Flavored cigarettes are now illegal

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced, effective today, a “ban on cigarettes with flavors characterizing fruit, candy, or clove.”

It’s good to know that the world is finally calm and quiet enough for the US government to focus on minutiae like this!

The gist of the law is that you can still have flavored cigarettes in your possession, but you can’t sell or buy them. Go figure.

The official FDA press release goes on to say “the ban, authorized by the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is part of a national effort by the FDA to reduce smoking in America.”

To paraphrase a popular quote… That oughta do it. Thanks very much, FDA.

Cloves and flavored cigarettes are fringe smokes at best. The popular cigarettes? Offhand I would say Marlboro, Camel, Lucky Strike, and Winston. Those are the ones I see moving at gas stations and convenience stores. If the government really wanted to “reduce smoking in America”, why didn’t they target the cigarettes that are actually popular? I would think the smoking level would drastically plummet in America if you banned the top 5 sellers. You would have a massive group of really unhappy, cranky, and twitchy voters to answer to, though.

Ah… I think I answered my own question.

My favorite quote in the FDA’s press release is this one… “”Flavored cigarettes attract and allure kids into lifetime addiction.”

So the real reason for this ban is to remove the “attractiveness” of a gateway product that leads to an addiction. Right. Sooooo why not ban other “gateway” drugs while we’re at it?

Alcoholism still kills a lot of people. So how about banning wine coolers? Mike’s Hard Lemonade? Anything that’s served with a foofy little umbrella in it? Shouldn’t the government be working on this as well if it is really concerned about our health? After all, Time magazine said alcoholism is now a global problem.

By the same logic, removing appetizers on restaurant menus could prevent food addiction. Removing playing cards could stop gambling addiction. Removing caffeinated colas could prevent adrenaline addiction. And if you really wanted to make a massive change, removing cars from highways could prevent a nationwide oil addiction.

A bit far? Yeah. But the point I’m trying to make is that simply removing a gateway drug doesn’t get rid of the core problem. It just moves the location of the gateway.

Now that the cloves are banned, smokers will start with milds or mentols. If you banned wine coolers, something like Keystone Light would take it’s place as the gateway. The definition of what is or is not a gateway to an addiction is amorphous at best. And, ultimately, who is to decide what addictions warrant government intervention?

The real solution to this problem is to make smoking a social stigmata, stop subsidizing tobacco companies with taxpayer money, and heavily fine the parents of underage kids who are smoking.

And, for the record, I think anything in excess is bad for you. Even government.