The freedom of bad choice

Today marks the beginning of a new flavored cigarette ban barring all cloves, fruit and candy from the shelves of our favorite vices.

Self destructive personal freedoms are again snuffed out by the call to ďsave the childrenĒ and force whatís seen as healthier lifestyle choices by bureaucrats.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in June and gave the Food and Drug Administration broad powers in regulating the tobacco industry, although it does not give it the power to abolish it altogether.

With such new scope, the agency acted immediately to relinquish the cancerous trappings of taste engineered by cigarette companies so obviously aimed to prey upon the young. For what adult would enjoy anything less than the sweet delight of smoldering ash and nicotine?

Being more of a drinker than a smoker myself, I started to wonder if maybe the alcohol industry hasnít been doing the same with their Apple Puckers, Smirnoff Twists and Long Island Iced Teas. Maybe a good next step for the FDA would be to ban all flavored alcoholic beverages Ė just think of how that might help cut back teen consumption and save lives. (I mock, but I have no doubt there is already a national movement).

How about taking it one more step and start actively adding ingredients to anything we donít want the young doing? Thatís a hard plan to put into action since most of our consumable vices already taste like industrial cleaning products.

How about new federal law that opens up the gates to all drugs, but with a twist: It has to taste as bad as it feels good. The better something makes you feel or the more damage it does to your body, the more youíre going to have to man up to get your fix.

Cigarettes could be a mix of burnt rubber and burning tar. Alcohol would have a wide range, from diesel-flavored Long Island Iced Teas to urinal cake Car Bombs. Ironically, several of the alcohol options would be unaffected or may even improve. Keystone Light, Natty Ice and Milwaukeeís Best, to name a few, would actually have to taste better under the new sliding system.

I sure Iíve already given too many good ideas to the FDA and its constant scheming to open our childrenís futures by reducing our adult options.

As an adult, Iíd just like to say I resent being lumped into the category of not being health conscious or youth friendly just because I donít share the belief that the only way to save kids is by taking on our freedoms of choice by storm.

Banning flavored cigarettes may have an effect on some aspects of the productís appeal, but itís no more effective than banning flavored heroine or marijuana. People donít smoke cherry cigarettes to clench the cherry craving Ė itís to sate a mild nicotine addition, an oral infatuation and promote a certain social stigma.

Take into account that some of the largest supporters of this move are Philip Morris and the rest of Big Tobacco. My God, has the heart of evil seen the light and is finally looking to make amends for their decades of leaving personal responsibility in the hands of the consumer? Or maybe the folks down at good íol Tobacco see a chance to quell a rising competitive market, one they are not so entrenched in, and see a wide selection of now depraved smokers looking to jump to a more regular brand, one they might produce.

How about the fact that although the FDA is banning all flavored cigarettes, except menthol? The kids seem to enjoy this one too, but even this is more than the federal government is willing to push Ė at least for right now. Menthol has been given a temporary pass on the restriction pending a more in-depth study by the FDA.

A final objection is an old premise that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This step here and now is made with an agenda of protecting our youth at the expense of a societal choice. What is the next step and where are we finally heading? I joked about alcohol and menthol, but why not? Some people believe that the toils of personal choice are too dire to be left in the hands of the public.

How about teaching kids the dangers of smoking? How about making possession under 18 a crime? How about letting them pay as adults for making their own bad choices?

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