here is what I think
I think that this ban represents an unprecedented and unjustified expansion of the power of the government - not in the matters of control of harmful substances - but in the matters of taste.

Nobody argues that the flavored cigarettes are more dangerous than others - it's just that they taste better.

What's next? They won't allow you to put mayo and ketchup on the same sandwich? What about lambic beer and malt beverages?

In fact, we know what's coming next.

The bill explicitly demands that "the Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee shall submit to the Secretary the report and recommendations" on "issue of the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes on the public health, including such use among children, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other racial and ethnic minorities." Is there any doubt that the conclusions of this report will not be favorable to menthol cigarettes? While those who smoke cloves represent a small percentage of smokers, those who smoke menthols form a much larger group and have a powerful ally in major tobacco companies. It's not clear however, that their cigarettes of choice won't be the subject of the next ban, which will be more likely if nobody protests this one.

Currently Kretek Internationsl is suing to stop FDA from banning flavored cigars. So, cigars and other types of tobacco products are not safe either.

What's also weird about this bill is that it tacitly acknowledges that the current prohibition on selling of cigarettes to minors does not work, or at least does not work well enough. There is no reason to think that this bill will have any impact either, so we will need more and more laws in the future.

In short, if you are not in favor of a complete ban on smoking, there is no reason to support this ban, and a lot of reasons to oppose it.

But we don't need to convince ourselves - we need to convince others, smokers and non-smokers alike, that once the government, under the influence of special interest groups and corporations, starts banning legitimate consumer products on the basis of taste, smell, shape or color, eventually everyone will suffer.

a few links for starters
Here is an excellent summary of arguments in opposition of the ban on flavored cigaretts. See the previous post on the same blog as well.

"It is quite clear that the law will have zero impact on youth addiction to cigarettes and will reduce youth smoking by zero percent."

"Not a single Philip Morris or R.J. Reynolds product will be taken off the market under flavored cigarettes ban"

Results of the survey of tobacco use among school students

"During 2000--2002, current use of any tobacco product among high school students decreased from 34.5% to 28.4%; [...] kretek use from 4.2% to 2.7% "

From Wikipedia article on kreteks:

"Djarum Black cigarettes sold in Europe, Canada and South American countries have 10–12 mg tar and 1 mg nicotine, as indicated on the pack. This level of tar and nicotine is comparable to the majority of other regular or "full-flavor" cigarettes available.

The venous plasma nicotine and carbon monoxide levels from 10 smokers were tested after smoking kreteks and were found to be similar to non-clove brands of cigarettes, such as Marlboro."

First things first
Some background information related to the ban on flavored cigarettes, that went into effect on 22 September, 2009.

Text of the bill H.R. 1256 - in .pdf format, - online.

The purpose of the bill was to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products.

The part of the bill that effects the ban on all flavored cigarettes reads as:

"-Beginning 3 months after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a cigarette or any of its component parts (including the tobacco, filter, or paper) shall not contain, as a constituent (including a smoke constituent) or additive, an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice, including strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee, that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed to limit the Secretary’s authority to take action under this section or other sections of this Act applicable to menthol or any artificial or natural flavor, herb, or spice not specified in this subparagraph."

(This is a change in the The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act - a new Chapter IX is added)

Detailed information on the sponsors and supporters of the bill is available here.


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