A few weeks ago, Congress passed a law banning the sale of flavored cigarettes, such as cherry, chocolate and vanilla. Politicians passed the law in order to stop children from being enticed into smoking by the flavors more so than they would with regular cigarettes. FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, has said that “These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers.”
I really do not understand the logic of this law. It is already illegal for children to smoke any kind of cigarette, flavored or otherwise, so shouldn’t that already be resolved and no longer an issue? The only way children can get cigarettes is by stealing them or getting them from an adult. If anything, tougher punishments should be given to adults (store owners, parents or adult friends) that allow children to become in possession of cigarettes. I thought that punishments were already in place for store owners?
Looking at it from another viewpoint, why should the government be able to tell adults what they can or cannot buy in regards to a product that is legal for them to buy? Adults are allowed to buy cigarettes, so why not flavored as well?
If a law such as this can be passed on products like this, what else is next? Flavored beers? It seems really hypocritical to allow the sale of alcohol and tobacco to adults and then try to control the product specifics. In other words, the government allows adult consumers to buy unhealthy products but only in the flavors that they want them to buy them in.
To add to the government hypocrisy, the FDA’s tobacco regulation does not cover menthol cigarettes, which are much bigger sellers than the banned flavors. The FDA believes that it would result in a major revolt from the tobacco industry. That is hypocrisy! If the government wants to protect young people by banning the sale of flavored cigarettes, why are menthol cigarettes, which are bigger sellers, not included in the ban?
It’s like the government is trying to make itself look like it is protecting young people from smoking by banning only the flavored cigarettes that do not sell as well. This way the American consumers believe that the government is protecting them, while making the tobacco companies happy by allowing them to continue to sell their product. It’s a win-win situation for the government!
The ban does not yet include cigars or menthol cigarettes. Studies have shown that menthol cigarettes are preferred by 80% of black smokers and a quarter of white smokers. Another study shows that menthol cigarettes are harder to quit, particularly among black and Latino smokers. The Menthol makes the smoke less harsh, so smokers take in more nicotine and carbon monoxide per cigarette. I’m sure that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will be all over this if they ever find out.
The FDA has warned manufacturers that it was examining the regulation of menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes. So, be on the lookout for that as well. Somehow, the tobacco industry will come out on top.
To all of the Obama haters, this law against flavored tobacco products was in the process of being passed since 2008, before Obama was elected.
Sources: ABC News, USA Today