Saturday, October 16, 2004

Is Tobacco a Drug?

Sitting on my bed, I can look out the narrow window and see part of the yard and the distant mountain. Sometimes, I enjoy staring out of the window and soak in its activities.

I looked out the window this afternoon and saw an old man smoking a cigarette by a couple of concrete benches. He was bespectacled and balding. He was white and around the age of early sixties. There were plenty of men his age in prison. Nothing strange there.

Then he bent down and picked up a cigarette butt and lit it with the one in his hand. Next thing I knew, he was picking up a bunch of butts and putting them into his jean pocket. With the price of tobacco increasing in the past few years, prisoners picking up butts to supply their nicotine addiction are everywhere. Nothing strange there.

Recently, the governor passed the bill that will ban the selling and smoking of tobacco in all prisons. Can you imagine how the nicotine addicts are going to cope without cigarettes? I'm sure the trafficking of tobacco in prison will match the marijuana and heroin. As it is, some prisons that don't allow tobacco have created a lucrative black market. It's a fact that many guards get fired for selling tobacco to prisoners. At the rate of five dollars per cigarette, that's a temptation that some can't resist.

It's only going to get stranger once the tobacco ban goes into effect. Just you wait.

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