Jacob Grier defends tobacco against "a slew of new bans, taxes, and regulations":
New York is banning smoking in parks. California has banned it on many beaches. In much of sunny Los Angeles one can no longer smoke on restaurant patios. The entire town of Calabasas, California, is smoke-free in public places. San Francisco suburb San Rafael has banned smoking in all multi-unit residences. In Oregon it's essentially illegal to open a new cigar bar or smoking lounge. In North Dakota voters recently approved a ban that includes tobacco shops. In rainy Washington, even an indoor private smoking club protected by a twenty-five foot airlocked walkway was deemed to be in violation of the statewide ban. I could go on. Non-smokers understandably prefer to avoid secondhand smoke, but really, where's a smoker supposed to go?
He compares the taste for tobacco to more socially acceptable vices:
There is much more to tobacco than mass-produced cigarettes; premium tobacco is arguably every bit as artisanal as many of the other food and drink products that those of us in the culinary world obsess over. The unique leaf offers flavors that many find enticing, appearing occasionally in the works of creative chefs, bartenders, and baristas. At the French Laundry, Thomas Keller experimented successfully with desserts like coffee custard infused with tobacco. In Tampa, Cigar City Brewing crafts beers inspired by cigars. Tobacco bitters appear on fancy cocktail menus. In France, distiller Ted Breaux makes a liqueur called Perique that captures the essence of Louisiana pipe tobacco; it's a remarkable elixir with a light, tea-like quality, and alas, as of this writing not imported to the United States.