Campus / National / News / October 15, 2009

Cigarrette ban ignites controversy

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration enacted a ban on all “flavored” cigarettes — this includes clove cigarettes, which are popular among smokers on Knox campus.

The ban is the result of House Bill 1256, the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.” President Obama signed it into law on June 22, 2009. It contains, among other requirements, provisions for stricter regulation on tobacco companies.

In general, the bill aims to provide consumers with more information about the ingredients in tobacco products and to stop companies from promoting supposed “low-risk” cigarettes.

The bill grants the FDA more power to regulate tobacco products. The FDA, then, took this expanded power to ban flavored cigarettes, reasoning that these are the forms of nicotine to which children and young adults are most attracted.

Knox students have mixed reactions to the law.

Freshman Chris Holland said, “To be honest, I could care less about clove cigarettes or even smoking, in general. However, I don’t approve of the government telling us what we can and can’t put into our own bodies.”

When asked whether the law would have an impact on children’s health, he said, “Parents should be responsible for keeping their kids away from these things. Kids and teens will still be able to access them even if they are illegal. All the government ban does is make them more appealing because of the added sense of rebelliousness teens will feel when they get their hands on them.”

Most students agreed that provisions requiring larger warning labels and bans on advertising within 100 feet of schools and playgrounds were fair and helpful. The larger issue seems to be civil liberties — not necessarily the inalienable right to smoke clove cigarettes but, rather, the right to consume (more specifically, smoke) what we want, despite negative health affects.

Freshman Joe Seidman said, “I understand how candy flavored cigarettes and rolling papers could affect children, but clove cigarettes are different. I don’t see how they’re advertised towards children. Come to think of it, I’ve never actually seen clove cigarettes advertised at all.”

Joshua Gunter
Joshua Gunter was the liberal half of "Debating Columnists" during fall 2012 and winter 2013. He graduated in winter 2013 with a degree in art history and currently works as an account researcher for the Brunswick Group in New York City. At Knox, he also served as co-editor-in-chief of Catch magazine.

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