I went to the liquor store the other day to pick up a bottle of Jameson for a friend of mine, and in my search for Irish whiskey (I eventually figured out that all the Jameson whiskeys were actually kept behind the counter) I got a glimpse of what has become of the alcohol industry. I don’t drink much at all anymore, since I discovered the pure, unadulterated awesomeness of kava bars, so I haven’t really paid attention to the directions that have been taken in liquor and beer marketing of late. It made me wonder… “Why is vodka in no danger of being banned by the FDA, with flavors like Cotton Candy, Buttered Popcorn, Key Lime Pie, Whipped Cream, Rainbow Sorbet, Cupcake, Regular Cake, Glazed Doughnut, Maple Bacon, Blueberry Pancake, Icy Mint, Passionfruit, Coconut, Ginger Anise, Pumpkin Pie,… the list goes on and on and on and on and on and… you get the picture.
Now, let’s go over a few E-juice flavors… Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Key Lime Pie, Whipped Cream, Rainbow Sherbet, Vanilla Cupcake, Red Velvet Cake, Glazed Doughnut, Bacon, Blueberry Pancake, Blue Frost, Passionfruit, Coconut, Anise, Pumpkin Spice… the list goes on and on and on… you get the picture. No, I’m not repeating myself and I didn’t cut and paste the liquor list to the E-liquid list. There is actually NO difference between the amount of flavors available for liquor (particularly vodka) and the flavors available for E-juice. In fact, the manufacturers of both products more than likely order their flavors from the same pool of companies.
So, the FDA is going to extreme lengths to ban or severely regulate E-cigarettes because the flavors are obviously meant to appeal to children in order to get them addicted to smoking tobacco, but these flavored vodkas are just variety meant for adult consumption only. One of these drugs will impair your judgement, ruin your life, destroy your body- inside and out, kill people in horrific motor vehicle collisions, cause divorces, deplete bank accounts, and cause unintentional/unwanted sexual experiences. The other drug (by itself) is not actually harmful, does not destroy your body, ruin your life, or kill others in car accidents… it does, however, help reduce approach avoidance behavior, increases cognitive abilities, … read the article I wrote about it for more. So, in typical government, bass ackwards-fashion , the all-powerful Food and Drug Administration has decided that the life-destroying drug that kills innocent people on our highways by splattering their frail bodies across a hundred yards of pavement, should be protected and its marketing approach should remain undisturbed. But God forbid that E-liquid companies that have figured out a way to provide the almost completely safe drug, nicotine, should be prohibited from using the same exact marketing approach because… I don’t know, because nicotine is actually the fallen archangel Lucifer incarnate and is lurking behind every corner to suck your lungs out of your chest through a straw while cutting your children in half and skinning your dog, cackling evilly at a fingernails-on-chalkboard pitch. Where exactly is there any semblance of logic in this situation, FDA? What methodology and deductive-reasoning guidelines did you use to arrive at such a dim-witted decision? And who wrote the pay-off check that you accepted on condition that you bury the E-cigarette industry?
It baffles me that the proponents of this thinking claim that these types of flavors are designed to attract children, and win them over to a dangerous, unhealthy lifestyle. True, there’s a lot of kids out there who love cotton candy… but they love cotton candy, because they love eating cotton candy, not because they found something with a flavor that sparks nostalgia over festivals, county fairs, etc. kids also love to ride in fast sports cars, so maybe we should regulate and ban fast cars because they are designed to appeal to our youth and coax them into a life-threatening lifestyle. Some teenager somewhere probably likes pumpkin pie during the holidays. But damn near ever true American adult in this great nation of ours also lover pumpkin pie, so who are these flavors appealing to again? Since when did good flavors become necessarily associated with children, so much so that adults are completely excluded from considerations of tastiness in consumables?
Now, let’s not forget about TV advertising… According to liquor commercials on TV, if you drink, you’ll get to join an awesome crew of bad-ass pirates and hang out with half-naked sluts all day. Or, you could fall off a boat and battle a leviathan to get your barrel of whiskey back… then hang out with half-naked sluts all day. Or you could just chill out in your home watching football and, of course, hang out with half-naked sluts all day. Now, our youngest children are exposed to Jake and the Neverland Pirates from birth through their toddler years. A little older and they start to fantasize about living the exciting life of Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. This summer the blockbuster movie Pacific Rim is romanticising the epic battles against sea monsters, just like the ones that John Jameson fights to get his booze back. So how, exactly, are we supposed to assume that the liquor ad campaigns are not going to attract the interest of young people? And the FDA expects us to believe that they’re looking out for our children, keeping them away from enticements towards dangerous addictions? If you actually buy this bullsh*t, I got a pretty red bridge in San Francisco to sell you.
Let’s be honest here for a second. Obviously there are some kids out there that see a Caramel Apple E-juice and suddenly want it. But psychologically speaking, if you were to hand them an e-cigarette with Caramel Apple juice and an actual caramel apple… which one do you think they would pick (assuming, of course, that this child likes caramel apples)? There is a big difference here regarding the mechanism of desire in human beings of different ages. This is important to keep in mind when you tackle this issue of “flavored e-cigarettes that lure kids into heroine-level addictions.”
What really bugs me about all this is that the FDA (and all of those government agencies, departments, administrations, etc.) can implement laws that affect the lives of millions without a democratic process in place. When was the last time you voted on fire-retardant chemical coating requirements for wooden structures in a publicly accessible business (a little situation I recently ran into where I work)? Oh, you’ve never voted for legal requirements and regulations? Funny… I thought this was a democracy. I thought we were supposed to be able to vote on the laws that govern us. Nope… not in this free country. Here we are subject to the whims and corruptions of 3-letter agencies… and the FDA, in this case, is thinking about pulling the rug out from under the growing, economy-boosting, life-saving E-cigarette industry. All we have at our disposal is a voice, which can get really loud and impossible to ignore if we work on it. If we scream loud enough from the proverbial mountaintops that the FDA is trying to kill us by forcing us to return to the deadly habit of tobacco smoking, eventually they’ll give up on banning E-cigs, simply to improve their public image.