Public Health

Sometimes a Cigar Is a Cigarette

|

The federal ban on flavored cigarettes, imposed by the same law that authorized the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products, took effect yesterday. The New York Times reports that the FDA is sending mixed signals about whether the ban also covers small flavored cigars:

At a news conference on Tuesday, agency officials were deliberately vague when asked whether the ban would apply to the growing market of flavored small cigars like Swisher Sweets or cigarillos like Black & Mild, which can have flavors like apple and chocolate.

F.D.A. agents visited a tobacco store in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday and told the owner that the flavoring ban included cigarillos like Black & Mild, according to Norman Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America.

Another cigar store owner told Mr. Sharp that an agency representative called last week to tell her to remove every flavored tobacco product from her shelves that "looked like a cigarette" but could not define what that meant, Mr. Sharp said.

In a letter to manufacturers, the agency said the ban applied to all cigarette-like tobacco products even if they "are labeled as cigars or as some other product." And in another document to manufacturers, the agency wrote that it was "examining options for regulating both menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes."…

Dr. [Lawrence] Deyton [director of the FDA's new Center for Tobacco Products] was asked several times on a conference call with reporters if the ban applied to any small cigars or cigarillos. "According to the law, if something is wrapped in a tobacco leaf, that would not be considered…" he said and then stopped and added, "Hold on just a second."

After a delay, Catherine Lorraine, a lawyer in the agency's tobacco center, got on the call and said that if consumers believe a product is a cigarette, then the law defines it as one no matter how it is wrapped or labeled.

"We will be looking at products on an individual basis to determine if it meets that aspect of the legislation," Ms. Lorraine said.

If a consumer believes a product is a cigarette, even if it is not manufactured or marketed as such, that makes it a cigarette? Evidently tobacconists are now expected to read their customers' minds.

The rationale for this arbitrary ban is that flavored cigarettes appeal to minors and therefore cannot be tolerated, even though most of the people who consume them happen to be adults. (The law makes an exception for menthol cigarettes, which are an important source of profit for Philip Morris, the only tobacco company that supported the law.) The same logic condemns not only "alcopops" (sweet malt beverages) but any alcoholic beverage sweeter than a martini.

NEXT: When You Make a Deal With the Devil Drug-Makers...

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yo, fuck the FDA.

  2. What if you buy flavored cigars and then remove the tobacco and use it for other purposes?

  3. Don’t you just love it when no one knows what the fuck is what in regards to regulations? I mean, it’s only people’s jobs at stake here, so obviously this is a part of the law you want as much vague language as possible.

  4. I do not believe marlboros are cigarettes, although they are branded and marketed as such. Therefore they are no longer cigarettes.

    Oh, it doesn’t work in reverse?

  5. Any news on what all this means for the market for shisha? I would imagine a good number of hookah bars and middle eastern groceries will soon be raided for having flavors like sour apple, cotton candy, and mojito…

    But seriously, is shisha still too ethnic to be considered by congress? Or will it go the way of Khat and just freak the fuck out of people with its otherness?

  6. This is what some refer to as a “teachable moment.” Right before our eyes, we are seeing the transformation of a once legal product into something that can be sold on the black market, thereby turning normal citizens into criminals and providing another revenue stream for organized crime.

    Way to look past the end of your nose, FDA! Whoo hoo!

  7. Evidently tobacconists are now expected to read their customers’ minds.

    And the minds of the regulators. It has always been thus.

  8. There are some very pricey high end cigars (Drew Estate) that are “flavored”, although very subtly with all kinds of non-candy flavors. Are they illegal now, too? How the fuck is anyone supposed to know?

  9. They can have my double apple shisha when they pry it from my cold, blackened lungs.

  10. Most of the big media articles on the change, which just took effect, are praising it, and noting that it’s “for the children.” Of course.

  11. I have a feeling Rush is going to be on this like white on rice – he is a HUGE cigar afficianado.

    Curious to see that menthol cigs will be excepted. I wonder if this has to do with the fact that menthol cigs are preferred by a certain population subset that overwhelmingly voted for Obama, and who also commit most crimes. But that would be RACIST, wouldn’t it?

  12. No, PRiMP, menthol is excluded because Phillip Morris helped craft the regulations. Jesus. This has been in the works for years.

  13. “Evidently tobacconists are now expected to read their customers’ minds.”

    -I know of other smokable products that are probably more useful for mind reading skills

  14. I just want to put this out there: a martini, a REAL martini, is a glass of ice cold gin, the way God intended it. The commandment on vermouth allows for a little wiggle room.

  15. BGM, real martinis went out of fashion in the late 19th century.

  16. PR/MP,

    But that would be RACIST, wouldn’t it?

    Yes, it certainly would be.

