Flavored Cig Ban Is Silly: Kids Don't Smoke Them

What's more, FDA's claims about teen smoking are preposterous: Chapman
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2009 11:28 AM CDT
Flavored cigarettes.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The FDA is all over the map—and all wrong—with its ban on flavored cigarettes, writes Steve Chapman. The agency touts the move against the “gateway” tobacco products, saying it will break the cycle of addiction “for the more than 3,600 young people who start smoking daily.” First of all, kids don’t smoke fruity cigarettes. “Teenagers smoke because they want to seem older,” Chapman writes. “Smoking something that tastes like bubble gum sends the opposite signal.”

To wit, the FDA “doesn’t know” what percentage of teens smoked the fruity butts. But here's a statistic we do know: teen smoking is way down. One survey finds the number of high school seniors who smoke daily at its lowest level in 33 years, and down by almost 50% since the mid-1990s. So those 3,600 kids who start smoking every day? Poppycock. That many kids have their first cigarette daily, true. But "I smoked a couple of cigarettes in my youth,” Chapman writes in Reason. “I never ‘started smoking,’ any more than I ‘started speaking Chinese’ the one time I attended a Mandarin class.”