SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ’EM!
As most stoners know, the main reason why you buy a flavored cigar such as a Swisher or Backwood is to gut the insides and throw your cannabis flower in there. This has many names but it is most commonly known as a “blunt.” If you have ever seen Donald Glover’s show, Atlanta, you might remember the several parody ads from episode seven including the one about Swisher Sweets.
According to a study done in 2020, 34% of cannabis consumers smoke blunts. African-Americans make up 64% of those smokers. A ban of such could disproportionately affect communities of color.
ARE BANS EFFECTIVE?
Opponents to this bill believe a ban like this would not even work. States like California have already adopted legislation to ban flavored tobacco but have seen major spikes in illegal imports of flavored tobacco products. According to a study by Mackinac Center for Public Policy in cooperation with the Tax Foundation of Washington, D.C., 48% of the California market is consuming illegal tobacco.
Furthermore, a lot of people are pointing at Canada’s attempt to ban menthol tobacco. According to a 2020 study, “…menthol bans significantly increased non-menthol cigarette smoking among youths, resulting in no overall net change in youth smoking rates. We also document evidence of evasion: provincial menthol bans shifted smokers’ cigarette purchases away from grocery stores and gas stations to First Nations reserves (Tribal Land) (where the menthol bans do not bind).”
Some states are trying to implement high tobacco taxes to curb use but as a result have created large illicit markets.
UNITY IN BLUNTS
Groups from both the right and left agree that banning flavored tobacco could not be the best move.
“A menthol cigarette ban would disproportionately affect communities of color, resulting in criminalization and more incarceration. We can avoid this approach,” the ACLU tweeted.
Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, told reporter Marc Gunther, “It will give law enforcement another excuse to harass, surveil, and police people of color,” “This will have tremendous racial disparities.”
Flavored tobacco has long been a target of the FDA. A 2018 promise to ban flavored tobacco was thwarted by the tobacco industry and its allies, but a recent lawsuit from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council demanding a menthol and flavored cigar ban has prompted another look by the FDA
Tobacco is currently the leading cause in “preventable deaths” in the US. The FDA believes that taking menthol and flavored tobacco off shelves will deter teens from smoking and reduce the number of Black Americans dying from tobacco.
“Banning menthol — the last allowable flavor — in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement Thursday.
“With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” Woodcock added.
WEED COMMUNITY IS SPLIT
The cannabis community has always supported individual freedoms but consumers are torn on whether or not flavored tobacco should be outlawed.
The proposed regulations are drawing comparisons to the War on Drugs. The language that was used to criminalize cannabis in the 1930’s is being used today on flavored tobacco.
Celebrity cannabis users, such as Wiz Khalifa, are against using tobacco with weed and prefer rolling papers instead.
On the other hand, Former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, appeared in a viral video saying “I smoke my stogie anywhere I want! I don’t have to find a hideout place like you!”
What do you think about the US trying to ban flavored tobacco?
Also, if you are a fan of Swishers and Backwoods but do not know how to roll them, check out my how to videos below: