There’s a reason why Big Tobacco helped write this legislation

by Justin Horwath

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which President Obama recently signed into law, is the death knell for candy-flavored cigarettes and cigars. Purportedly, banning flavored tobacco products will reduce youth smoking rates, because teenagers love candy.

To that end, we’re going to offer two hypotheticals that we think our lawmakers failed to consider when signing this noble legislation. ("We voted against Big Tobacco! Hurray!").

18-year old non-smoker, at a bonfire. Has been drinking. We’ll call him Todd. He approaches friend, an 18-year old smoker named Jack, who has also been drinking and having a good time at the bonfire.

Todd: "Hey Jack, whatcha doing?"

Jack: "I’m glad you asked, Todd. I’m enjoying one of my Marlboro Reds. Boy, these things sure are satisfying. Would you like to try one?"

Todd: "No thanks, Jack. I’ll just stick to my Swisher Sweets. I don’t like the taste of those Reds. Besides, I only smoke when I drink, and I don’t want to get hooked."

That’s before the Tobacco Control Act has been put into law. Let’s take a look at what happens after:

Todd, who is drunk, approaches Jack, smoking one of his Reds.

Todd: "Boy,  I’ve been drinking, and I sure wish I could have a smoke right now. Problem is, I went to the gas station today, and they’re not selling any flavored cigarettes because President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of Congress."

Jack: "Gee I’m sorry, Todd. But why don’t you look at it my way: now that the FDA has the power to regulate real cigarettes, they’re safer. Why don’t you try one of my Reds?"

Todd: "Well, I just don’t know, Jack. I really don’t want to get hooked."

Jack: "But the FDA  reduced nicotine levels in cigarettes. Plus, look at the cool skull and crossbones on the package. It’s a really relevant design for rebellious youth like us. It’s like the FDA wants us to start smoking now! Besides, like you said, you only smoke when you drink…"

Todd: "Okay, just this one time won’t hurt."