The Food and Drug Administration’s decision Tuesday to ban the sale of flavored cigarettes takes us yet another step down the unpleasant road toward government control over our personal lives.
The FDA justified the ban on smokeless cigarettes, which includes products such as the Camel Exotic Blends line of cigarettes, by claiming that, “These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers,” FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.
While it is true that some youths who smoke will first have experienced flavored cigarettes, claiming causation here makes no sense.
How can Hamburg prove that these kids wouldn’t have started smoking anyway? Smoking is a social phenomenon. It is far more likely that kids will become smokers due to peer pressure and other environmental factors than because of the type of cigarettes offered.
It is hypocritical of the FDA to suggest that flavored cigarettes are such a hazard while allowing clearly poisonous ordinary cigarettes to remain on the market and be smoked in households with children. If the government really cared about “the children,” they’d ban smoking outright.
What’s next if we keep protecting “the children?” We already see a tax on soda proposed in Congress. We assume Lucky Charms and fast food are next on the chopping block. Since these products can, perhaps, lead children into unhealthy lifestyles, we better ban them just to be safe, right?
Wrong. America is a nation built on personal liberties. Americans have, or at least are supposed to have the right to eat, drink and smoke what we want to, and as parents, we also have the right and responsibility to raise our children well. We don’t need the government telling us how to live and what to protect our children from. We urge the FDA to reconsider its decision to ban flavored cigarettes.