Something you do is made illegal--so do you stop?

In a Pit thread, a Doper says that she is unable to stop smoking but if it were made illegal she would stop.

If I had an addiction like smoking, or like say ice cream (which is pretty close to the truth), I wouldn’t stop just because it became illegal. I don’t generally pick up habits that are already illegal, but I don’t think think that I would change to conform to a new law.

How about you?

I wouldn’t necessarily stop because it’s illegal, but might because of increased cost and restricted availability.

How illegal? Felony, misdemeanor, punishable by ?

How strictly or well enforced?

I have several “habbits” that are illegal. But none that would cost me more than a monetary fine.

UB hit it. If something got made a major felony, I’d probably quit doing it…temporarily. I study history. I’ve read about Prohibition. I can wait some things out. If it was just a small to medium fine, I don’t think I would change a thing. Just be a little more careful is all.

With the likelihood of online gambling about to become illegal, I absolutely forsee myself continuing to do it. While it is not my bread and butter, it does help me afford some luxuries that I would rather not give up right now.

Depends on how much I can get away with it.

What **Parental Advisory ** said, exactly.

As this happened to me on a local level sometime around 2000, the answer is definitely “No”. I’m still waiting for jackbooted thugs to break into my home, but with Rudy G. gone, nobody really cares.

When I read the thread’s subject line, before even opening the thread, I immediately thought of online gambling (like TommyTutone). I don’t make any money playing poker online – at least, not yet :wink: – but I really don’t know if I’d stop were it to become illegal. I guess, like others have said, it would depend on how much I feel I could get away with and what the consequences would be: if the PTBs are likely to go easy on first offenders, I’m likely to keep doing it until I get caught.

First off, addiction to smoking is in no way even remotely similar to an “addiction to ice cream.” Do you feel a compulsion to eat ice cream multiple times per hour, every waking hour of every day of your life?

The counterexamples in that thread about how outlawing cigarettes would be as ineffectual as the marijuana laws is absurd. A couple points about that, from a guy addicted* to both substances:

Marijuana is as valuable as gold, by weight. (Roughly $400 an ounce.) This is due to it’s illegality. Typically, a habitual smoker would probably purchase an ounce at a time, and expect that to last for a while. (A month or two, although one extreme user I knew was buying an ounce a week at one point.)

Cigarettes, OTOH, even with exhorbitant taxes are still under $10 an ounce. A single cigarette has about a gram of tobacco, 20 (grams) per pack. An ounce is only 28 grams, so a carton of cigarettes is something like 7 ounces. That would be the equivalent of $2800 for a carton of illegal tobacco!

Note that illegal drugs, even those where you can do most of life’s activities reasonably well while on them like marijuana or snorting cocaine, (as opposed to shooting heroin or smoking rock,) are generally used as event drugs; you get home from work and indulge, or maybe on the weekend nights. Cigarettes are nonstop, 24 hour a day habits. You don’t ever think “well, I need to do such-and-such, so I’ll wait until after that to smoke.” As opposed to getting high, where proper planning is only prudent.

A pack and a half per day habit is not an unusually large amount to smoke, and if tobacco were made illegal, that would mean that you’d need an OUNCE PER DAY of some illegal, controlled substance? Nobody would subject themselves to such a huge risk and cost for the sole benefit of “needing a smoke.” Marijuana et al are popular because they get you high. People look forward to indulging in them because they get you high. Cigarettes have no such effect. There would simply be no point in smoking cigarettes were they illegal.

If they were made illegal, I would estimate that no less than 95% of smokers would quite outright. The same doesn’t hold true for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, et al because of the nature of the drugs and the wildly disparate quantities required.

  • Marijuana is not physically addictive in any way, but I am psychologically addicted. I can easily go for extended periods without, but if I possess any amount, I’ll smoke nonstop until it’s gone with virtually no ability to abstain for any reason. Thus, I haven’t possessed any amount at all in years.

Wow, do they uninstall your hyperbole detector when you give up smoking pot?

raises hand I would. I like smoking cigarettes. While I’m addicted to the nicotine, I really do like the taste and smell of tobacco*, just like some people like the taste and smell of pot, and some people like the taste and smell of chocolate.

If tobacco were made illegal not only would I continue smoking, I would do so while protesting such a measure in front of the White House. And I know several smokers who would do the same. We’re not out to take over the world, so to speak. Most of us are actually relatively polite about our smoking (we don’t flick our butts everywhere, make sure to not smoke around nonsmokers and athsmatics, et cetera) and we want to be able to do whatever the hell we want on our own time in our own house. I feel the same way about all drug legislation; however, a tobacco ban would be one that would actually affect me.


*I’m not talking about that nasty “Stale cigarette” smell you get off of $2 hookers or something. I mean a good, nice, cigarette, being smoked.

I judge each law as I see fit to follow it, based on a few simple questions: 1) am I hurting anyone? 2) how bad do I want to do it? and 3) How much trouble will I be in if I get caught.

Different issues come in with different answers.

So your answer to my question is no. You wouldn’t stop a behavior just because it’s illegal. (Assuming some of that marijuana use has been in the US.)

Well, I can say that in most of the places I lived until well into adulthood, homosexuality was illegal. That didn’t stop me from being lesbian or having relationships, but it made me unhappy and wary. Probably, if the US made homosexuality illegal again, I’d move to another country.

I’ve actually had to think about this as more and more states start to ban salvia divinorum, and the possibility of federal scheduling looms. I wouldn’t stop outright, but as it became more expensive and harder to find, I’m sure I’d cut back.

The law bedamned. In fact, it’d be my civic duty to disobey an unjust law.

If trafficking in opium and child slavery is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

They can take my ice cream when they pry it out of my cold, dead hand


Also, while I still maintain that cigarette smoking in a nanny state that outlawed tobacco would be vanishingly rare, I realized that the likeliest scenario would be a prohibition-era style underground market for cigars.

While cigars don’t currently satisfy my cigarette cravings, I would surely be able to adapt pretty quickly, and could easily envision a one-a-day cigar habit. That would mitigate the cost and risk enough to make it worthwhile.

So, if tobacco were made illegal, I think Cuba would hit the jackpot.

As to the generalized question, no, I don’t care about laws.