by Max Watson
A sad day for pipe smokers in Australia looms as very soon the oldest and for many years the most respected tobacconist is closing their doors. This sad event is really the conclusion of the persecution by successive Australian Governments against tobacco. In Sydney, the largest city in Australia there is not one remaining tobacconist, we are harassed and victimised to the point where we can only smoke in the comfort of our own homes, I’m sure some future government will try and stop that too. I don’t care if you like tobacco or not but my right to use it should be sacrosanct. But rather we have these lame morons who give in far too easily and without correct information. It bothers me greatly that all smokers are lumped together rather than recognising the “problem” rests with packed cigarettes not pipe tobacco nor cigars. There is no way to fight this as these bureaucratic nobodies have their blinkers firmly on and no one has a credible voice.
However, I have been a pipe smoker for nigh on 50 years and they will not get to me, nor scare me with their lies and gross exaggerations and falsehoods. I may only be one aging pensioner, but I will not be cornered and bludgeoned into meek submission simply because some government back-bencher on his or her $160,000 a year falsely believes they know better about what is good for we the people than we do. No and no again. I may only be a silly old pensioner to them, I dare any of them to debate me on any of many a topic.
When I sit out in my bushland-like back yard and smoke my pipe, I am relaxing and thinking on issues of life, of people I care about and simply slowing the pace of life. Yes, even old pensioners need to take a check on life’s hectic pace; no doubt this is one of the key reasons that us pipe smokers out-live other folk.
I recently visited this Sydney tobacconist; I asked the gent why didn’t they have a stronger web presence? The government simply will not allow it, he lamented to me that they are not allowed to even display a photo of a pipe nor a description with intent to sell. I was flabbergasted at this restraint of trade and would have never thought such a right-wing attitude could have existed here. It is the work of repeated governments raising the tax on tobacco to the extent that a standard 50gm/2oz pack retails from $44 up. In my daydreaming state of bliss in my backyard I think of happier times when men could gather at the smoking room or pub and enjoy a pipe or three together, but with pubs now non smoking where have we to go except to the peace of our own backyards. If ever you find yourself in Sydney then I gladly welcome you to sit a while with an old pensioner and enjoy a smoke.