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The future for smokers

If you don't see it coming, you're not paying attention.

The future: No smoking. Well ... except for Tobacco Town.
The future: No smoking. Well ... except for Tobacco Town.Read moreSHUTTERSTOCK

PHILADELPHIA (Lucky Strike News) July 4, 2019 - To mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's 1984, Mayor Olivia Nutter today signed an executive order banning cigarette smoking within the city limits. The ban extends to e-cigs, but not marijuana.

The mayor exempted new postal zone 19019 - carved out of Eastwick and Paschall - as a "refuge" where smokers will be forced to live. It is adjacent to the carcinogenic oil refineries.

Nutter said "19019 will be known as Tobacco Town," objected to opponents' use of the term "ghetto" and said ordering smokers to wear a bright yellow "S" on their clothing was nothing more than a "health warning for nonsmokers to stay away."

Asked why she didn't simply ban cigarettes, the mayor said that would be an "infringement of civil liberties, and besides, we use cigarette-tax money to run the schools and to fund food stamps for smokers."

Food stamps have been provided since 2016, when all American cigarette smokers were fired under the "We Will Make You Healthy or Kill You Act."

Ten years earlier, Westgate Resorts, the largest private employer in central Florida, fired employees who smoked. "When I found out it was legal to discriminate against smokers, I put the policy in place," Westgate president and CEO David Siegel said.

Other employers followed suit, saying that firing smokers would reduce their health-care costs.

Using the same rationale, employers then began to fire fat employees, resulting in a wave of American unemployment and more visas for skinny foreigners.

The mass firings followed earlier actions banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants, bars, college dorms and public housing. The housing ban was attacked as discrimination against the poor, but it survived court challenges.

Next came smoking bans in condominiums, with smoker/owners being grandfathered, but prohibiting sale to smokers. Under the Big Brother Act, potential purchasers were required to take a urine test to detect nicotine. That led to the scandal of a black market in clean urine, organized by Lance Armstrong.

Smoking was considered so pernicious that after banning smoking in cars carrying children, child-custody laws were rewritten to award custody to the nonsmoking parent. When both parents were smokers, children were turned over to the Department of Human Services.

In Philadelphia, the original author of anti-smoking legislation was Michael Nutter (the current mayor's father), who banned smoking in workplaces and bars under the heading of the "Clean Indoor Air Worker-Protection Law."

His last "smoking" gun was an executive order in 2014 banning smoking in all city parks, including the 9,200-acre Fairmount Park.

At the time, he gave three reasons: 1) To protect the environment from cigarette butts; 2) to protect people from secondhand smoke; 3) to help people quit.

Critics said that littering was already against the law and that ashtrays - like trash cans for other litter - could relieve the butt problem; that the vast expanse of the park system protects people from secondhand smoke, and that quit-smoking programs (which the city offers) were better options. But they were easily brushed aside by the majority.

"It remains legal to discriminate against smokers," Mayor Olivia said. "And Philly will."