Arnold Schwarzenegger is arguably California’s best known smoker but, as with so many of the elite, he is quick to crack down on smokers who are not so affluent.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s enthusiastic support for a health care measure to be financed by the state’s smokers has rendered him persona non grata at a Sacramento cigar store. When the governor or his gofers stop in to buy some of the very expensive cigars he loves, and can afford at most any price unlike most of us, the disgusted proprietor shows them the door. He’s done it already and, though they were slow on the uptake, he’s let them know why.

Needless to say being banned from a Sacramento cigar store is not the largest of Schwarzenegger’s problems as he presides over a state that is bankrupt and in many ways facing foreclosure. Like many smokers who occupy the halls of power the erstwhile libertarian governor is very quick to disrespect and persecute his fellow smokers.

Amongst other anti-smoker measures he has supported, last year Schwarzenegger signed a preposterous and unenforceable bill that prohibits adults from smoking in their own cars if minors are present. He also lobbied the legislature aggressively to pass a health coverage bill that only the state’s smokers and, indirectly through lack of patronage, tobacco purveyors would finance.

The health coverage bill was eventually killed because even the spendthrifts in the state senate realized that a bankrupt state has no business establishing a brand new program built on the flimsy foundation of bilking the state’s smokers. Nevertheless Ahnold’s support of targeting tobacco again was the last straw for tobacconist Mark Just, who has supplied the governor in the past, but who will from here on invoke his right to refuse service, unless and until the Terminator pledges publicly to stop victimizing smokers and tobacconists.

Every time the state raises tobacco taxes a greater share of smokers take their business out of state, negatively affecting the businesses that provide cigarettes and cigars. Governor Schwarzenegger, despite his alleged business acumen, still hasn’t grasped the basic economic fact that consumers will not pay criminally overtaxed sky-high prices for tobacco products. This foolish hypocritical elitist deserves every ounce of scorn he gets.

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