Our government does almost nothing competently, yet it’s always looking for new tasks. The latest: regulating cigars. Surprisingly, Mike Bloomberg isn’t involved, at least not publicly.
Nearly four years after it began regulating cigarettes, the Food and Drug Administration is poised to extend its reachto a broader range of tobacco products. At the top of that list: cigars, which have experienced a boom in recent years even as cigarette sales have declined, in part because of growing popularity among young people.
Anti-tobacco advocates and industry representatives widely expect the agency to require changes in the marketing and manufacturing of cigars. But the central question remains: What kind of cigars will the FDA target, and how?
That’s an easy one. The FDA will regulate whatever it can get away with regulating, while taking into account who will pony up to buy their way into crafting the regulations in their favor. Big companies will pay up and win out, crushing competition from small mom and pop makers. Congress will threaten and may hold hearings, but the unchecked bureaucracy will do whatever it bloody well wants to do and can get influenced to do.
It wants to regulate cigars now, mainly to expand its own power, so it will regulate cigars.
Dontcha know, it’s all about the children — after we’ve defined children to include teenagers and people as old as 26 who get to stay on their parents’ insurance.
On one end of the spectrum are the hand-rolled Cohibas and Arturo Fuentes that stock the humidors of high-end cigar shops and are favored by aficionados who don’t blink at paying top dollar. On the other are the convenience-store brands that appeal primarily to young smokers, such as 59-cent blueberry Swisher Sweets, peach-flavored White Owl Cigarillos, Phillies Blunts Sour Apple and menthol Cheyenne “little cigars” that are barely distinguishable from cigarettes.
Public health experts and some anti-tobacco lawmakers are pressing the FDA to regulate all cigars, but they mostly worry about the inexpensive, flavored varieties that have proliferated in recent years. Such cigars “are marketed aggressively and have resulted in high school kids and young adults being twice as likely as their older counterparts to be cigar smokers,” the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a recent report.
It’s already illegal for kids to smoke cigars. So they go smoke hookahs instead. Then the FDA will figure that out, and come after hookahs. Adults can smoke tobacco, for now, and smoking pays for many state health programs. But anti-cigarette campaigns have hurt the taxman’s bottom line. So he’ll go where the dollars, which he already thinks belong to him, went.
As MKH asks over at Hot Air, “Wouldn’t it be fun to be a small business owner creating anything tasty or gratifying for ingestion and worrying about when exactly it might strike the fancy of the feds to go after you? What kind of ________ will the FDA target, and how?”
Whatever they bloody well want, and can expand their power and make money regulating. What the actual people of this land may or may not want doesn’t really matter much anymore. I doubt that anyone outside the professional advocacy class gives two hoots about cigar regulation, but the diffuse masses aren’t an organized, funded resistance. They’re just living their lives oblivious to the next edict from on high until it pops them in the jaw.
Our government has become a protection racket and secular church. “Consent of the governed” was nice while it lasted.
I’m feeling like taking up a good box-pressed oscuro wrap stogie…while our alleged government of the people, by the people and for the people still allows this grown man and military veteran to have one.
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