Settling for less…

If you have read us for any length of time, or perused our website, you have seen that we often refer to Michael Siegel’s excellent Rest of the Story, but just to stress the point, he is always worth reading.

In his latest post, False Information from Center for Tobacco Products is Concerning; FDA Actions Should Be Guided by Science, Not Politics he argues cogently that the FDA move against flavoured cigarettes can only be understood as political since it is not evidence based. Not only have youth been found to not initiate smoking with those products but they have not been available for some time.

I have an objection to this particular targeting of flavor in tobacco on other grounds. My grounds are that it is fundamentally unethical to diminish the happiness someone will experience simply because you disapprove of what they are doing.

Let’s say that an adult smoker enjoys a flavoured tobacco product (since we are pretty sure that’s who is consuming most of them).

My favourite beer style is stout. It is similar to flavoured tobacco in the sense that it is less common (other than Guinness) and when meeting friends for a beer it is often unavailable. So do I simply say “I just won’t have anything”? No, I order another type of beer because I enjoy the effects of alcohol and even if I prefer stouts I don’t hate other beer (though there certainly are exceptions). So though I get to have my beer, my pleasure quotient is slightly diminished because the establishment did not stock stouts.

Smokers who are without their own will ask other smokers for a cigarette. It is rare that any one of them will turn down a smoke simply because it is not their preferred brand.

The framers of the anti-flavour bills probably don’t care about this but I see nothing defensible in reducing the pleasure someone has in enjoying a product that they themselves do not approve of.

It reminds me of the move to modify medical marijuana so that those who are using it to combat pain or glaucoma or nausea do not inadvertently enjoy a high along with the health benefit.

And of course the irony of it all is that removing flavoured tobacco products was all funded by monies levied on the very consumers they are being taken from.

– Paul L. Bergen

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Comments

  • Ann W.  On July 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    “Smokers who are without their own will ask other smokers for a cigarette. It is rare that any one of them will turn down a smoke simply because it is not their preferred brand.”

    I smoke menthol and have found when asked for a cigarette that non menthol smokers would sooner go without, then smoke them.

  • Paul  On July 23, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Good to know…..my comments were meant as generalizations. I don’t know if someone has done a good study of how variable people are in their brands/categories. Wouldn’t be that surprised about the menthol since it seems to be more of a difference from other smoking experiences than simply flavor.

    I still think that in general a lot of whatever you have goes on but I do remember when you could buy the harsh French cigarettes here…if you really hated people bumming smokes, it was almost sure that they would turn these down.

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