Trying to order cigars online, and Starting the new year on a high note

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

By Maramis

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

So it all started out as just a simple Christmas/Appreciation gift for a dear friend. I knew he smoked cigars, and while I’m not a fan of as to please the receiver. And I knew his favorite cigars would please him.
So not having any cigar stores here in Pahrump, I decided to go online and order him his favorite brand. But first I thought I would see about finding a store in Las Vegas where I could pick them up and then just bring them over to him the first chance I got. But no matter where I went online, it always took me back to one particular store.
So after many attempts, I told myself what the heck and decided to order them from that store. That was when I had an eye-opening experience about ordering smoking products online.
Did you know that you cannot order cigars (and that probably goes for cigarettes, too) without proving who you are, where you live, and how old you are,which means you must offer enough information for them to track you and your age? They asked me for my home address — which I don’t like to give out — and even the last four of my social security number. But then they asked me for my friend’s information — yes, his home address and social security number and birthdate.
How many of us know the year our friends were born? Or their social, last four or not? Some of us don’t even know our friends home addresses if we only see them or know them through work or social clubs.
It felt very intrusive, even more so than when opening a bank account, but since I didn’t know that all online cigar sellers would require the same information, I asked many questions of the person I was speaking to and discovered that there are strict laws in place regarding the sale of tobacco products only to those over 21.
Apparently, it would be easier to buy drugs on the street than tobacco products online. I suppose it’s a good thing to discourage children from starting the
smoking habit, but I wonder if a teenager can just walk into a smoke shop and buy them in person without being subjected to the third degree for their age. According to the man I spoke to, one would not be subjected to those questions if they were purchased in person. But then the question presents itself: How does one determine where you draw the line for those who show up in person? Would you refuse to sell to someone who actually looks like he’s only 12? What if he was small and really was 21? It seems like there are many problems that could ensue from the legal age for the smoking situation!
But the good (?) news is that since I couldn’t verify my friend’s birth year or social security number, and I had already given my address as required, I told them to just send the cigars to me and informed my friend that they would be forthcoming one way or another.
(No wonder those Indian Smoke Shops, wherever they are, have gotten so popular!) But apparently, no matter what one has to go through to get
them, good cigars are worth it!
Starting the new year on a high note
While many of us might get pretty tired of the same old New Year’s Resolutions that we hear year after year; things such as “This will be the year I quit smoking…lose weight… save more money…or make more time to spend with my friends,” we have to admit that they are all worthwhile objectives and deserve major consideration.
Unfortunately, they usually end up as notations on a piece of paper, usually as a reminder to the maker of the resolutions, that those notations are to start on New Year’s Day and continue until the new behaviors are routine or the new habitual behavior for the maker.
None of us would jot down those resolutions if we really had no intention to make them come true. The key word here is intention. Yes, I believe that intentions can carry more weight than actions, as anyone who has ever had a good intention that went awry can testify to. Of course, in court, it is one’s actions that are judged, not one’s intentions, but since God knows our hearts, we know that he would know what we intended and not hold it against us if the outcome
did not match.
While it may sound all too easy — when it comes to resolutions — to say “just do it,” that seems to be the basic problem with most things we intend to do. We love the idea of having the result of our intentions, and really do mean to achieve them, yet something seems to get lost in the process of getting started and sticking to it.
Perhaps the problem does not really lie with the intention, but with the resolution itself. Perhaps we need to word our resolutions in such a way as to make it easier for us to “just do it,” such as “May all the words coming out of my mouth this year be truthful.” Or maybe something like, “May I look for the good in others and not always presume the worst.” Those two little “resolutions” can raise the vibe of the resolution-maker and the recipient of the new behavior. They
are “portable” — meaning that our intentions can go with us wherever we go, and we do not have to go out of our way to do them, nor do they involve any equipment, or any cost; nor do we have to go anyplace, in particular, to make our resolutions come true.
Might as well go for something that is in our power to do every time we speak or mull over a thought. Might as well intend to start the new year on a high note!
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at

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