Five Senators Demand Unconstitutional Restrictions on E-Cigarette Ads—for the Children

Blu e-cigarette adBlu e-cigarette adToday five senators—Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.)—introduced "legislation to protect children from e-cigarettes." To be more precise, the bill aims to protect children from speech about e-cigarettes. The Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to "determine what constitutes marketing e-cigarettes to children" and "work with states attorneys general" to enforce a ban on such marketing. Boxer et al. seem to have their own definition of marketing e-cigarettes to children, and it is pretty broad:

Senator Durbin said, "E-cigarette makers are adopting the deplorable marketing tactics once used by tobacco companies to entice children and teenagers into using their addictive product. With fruit and candy flavors and glossy celebrity ads, e-cigarettes makers are undeniably targeting young people. Unfortunately, it's working. We must take action now to prevent a new generation from walking down the dangerous path towards nicotine addiction."...

"It is troubling that manufacturers of e-cigarettes—some of whom also make traditional cigarettes—are attempting to establish a new generation of nicotine addicts through aggressive marketing that often uses cartoons and sponsorship of music festivals and sporting events," said Senator Harkin....

"Tobacco companies advertising e-cigarettes—with flavors like bubblegum and strawberry—are clearly targeting young people with the intent of creating a new generation of smokers, and those that argue otherwise are being callously disingenuous," Senator Blumenthal said.

Despite claims from some e-cigarette makers that they do not market their products to children, e-cigarette manufacturers have adopted marketing practices similar to those long used by the tobacco industry to market regular cigarettes to youth—including flavoring their products in candy or fruit flavors that appeal to children, and using marketing materials featuring cartoon characters reminiscent of those used to market traditional cigarettes to children in previous decades.

I gather that if Boxer et al. were imposing restrictions on e-cigarette marketing, rather than leaving that task to the FTC, the rules would look something like this:

1. Do not mention fruit or candy flavors.

2. Do not hire celebrities to appear in ads.

3. Do not run "glossy" ads; matte finish is acceptable.

4. Do not use cartoon characters.

5. Do not sponsor music festivals or sporting events.

There is zero chance that such speech restrictions would be upheld by the courts—yes, even with the avowed goal of "protecting children." In the 2001 case Lorillard Tobacco v. Reilly, the Supreme Court rejected much more modest restrictions on outdoor tobacco ads that were likewise aimed at protecting impressionable minors from exposure to messages about adult products. In 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit cited that decision when it overturned the advertising restrictions imposed by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. That law banned the use of color or pictures in outdoor ads, indoor ads (except those in adult-only businesses), and print ads carried by publications with significant underage readerships. "Although the government can show a substantial interest in alleviating the effects of tobacco advertising on juvenile consumers," the 6th Circuit said, "the provision of the Act banning the use of color and graphics in tobacco advertising is vastly overbroad."

Why was that rule "vastly overbroad"? Because it unreasonably interfered with legitimate communication between tobacco companies and their adult customers. Likewise the rules that Boxer et al. are demanding. The notion that fruit flavors, celebrities, glossy ads, cartoon characters, music, and sporting events appeal only to minors is clearly unsupportable. At the risk of being deemed "callously disingenuous" by Richard Blumenthal, I would like to point out that many adults (particularly young women) like the fruity flavors he finds so offensive, and they should not be denied their preference based on the possibility that it is shared by people younger than 18. For similar reasons, advertising of adult products should not be restricted to techniques that could not possibly interest a 17-year-old. If given free rein, this impulse to shield "young people" from every bad influence would reduce adults to the status of children.

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  • ||

    Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.)—introduced "legislation to protect children from e-cigarettes."

    SOCONZ!!!!!!!(!!!!)!!!!!!

    /Bo

  • SIV||

    Damn it! You're too quick.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    That is a veritable Murder's Row of assbags.

  • ||

    How did I just know Blumenthal would be on that list. Connecticut's version of Elliott Spitzer combined with Chuck Schumer. Ugh.

  • SIV||

    You're disrespecting Dick Blumenthal, a man who served proudly in Vietnam, just like Tom Harkin.

  • Tonio||

    Blumenthal has teh moobz?

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    I've had Dicky D "representing" my miserable State for an age and an eon.

  • albo||

    Imagine being stuck in a Capitol elevator with them. You'd emerge a psychopath.

  • juris imprudent||

    Yeah but then there also would be 5 open Senate seats.

  • ||

    SOCONZ!!!!!!!(!!!!)!!!!!!

    and... SCIENCE!!!!1!!!1!

  • RightNut||

    I like the scary reference to real cigarettes

    "It is troubling that manufacturers of e-cigarettes—some of whom also make traditional cigarettes...

    As if cigarette makers were terrorist or something.
  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    Its an IED for your lungz!!!

    /derp

  • ||

    Wow Sullum. You are so callously disingenuous denying the undeniable.

  • SugarFree||

    Barbara took Dick's dick in her eager mouth while Tom and Eddie finished fluffing Richard to get him ready for the scene.

