OK, friends, lets talk turkey or more to the point lets discuss “cold turkey.”

As in the new controversies once again surrounding smokers. Now, before we get started, I’m not afraid to admit that, yes, I am a smoker. It’s a nasty, dirty habit that I enjoy every day. So I’m biased. Recently Indian tribes had gone to court to suspend taxing cigarettes at their convenience stores. This has had mixed results in the world at large.

You see, if you go to one of the fine Indian-owned properties you can buy name-brand cheap cigarettes without paying taxes. So now the state’s conversation has turned once again toward money and safety. Now, from where I am standing, the government taking a stand on cigarettes has little to do with public health and more to do with Uncle Sam wanting cold hard cash. If someone is making money, the government wants a cut. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not advocating that you take up smoking cigarettes. I’m also not saying you shouldn’t smoke cigarettes at all. What I am saying is that it’s your life and your choice.

I don’t mean to come off as trite here because I know we are all smart enough to understand that discount cigarettes are a risk factor for diseases, no doubt. But, there have been numerous studies proving cell phones can contribute to brain cancer, and yet where was the protest when I went for the “friends and family plan” on my new phone contract? Secondhand cancers aren’t just designated to cheap cigarettes alone.

I appreciate those folks that are actually trying to get me to quit. And I will. When I’m ready to. And to me, that’s the key. I can be more stubborn than a mule who just took a shot of NyQuil so until I’m prepared to quit then no amount of scare tactics are going to work. A “May cause cancer” sticker is the same as saying your girlfriend “might drive you crazy.” While both are probably true, a label won’t stop me from smoking cigarettes — or dating for that matter. And the whole “every cigarette takes seven minutes off your life” argument seems a bit presumptuous. The last time I checked there wasn’t an expiration date on my butt, only a birthmark in the shape of Rhode Island.

What I’m saying is this: Be very careful when the government is looking out for your best interest, because oftentimes, it is more concerned about its revenue. So pay attention to what that smoke cigarettes break is really costing you. And, in the end, if smokers are willing to cough up dollars, then our government will always be ready with a match when they need a light. Well, that is, as long as you’re willing to pay the price.

Auburn native Bradley Molloy’s column appears here each

Very Important Note: find Winston.