  17. SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A JOKE………..98% WATER VAPOR….STEAM………..

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008
    British Medical Journal & WHO conclude secondhand smoke “health hazard” claims are greatly exaggerated

    The BMJ published report can be found here:
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7398/1057

    And concludes:

    The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.

    What makes this study more significant than any other is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers….. meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality.

    This report was of course silenced in the media; however in light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws.

    Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study which concluded “..secondhand smoking doesn’t cause cancer…” found online here.

    Excerpt:

    Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer-official
    By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent

    The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: “There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.”

    And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University, the American Cancer Society, a Minnesota Environmental Health Department, and various researchers whose testing and report was also peer reviewed and published in the esteemed British Medical Journal……prove that secondhand smoke is 2.6 – 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations.

    OSHA has established PELs (Permissible Exposure Levels) for all the measurable chemicals, including the 40 alleged carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. PELs are levels of exposure for an 8-hour workday from which, according to OSHA, no harm will result.

    Of course the idea of “thousands of chemicals” can itself sound spooky. Perhaps it would help to note that coffee contains over 1000 chemicals, 19 of which are known to be rat carcinogens.
    -“Rodent Carcinogens: Setting Priorities” Gold Et Al., Science, 258: 261-65 (1992)

    There. Feel better?

    As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that:

    “Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.”
    -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

    Indeed it would.

    Independent health researchers have done the chemistry and the math to prove how very very rare that would be.

    As you’re about to see in a moment.

    In 1999, comments were solicited by the government from an independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke.

    Using EPA figures on the emissions per cigarette of everything measurable in secondhand smoke, they compared them to OSHA’s PELs.

    The following excerpt and chart are directly from their report and their Washington testimony:

    CALCULATING THE NON-EXISTENT RISKS OF ETS

    “We have taken the substances for which measurements have actually been obtained–very few, of course, because it’s difficult to even find these chemicals in diffuse and diluted ETS.

    “We posit a sealed, unventilated enclosure that is 20 feet square with a 9 foot ceiling clearance.

    “Taking the figures for ETS yields per cigarette directly from the EPA, we calculated the number of cigarettes that would be required to reach the lowest published “danger” threshold for each of these substances. The results are actually quite amusing. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a situation where these threshold limits could be realized.

    “Our chart (Table 1) illustrates each of these substances, but let me report some notable examples.

    “For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes would be required to reach the lowest published “danger” threshold.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes would be required.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    “At the lower end of the scale– in the case of Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up simultaneously in our little room to reach the threshold at which they might begin to pose a danger.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes are required. Perhaps we could post a notice limiting this 20-foot square room to 300 rather tightly-packed people smoking no more than 62 packs per hour?

    “Of course the moment we introduce real world factors to the room — a door, an open window or two, or a healthy level of mechanical air exchange (remember, the room we’ve been talking about is sealed) achieving these levels becomes even more implausible.

    “It becomes increasingly clear to us that ETS is a political, rather than scientific, scapegoat.”

    thanks to new york city C.L.A.S.H.

  18. Yo, fuck walls of text.

  19. “How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
    “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”

  20. Folks, keep in mind that Parents Rights is a parody, and an unusually cartoonish one at that. Our spoofs have gone far downhill since the days of Neil.

  21. According to this article, http://tobaccoreporter.com/home.php?id=498&art=2573, smokers in LA who are smoking at the beach where smoking is now banned are threatened with jail time. If they happen to be smoking the now illegal clove cigarette, would that involve two charges?

  22. @ harleyrider1978

    Go fuck yourself and your text walls.

    BTW, Harleys are the shittiest bikes ever. That’s why only fading hippy grandpas ride them.

  23. Oh, and their grossly fat women.

  24. Our spoofs have gone far downhill since the days of Neil.

    Who will step up to the plate and return us to the highest echelons of resident spoof quality? Where is Cesar?

    (Sorry, whoever is behind Tony. You’re a little too annoying.)

  25. I took a shit on a Harley once.

  26. Xeones | September 23, 2009, 12:17pm | #
    Yo, fuck walls of text.

    Its there so people can read the truth about second hand smoke…….facts subdue propaganda……it destroys prohibition at its core.

    repealthebans@yahoo.com

  27. Sandi | September 23, 2009, 12:28pm | #
    I took a shit on a Harley once.

    Meta4 | September 23, 2009, 12:24pm | #
    @ harleyrider1978

    Go fuck yourself and your text walls.

