New website launches uniting smokers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The owner of Richmond-based Philip Morris just launched "Citizens for Tobacco Rights". The web site aims to give smokers a voice in tobacco-related policy issues.

The site, created by Altria, is meant to outline issues like taxes and regulations that might impact smokers or dippers. For example, smoking bans or increased taxes on the products.

"I've actually come to the point where I'm going to have to quit smoking because I can't afford it," said Ann Maury, a regular smoker.

The web site offers tips and tools for protecting smoking rights, even breaking down how to write a letter to a legislator. It streamlines tobacco issues in each state.

In Virginia, it even points to Bon Secour's decision to start it's nicotine-free hiring policy. It also addresses limitations, like flavor bans.

Some smokers say it's about time they had a voice.

"I don't want the tobacco executives to lie about it not being addictive. But on the same hand, we should have some rights, you know?" said Bruce Kessler.

The web site says it is for adult smokers and dippers. That it is a place to get adult tobacco consumers involved in lawmaking decisions that impact tobacco products.

But, some are weary of the possible consequences this web site might have.

"I don't know why anybody would want to get together to want to increase smoking or support it in any way. I think it's pretty ignorant for people to try to condone it," said Rebecca Cox, a non-smokers.

Others, even non-smokers, say it is a free country.

"Everyone's entitled to an opinion so if a group of people what to get together to share a common value of smoking I think it's fine," said Laith Al-Samir.

The web site also explains the risk involved in tobacco product use, listing ways to quit using tobacco products.

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