100K in West Virginia Taxpayer Money Granted to “Curb Smoking Among Gays”

Okay, this doesn’t have much to do with criminal law, except that the state owes criminal defense attorneys across the state a lot of money that they supposedly cannot pay without a long, long wait. But on the other hand, what’s a 100K here or a 100K there for artistic renderings of gay cigarettes?

Note: this commentary has nothing to do with sexual preference, so please don’t bother to write me angry emails. It has everything to do with government waste and incompetence. I am against any taxpayer money being spent uselessly – be it towards straight or gay causes, or any cause for that matter that government has no business being in.

There is so much wrong with this that I don’t know where to start. According an article in the Charleston Gazette today, the state Division of Tobacco Prevention has distributed $100,000 in grants to “Covenant House” and Bluefield State College to “curb smoking in the gay community.”

Apparently this is a problem worthy of your hard earned money being taken from you essentially at gun point, and given to “artists”, who apparently cannot survive in the free market, to create this:


Who else will really be getting the money? Advertisers, and of course those “artists” who I’m sure will be creating the ads, to convince gay people that they should not be smoking. Is this really necessary? Are they going to take a look at the above piece of “art” and all of a suddenly throw away their cigarettes and jump on a treadmill?

So why attempt to curb smoking only among gays? According to the article:

Tobacco prevention and gay health groups say gay people smoke at high rates because of stress caused by discrimination. Gays also are more likely to frequent places where smoking is prevalent, such as bars and private clubs.

What’s more, gay people have higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse, behaviors often associated with smoking, according to gay health organizations.

“The tobacco industry has targeted the gay population for years,” Crist said.

So let me get this straight…. We have bridges that need repair in West Virginia, highways that are falling apart, and it takes the state about a year to pay it’s court appointed attorneys. Heck, we can’t even afford 5 day workweeks anymore. But, we can afford a useless make-work campaign designed to curb smoking among gays?

Our state government is officially insane. Remember this the next time that you hear about West Virginia’s population declining. This is why you pay an inordinate amount of taxes in this state. You are worried about how you are going to pay for your heating oil this winter, or about whether you can continue to operate the family farm or business. But your elected and appointed government leaders are worried about pandering to anyone and everyone with an agenda – and they could care less because (a) they get more votes, and (b) it’s not their money.

If you look through the comments following the Gazette article, its clear what the proffered counter-argument is here: that this is a health crisis issue in the gay community and you are “homophobic” if you don’t agree to spend money on it, and that if our government does spend money on it, then it will save us money in the long-run in heath care savings. If the gay community recognizes this as such a health care crisis among their group, why don’t they just stop smoking?

And if anyone really believes that a taxpayer funded cartoon pack of pink cigarettes and the like will really stop one single person, whether straight or gay, from smoking, then I’ve got a bridge in the New River Gorge that I would like to sell you. It’s really nice.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney

4 thoughts on “100K in West Virginia Taxpayer Money Granted to “Curb Smoking Among Gays”

  1. Do you have any idea how hard Covenant House works in this state? Do you have any idea of the impact Covenant House has on people’s lives? A LOT.

    I know the people over at Covenant House personally and they work their hearts out so people who live with HIV/AIDS can be taken care of. So yes, your tax dollars went to help a gay-related cause. So yes, this grant ‘leaves out’ straight people. Welcome to our world.

  2. wow. how mature. you lambast the gay community and Covenant House’s work and then you delete my comment critizicing you.

  3. John,

    As I said in the post, there was no lambasting of the gay community. The point is, that smoking is an everybody issue, not a gay issue. And regardless, I don’t think this “campaign” will have any effect.

    I’m sure Covenant House does a lot of great things, and I have no problem with private money being spent on this. But I have a legitimate beef with public money being spent wastefully

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