I didn't find this out until just now, but a couple of weeks ago, Congress passed a bill that outlaws clove cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products. It goes into effect in less than three months.
Supposedly, this is to keep kids from smoking. I call BULLSHIT.
It would be an understatement to say I'm not exactly a fan of Big Tobacco, and I'm certainly not a habitual smoker. And I think most flavored smokes taste like shit. But why the fuck is the government getting involved in this choice?
If I, as a 19-year-old adult, want a damn clove cigarette, I should be able to go to the corner store and buy myself a damn pack of cloves, okay? And so should you. Even if you don't WANT them, that should be your choice.
This is not going to reduce teenage tobacco use. It is already illegal for kids to buy cigarettes. Most kids who smoke, smoke regular cigarettes. Those who don't will be forced to switch. But they will still smoke. They will still give their older brother a few bucks to buy them a pack of Camels.
It won't change anything, except to remove another freedom from consenting adults.
We KNOW cigarettes, all cigarettes, chew, snuff, cigars, blunts, pipe tobacco...we KNOW they're not healthy. We know alcohol's not healthy, too, but many of us drink it despite this knowledge. We get it. And we make a choice that affects only our own bodies. (I understand, toxic chemicals > disease > family & friends suffering; but that is, I think, an outgrowth of the personal responsibility that comes with a personal choice, and not a matter for law.) This legislation is not going to do anything for people who have a nicotine addiction. It does not provide comprehensive government-subsidised treatment programs for those who wish to quit.
It simply slaps our hands and tells us, "No, you can't have that either."
I don't want a Congressional hand-slap. I want freedom of choice. I want prohibition ended, and education expanded. I want less representative, and more democracy. I want to be treated like a person, not like a brainless, helpless inferior of those in power.
And please note, this is not about my opinion in regards to whether tobacco IN GENERAL should be legal or used. This is me objecting to an unfair and ineffective discriminatory policy, fuelled by much emotion, little rationality, and outright CONTROVERTED by available evidence
in its supposed aim to eliminate a major factor in teen tobacco use. I personally happen to believe that tobacco should be legal, but taxed and de-corporatized, and that criminalization and prohibition of any drug is the wrong way to address a widespread addiction problem, as well as a waste of tax money. Most importantly, the basic fact that our government can prohibit consenting adults from doing a certain set of things to or with their own bodies is an encroachment on personal liberty in itself that should not be tolerated in a (theoretically) democratic society.
Nicotine is harmful, and should not be used by teens and children. Duh. It is obvious that much, if not most, of the support for the law is well-intentioned (save the private political/economic motivations of some), but what needs to be asked is this: Based on the evidence that is available, is this the most likely plan to succeed in its stated goals, and is it being implemented with an eye to protect existing freedoms as much as possible? It seems to me that the answer to these questions is a quite glaring "NO." If that's the case indeed, our government has again acted in sloppy ignorance, in stealing away a choice to "protect" us.
(Sorry if I'm leaving my arguments a little frayed at the edges, I should really be in bed right now.)