During the 1920s, the cigar industry began to suffer from image problems. The rise of organized crime during Prohibition, and the image of the stogie-chomping gangster--developed in part by Hollywood, and personified by such actors as Edward G. Robinson--gave the cigar an aura of disrespect among the public. Later that decade, the cigar industry faced a second crisis, when American Tobacco began promoting new, machine-rolled cigars. Its advertising asked: "Why run the risk of cigars made by dirty yellowed fingers and tipped in spit?" The image proved disastrous for the cigar industry as a whole. Cigar makers rushed to convert their manufacturing from hand-rolled to machine-rolled products, but cigar sales plunged through the 1930s. During this same time period, the cigar industry was hit hard by the rise in cigarette use across the United States. Cigar consumption never recovered to its early 1920s peak.
Just when you thought the anti-smoking campaign might be working, along comes a news story that proves otherwise. Ardi Rizal, aged two years, has a 40-per-day smoking habit. His mother has tried to get him to stop, especially since the government has offered to buy the family a new car once the child quits, but she says he is entirely too addicted. His father, on the other hand, doesn't see any problem - "He looks pretty healthy to me..." In the meantime, Ardi's health is such that he can't run around and play with the other kids. Instead he rides around on a plastic toy truck while puffing away, looking like a parody of a middle-aged truck driver.
And they mean it, too. Ron White, the popular comedian from the Blue Collar Comedy tour and various Comedy Central specials, is a whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking redneck, and proud of it. He's included those two fundamental elements in all of his shows. But apparently grumpy people in North Dakota won't stand for that kind of blatant disregard for the law. This is one of those times where you wonder just how uptight Americans have become since Janet Jackson flashed a tit on prime time.
The text goes on to explain that Rastafarians consider marijuana to be a sacred herb, and that the ritual of smoking it mirrors similar rituals in many other cultures: "Ritualistic smoking of tobacco is an expression of group bonding in numerous Native American ceremonies, and the use of incense, hallucinogens, or alcohol to alter the senses is a common initiatory practice worldwide."
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