailer in the country, but it opens opportunities for us to expand our lines, since our access to specialty tobaccos has been vastly expanded. We plan to offer special deals on our new products as we produce new blends and attempt to improve some of our existing blends.

Tobacco being a natural product varies in characteristics year to year. It takes constant adjusting to keep blends consistent in taste, color, and burning qualities. In many cases blenders keep several years worth of tobaccos on hand so as to phase out one years product while phasing in another years crop to minimize the changes in the qualities of the blends. Over the 37 years that we have blended tobaccos some of our suppliers have left the business and other tobacco components have changed so much that we think we need to make adjustments to a few of our blends.

Gatlin-Burley our Americanized English once contained a very special Green River Valley tobacco which became unavailable. Given our new contacts within the industry we now have access to this rare tobacco, and have re blended this great blend, with just a touch of Latakia to meet its original qualities.

Gatlin-Burley was a blend created to keep the smoker's interest and encourage the maturation of the smoker's own tastes. Thirty-seven years ago it was our flag ship. It was an Americanized English that seemed to change taste as the smoker's pallet change over the course of one day and over the course of many weeks.

As a special short term offer we will send you a two ounce bag of this fabulous rebirth of greatness for only $5.95.

This extraordinary blend mixes fabulously with our Cades Cove Cavendish and our Chimney Smoke to make it even more tame for the American taste. For those looking to find a slightly more mature taste than is offered by our "natural aromatics" - Gatlin-Burley is the tobacco blend they are seeking, but "Made Even Better®".

2oz for only $5.95