    "Sorry, guys," Richard said. "I just have such a hard time getting it hard since my prostate surgery. That sucker was the size of a tangerine. I put a picture of it on Instagram, but it didn't like the filter I ended using. Did you guys see that?"

    Tom nodded around a mouthful of cock while Eddie's tongue worked the prostate surgery scar that bisected Richard's taint like a mighty gorge. They awkwardly fingered each other's anuses to stay hard themselves.

    "Are you guys almost ready?" Dick asked. "I 'bout to blow of in this bitch's cunt mouth." Barbara, on her hands and knees, wagged the slack flesh of her giant ass at the other three. She smelled like cheap fireworks thrown down a sewer.

    Eddie crawled over to Barbara and then pulled himself under her. The splattered mess of her breasts engulfed his face as he struggled to fit his tiny penis into her fat twat.

    "C'mon, dammit," Dick said. Richard and Tom waddled over.

    "You want on top?" Tom asked.

    "I ain't got the balance no more," Richard lamented. He jammed his penis into the leaking gape of Barbara's stained asshole. Tom maneuvered over them both and pushed his penis in as well, gripping the base tightly to stay hard. Barbara moaned as Tom and Richard's penis twined around each other as they thrust into her brownie shoppe.

    The camera whirred as filming began.

  • JW||

    She smelled like cheap fireworks thrown down a sewer.

    Nice.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    That, alone, is award worthy.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    What is WRONG with you?!

  • ||

    Diabetes.

  • SugarFree||

    It's an insidious disease affecting many systems in the body.

  • Zeb||

    Do these people think that children are a different species or something? Any marketing material can be consumed by children just as well as by adults.

    And why do people think that tobacco advertisements are so influential to kids? Kid's start smoking because other kids do or because they are seeking novel experiences or want to act grown up. I didn't even notice cigarette ads until I started smoking.

  • ||

    And why do people think that tobacco advertisements are so influential to kids? Kid's start smoking because other kids do or because they are seeking novel experiences or want to act grown up. I didn't even notice cigarette ads until I started smoking.

    This so much. I remember the furor over Joe Camel, like any kid anywhere gave a shit about Joe Camel. I doubt even Camel smokers noticed him.

  • Mainer2||

    Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.)

    When I saw that list I was looking forward a story involving tar and feathers. Ye gods, each of those alone makes my skin crawl.

    Has the Senate always harbored so many despicable people ? Or is that a new thing ?

  • Malvolio||

    Always like this.

  • JW||

    Senator Durbin said, "E-cigarette makers are adopting the deplorable marketing tactics once used by tobacco companies to entice children and teenagers into using their addictive product. With fruit and candy flavors and glossy celebrity ads, e-cigarettes makers are undeniably targeting young people. Unfortunately, it's working. We must take action now to prevent a new generation from walking down the dangerous path towards nicotine addiction."...

    Here's what I've always wanted to know:

    Are these congressvermin so fundamentally stupid that they actually believe this spiel, or are they such massively mendacious cunts, that they sleep like babies, knowing that again they increased their own power at the expense of other people?

  • Tonio||

    Does it really matter, JW? As is often said here, intentions don't count for shit; a man is judged by his actions.

  • JW||

    In the end, no, it doesn't matter. Either way, these people shouldn't be ruling anyone except for the imaginary friends who haven't run away already.

    We all know it's the latter, but I just can't warp my conscience far enough around to even begin to understand how someone could think as they do, at least not as someone who isn't already in prison serving multiple life terms.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    "are they such massively mendacious cunts, that they sleep like babies, knowing that again they increased their own power at the expense of other people"

    Sometimes it is hard to tell with Durbin, but I think it is this one.

  • Winston||

    So does this mean that pot smoking will be banned once the substance is legal?

  • Robert||

    No, it's about the nicotine, not the smoke. Another bit of evidence in NY's law on smoking in the workplace—how does it work w.r.t. actors smoking on stage? The way it works is that they're allowed to smoke as long as it's not tobacco. The clove or other vegetation they use in cigarets, etc. to resemble tobacco products is actually harsher on their throats, actors complain.

  • albo||

    Just let the market work: E-cigarettes make you look stupid, and they'll eventually go away because of it. They're Zima. Or fannypacks.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    "They're Zima"

    Daaaaamn. That is harsh.

  • Robert||

    I've never seen Zima called harsh before.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Bootleggers, Baptists, and shills for Big Chewlies™.

  • Sigivald||

    The notion that fruit flavors, celebrities, glossy ads, cartoon characters, music, and sporting events appeal only to minors is clearly unsupportable

    Indeed.

    The apparent logic is "anything that kids like appeals only to kids, no matter what we know about what adults actually like".

  • Loki||

    If given free rein, this impulse to shield "young people" from every bad influence would reduce adults to the status of children.

    These asshats would consider that a feature, not a bug.

  • R C Dean||

    Fortunately, this partisan bill will be blocked by those stalwart defenders of civil rights in the Democrat Party. Right?

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