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Smoking And Obama
By: jakeydanger  |  July 2, 2009

Obama is making his first move that I disagree with enough to write about, and, I hate to say it, but this is a move that really infringes on my liberties. Today, he is signing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. As an aside, I like how lawmakers put the word "family" into the titles of bills like this to get support. There's nothing better than being duped into supporting The Greater Good.

Quoth The Huffington Post:
The law allows the FDA to reduce nicotine in tobacco products, ban candy flavorings and block labels such "low tar" and "light." Tobacco companies also will be required to cover their cartons with large graphic warnings.

The law won't let the FDA ban nicotine or tobacco outright, but the agency will be able to regulate what goes into tobacco products, make public the ingredients and prohibit marketing campaigns, especially those geared toward children.

Anti-smoking advocates looked forward to the bill after years of attempts to control an industry so fundamental to the U.S. that carved tobacco leaves adorn some parts of the Capitol.

I am upset by this, especially since I was in Europe and I've seen the rule of Europe Does It Better first-hand. In Germany, one can buy cigarettes nearly anywhere -- cigarette vending machines adorn every block. On each pack of cigarettes boldy claims, "Rauchen kann tödlich sein", or, auf Englisch, "Smoking kills". Czech cigarettes say the same thing in their respective language, and the duty-free smokes sold at the airports say, in English, "Smoking Kills". European cigarettes conveniently have the levels of nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide labeled on the side of each pack, so I was able to find out that they have less tar and more nicotine (and the the same carbon monoxide) than American cigarettes. Why would they be like this? Well, that way, they're healthier than American cigarettes (less tar) and you have to smoke less to get the same buzz (more nicotine) -- it's a quest to preserve lives, not make money. I didn't see any flavored cigarettes over there, but I couldn't care less about flavored cigarettes anyway. They're expensive and taste like shit -- ban them; it'll save tobacco for real cigarettes. Also, in Europe, the legal smoking age is lower (16 or 17, I believe), making smoking less of a thrill for teenagers. This moves me onto my next item of discussion.

Unlike most lawmakers, I was a teenager once. Even though I was a straight-edge teen, I still got my thrills from other, often illegal, activities. Why? Well, because when something is illegal, it makes it that much more fun for a teenager. Because there will be stricter laws concerning smoking soon, it's going to make smoking that much more fun for teenagers to do. If teens can't get their legal friends to buy cigarettes for them (which is a very lucrative business), then they'll do whatever else they can do to get those precious smokes, which would most likely be to steal them. Making cigarettes harder to get is only going to make it more fun for underage smokers to get them.

Also, lowering the level of nicotine in cigarettes is merely a Quest for More Money. How so? By lowering the levels of nicotine in cigarettes, people will have to smoke more cigarettes to get the same effect of one cigarette. It's the same thing that happened when "light" cigarettes came onto the scene (which, by the way, besides having less nicotine, have more tar than a full-flavor cigarette): people smoked more light cigarettes in order to get the same buzz they'd get from one full-flavor cigarette. Sure, that increases the amount of money Big Tobacco is making, but it benefits the economy in negligible ways and only increases the amount of cancer-lungs out there, which means profits for Big Pharmaceuticals (another scourge of America).

The thing about American lawmakers is they only look at what will provide The Greater Good. They don't take the simple things into account, the biggest of which is Teenage Attitude. There's no way to win the "fight" against Big Tobacco; instead, we should look at what our European brothers and sisters are doing and do that -- because they're doing it right. Oh, and the warnings (especially graphic) that will adorn the cigarette packs: they'll just make smoking that much more cool. The kids will damn well know that smoking is dangerous then, and kids love danger. And if they do what Canadian cigarette companies do (put pictures of cancer-ridden organs on the packs), it'll turn smoking into sort of a game -- each pack will have different organs, so...Gotta Catch 'Em All!

I do admire Obama for having the balls to dare to do this, and yes, it'll (hopefully) get tobacco lobbyists out of Washington. If there's one thing I definitely despise, it's those weasels known as lobbyists. Do I have to sacrifice my freedom, though, just so kids will try even harder to smoke?

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