June 13, 2004

Smoking out the kids

Posted by shonk at 12:24 AM in Politics | TrackBack

Along the lines of my post on Creekstone farms and the mercantilist policies that are preventing them from testing their beef for mad cow, comes news that clove cigarettes are being outlawed, supposedly to prevent kids from starting to smoke, but more importantly because Philip Morris doesn’t make flavored cigarettes (other than menthol cigarettes, which are expressly omitted from the ban) and is flexing its lobbying muscles to prevent competitors like R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson from marketing such things as the Camel Exotic Blends and Midnight Berry Kools:

Since added flavors make cigarettes more appealing to “our children,” they cannot be permitted. It’s just a happy coincidence that Philip Morris, one of the bill’s main backers, does not manufacture cigarettes with any of the prohibited flavors—although it does make menthol cigarettes, which are specifically exempted from the ban.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, featuring the snappy acronym FSPTCA, is, of course, rationalized on the standard “for the children” grounds, since, of course, 15-year-olds are right now lining up to purchase smokes that cost twice as much as normal cigarettes. Now, admittedly, I wasn’t really plugged into the whole high school smoking scene, but I’m pretty sure most underaged smokers, especially those still in the experimental stage, are smoking whatever manifests that elusive combination of low cost and availability, with the primary emphasis on availability. In other words, probably not niche-market flavored brands. Still, though, the sentiment is nice.

And not, of course, without precedent, as anybody who remembers Australia’s ban of Moo Joose knows. Again, that ban was justified by the supposedly negative impact that a widely-distributed alcoholic milkshake would have on the maturity-challenged. Of course, left out of the rhetoric was the fact that so-called alcopops (like hard lemonade), which were first introduced in Australia in the early ’90s, are still a going concern. Google is remarkably unhelpful on this front, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that Australia’s hard lemonade manufacturers threw their lobbying support behind the Moo Joose ban.

Speaking of smoking, yesterday I came across news that Portuguese police are planning to let English soccer fans smoke dope before Sunday’s match with France at EURO 2004 on the notion that stoned soccer hooligans don’t hooliganize so much as drunk soccer hooligans. The “Here We Blow” policy was apparently inspired by the Dutch, who employed a similar strategy to great success in 2000.

Which, of course, draws to mind the old Bill Hicks bit:

“You’re at a ballgame, you’re at a concert and someone’s really violent, aggressive and obnoxious. Are they drunk or are they smoking pot?”


“Wow. We all know the truth. I have never seen people on pot get in a fight because…it’s fucking impossible: ‘Hey buddy!’ … ‘What?’ … end of argument.”

Portugal’s got the right idea if you ask me, but the head of the British police contingent in Portugal sounds a bit miffed:

“English people should be adhering to the standards of law that we follow at home.

“From our perspective it would be quite an unusual sight to see two or three thousand England fans draped in their flags ‘whiffing a bit of blow’, or whatever we are calling it these days.”

Needless to say, that particular phrase seems to be entirely the good constable’s own invention, demonstrating once again that George W. Bush and Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf aren’t the only malaprop-prone public officials out there.

(Speaking of which, the latest Bushism I’ve seen comes from the text of his “we’re going to Mars” speech, where he calls NASA-employed astronauts “spacial entrepreneurs”, which is depressing in that it uses the right terminology to commend the wrong strategy.)


Not a bad strategy either, this pot-smoking. 35,000 England fans in Lisbon last night, losing against arch-rivals France, and only 4 arrests in the city after the game. However, scores of arrests as riots break out in Croydon, South London, Birmingham, and Yorkshire. Funnily it coincided with last orders at pubs! Shooorly shome mishtake?

Posted by: tom at June 14, 2004 07:25 PM

What, you mean this didn't work? Who woulda thunk it?

Posted by: shonk at June 14, 2004 09:43 PM

I think he's saying it did work, shonk.

Posted by: Andy Stedman at June 16, 2004 10:44 AM

I think he’s saying it did work, shonk.

Did you click the link?

Posted by: shonk at June 16, 2004 11:15 AM

Which one?

Posted by: Andy Stedman at June 16, 2004 01:35 PM

The one linked by the word "this" in my previous comment. Or, if you're lazy, this one.

Posted by: shonk at June 16, 2004 04:56 PM

Ah. The colors are so close on one of my computers, I didn't notice it was a link. They're not underlined in the comments, just in the blog entries.

Carry on.

Posted by: Andy Stedman at June 16, 2004 10:36 PM

They’re not underlined in the comments, just in the blog entries.

Yeah, that's a good point. I should probably change that.

Posted by: shonk at June 16, 2004 11:13 PM

Yeah, that’s a good point. I should probably change that.

Hmm...if I had been smart, I would have just changed it without commenting and then said "Watchu talkin' 'bout, foo'?"

Posted by: shonk at June 16, 2004 11:22 PM