11 September, 2015. 15:34
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]PEAKING FROM THE HEART, tobacco enthusiast Max Davis says the latest 12.5% increase in the price of cigarettes has been a sickening breath of fresh air. Rather than take the news lying down, the 24-year-old barman lashed out at the government this morning as more and more of his meager wage is ending up in ashtrays around Sydney. In response to the skyrocketing price of smoking, Davis has become the brains behind Australia’s first Craft Cigarette Festival.
Tickets have already sold out for the three-day-long hedonistic lung therapy affair, which will have a focus on homegrown and manufactured tobacco products. In particular, the organic cigarette market – a booming industry overseas, which some agree is on the cusp of exploding locally.
“The consumer is crying out for an alternative,” says Davis. “Cigarettes from big tobacco are laced with harmful chemicals, which is not what smoking is about. Back when smoking was considered healthy, the tobacco was grown organically and free from pesticides and other crap.”
Finding an appropriate location for the event has proved difficult, as food cannot be served in designated smoking areas. In addition to that, smoking is now banned in most places, including public parks and beaches. However, none of these draconian, socialist laws apply on private property.
Dirt farmer Wesley Duckworth has thrown open the gates of his Wiseman’s Ferry property, which lies in the heart of Sydney’s mysterious far-north-west corridor. As a land owning tobacco enthusiast, Duckworth came to the rescue and agreed to host the Craft Ciggie Festival on his riverside farm.
“I’ve been growing my own tobacco for years,” said Duckworth. “Curing it is the hard part, you really gotta [sic] know what you’re doing. I’m going to be holding workshops during the festival.”
Over the course of the ciggie fête, prizes will the awarded in various categories. The hotly contested smoothest blend award is tipped to go to Marrickville organic tobacco dealer Wanita Kone, who’s backyard-grown crop took the area by storm earlier in the year. The levels of heavy metal and mercury found in most inner city gardens are said to mellow out the sharper notes present in commercially grown tobacco crops.
“People have raised their concerns with me over the level of lead in my tobacco,” Ms Kone said. “I’m sorry but I’m no doctor and even I know that lung cancer is much more dangerous than a little lead. Leaded petrol never killed anyone.”
To register your interest in the Craft Cigarette Festival, you’re already too late.