    BTW, Harleys are the shittiest bikes ever. That’s why only fading hippy grandpas ride them

    Sad state of affairs when the truth destroys the nazis propaganda machine…….So I gather you are communists that voted for the smoker obama……..enjoy your outlawed world the rest of us still smoke and party with the real people……..such shallow little people you are.

    repealthebans@yahoo.com

  28. harleyrider, you’ll find very few people at Hit’n’Run who buy into the harmfulness of secondhand smoke, or into any type of prohibition at all. You’ll find even fewer people who appreciate when some drive-by who doesn’t even take the time to figure out who their audience is here copies’n’pastes some huge amount of text. If you want to post links, that’s fine, but you don’t have to also copy and paste EVERYTHING BEHIND THE LINK.

  29. I took a shit in harleyrider1978’s mouth once. You should have seen the shit eating grin. Stretched form ear to ear.

  30. Ack, we’re being overrun with trolls!

  31. BTW, Harleys are the shittiest bikes ever.

    Speaking as someone who has owned a Triumph for over a decade now, I’m going to have to disagree with you on that point.

  32. Don’t you just love it when no one knows what the fuck is what in regards to regulations?

    Oh, please. You know perfectly well what the fuck is what in regards to *these* regulations. It’s that everything made of tobacco is bad, that everyone who sells tobacco products is the moral equivalent of a child molester and should count himself lucky he isn’t lynched by an outraged citizenry, that anything made of tobacco and flavored is bad and ought to be illegal, and that, if some loophole means that a particular flavored tobacco product might not actually be illegal, you might as well be reasonable and pull it off your shelves now because we’re going to harass the crap out of you until Congress fills in that loophole.

  33. everything made of tobacco is bad…

    …and there was a lot of smoking in The Sopranos, therefore all smokers are gangsters.

  34. I noted recently in an uh, alternative smoking supply store there was a variety of rolling material which was clear and flavored. I wondered if the flavored smoking ban would extend to blunt wraps and if this was the company’s hedge product. Anyway, it was clear and did not burn very well. Burned by itself it seemed to turn into a charred plastic though I think it was made of cellulose. The container noted NO TOBACCO CONTENT. I don’t think they are supposed to sell them to under 18s, though. And you wouldn’t get the synergistic effect of combining nicotine with alternative smoking materials, of course.

    One can get blunt wraps which are just a tobacco leaf, no flavor added. For now.

  35. I can’t describe what a cigarette is, but I know it when I see it.

  36. What about Cherry Skoal?

  37. I can’t describe what a cigarette is, but I know it when I see it.

    That’s pornography you’re looking at.

  38. of flavored small cigars like Swisher Sweets or cigarillos like Black & Mild

    I swear to christ if these bitches start fuckin’ with my Black & Mild I’m gonna get medieval…

    Oh, and meter’s still running on my bet.

  39. harleyrider, you’ll find very few people at Hit’n’Run who buy into the harmfulness of secondhand smoke, or into any type of prohibition at all. You’ll find even fewer people who appreciate when some drive-by who doesn’t even take the time to figure out who their audience is here copies’n’pastes some huge amount of text. If you want to post links, that’s fine, but you don’t have to also copy and paste EVERYTHING BEHIND THE LINK

    If you took the time to read,youd have learned the story is about how shs doesnt harm anyone…….and there is no reason for any prohibition.

  40. How the fuck is anyone supposed to know?

    Calm down, R C. Just ask a law enforcement officer.

  41. I think God is using the FDA to smite us all. The FDA probably thinks that, too.

  42. A woman is only a woman but a good cigarette is a fag.

  43. harleyrider1978

    If you took the time to read,youd have learned the story is about how shs doesnt harm anyone…….and there is no reason for any prohibition.

    I read it, and I agree with you that’s what it says.

    You’re still an idiot. Provide links to articles, we’re all smart enough to follow them.

  44. I only came on this thread to defend my former favorite smoke; rum soaked crooks. (“There’s nothing like a good cigar, and this is nothing like a good cigar.”)

  45. The FDA is clueless. Just where is their evidence that flavored tobacco products are luring minors into smoking? I have not ever heard of any studies done on this subject. They are even using this as an excuse to ban electronic cigarettes, saying that ecigs should be banned because they appeal to minors. Get a clue FDA.

  46. to deja moo.
    you’re right! rum soaked crooks are the best! my air force buddy introduced me to them when we were stationed in korea over 40 years ago. sadly, can’t find them or their equal anywhere today-a sad fact.
    rick

  47. So, I just found out after this law went into effect that there were berry flavored cigarettes. Not those Camel Signature series which all tastedt like ultra lights, but an actual berry-flavored cig that tasted like berries. why oh why couldn’t I have found this out sooner?!?!?!?!?!?

  48. And as a rider of over 20 years, I have owned many, many types of bikes (everything from Dynaglides to Ducatis) and I can tell you some of my favorite bikes were Harleys. Any one hating on them just aint big enough of a man to ride one

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.