Sunday, August 18, 2013

CANDIED CIGARS | To Help Along Your Addiction

Worse than candy cigarettes? Sweet-flavored cigars–peach, honey, grape...
Two of my closest relatives smoked and died young. The other lived ten years longer:

  • My Dad did not smoke cigarettes, but he did smoke cigars and a pipe. He suffered from dizziness in his last decade of life, had a stroke and died in his 80s. 
  • His brother died of emphysema that he attributed entirely to the cigarette smoking that he started in the Navy in WWII. He quit at 60 years of age but it was too late. He suffered decades of wheezing and also died in his 80s. 
  • My nonsmoking mother died at 98. 
A sample of just three people in one family - but the family fits the statistics.

So when the FDA prohibited candy cigarettes, effective in 2010, I applauded. Let's stop allowing kids to be addicted in stages with cig sweets and then sweet cigs. But the vendors apparently just had to remove the red tip on the candy cigarettes and rename them "candy sticks".

I went to a site on Amazon that still advertised candy cigarettes in 2011 and gave the product a one-star review, calling it a diabolical product because it encourages kids to start smoking. As of today there were 26 posts, mostly complaining that I was a self-appointed candy-cig vigilante. Only three of 101 readers found my review helpful - thanks, you three. But the product did get 17 other one-star reviews for poor quality.

Now, today, we find from Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times that marketers determined to addict as many kids as possible to tobacco are finding another avenue for creating new (short-) lifetime customers - candy-flavored cigars. So much for all the protests under my Amazon review that the candy cigarettes were just for "nostalgia" or even "an alternative to smoking"! Yeah, sure.

Why should anyone care who gets addicted to cigarettes or cigars? Isn't it good for the economy? Well, doctors and researchers tell me that smoking is about the worst thing one can do to destroy one's health. It reduces the length of one's working life, and the health-care costs of lung cancer etc. are huge. The greatest threat to the balancing of the Federal Budget, the greatest cause of the financial difficulties of many U.S. manufacturing companies, is the cost of health care.

Cigarette addiction has multiple victims – the people who smoke and destroy their health, the families that must cope with the problems of having a sick person in the house, and the corporations and taxpayers who have to pay for the long years of health care before nature sends her Final Signal of her disapproval of the smoking habit.

For many who are addicted it may be too much to give up cigarettes or cigars. But to anyone who complains about the candy-cig police and is happy to see another generation hooked on tobacco, the only words that come to my mind are "invincible ignorance".