My Christmas Tree Might Be Illegal

The FDA released new rules for cigarette advertising. These things go so far that I swear, the next thing they will target will be my Christmas tree.

These restrictions are draconian – all in the name of the children.

1) No Sector Sixes. No manufacturer can use the name of a non-tobacco product in a tobacco product name, unless both products existed and shared the name prior to 1995.

2) No freedom to buy less than 20 cigarettes. This is kind of the like Pennsylvania’s beer laws. Bureaucrats want us to drink less, so we have to buy beer by the case at a distributer unless we buy it at a bar. FDA doesn’t want people smoking as much, so it’s only possible to buy cigarettes 20 or more at a time.

3) You may still buy cigarettes through mail-order, but you can’t use coupons or get any samples. (Damn coupon clipping kids!) Vending machines are now outlawed unless the premises bans kids at all times.

4) Free samples of cigarettes – even in a room full of adults – is banned. For smokeless tobacco, it’s severely limited and only about half an ounce per person per day provided that means they do it in a temporary facility surrounded by opaque material at least 7 feet high (and no more than one foot off the ground) where children and alcohol are banned and does not mention anything about tobacco on the outside. I guess that means they will have to start logging names if they hand out samples. Oh, and no samples to sports teams or entertainment groups. And none of these highly restricted non-advertising temporary structures may be set up at a football, basketball, baseball, soccer, or hockey event or any other sporting or entertainment event.

5) Any attempts to advertise outside of pre-defined limits (“in newspapers; in magazines; in periodicals or other publications [whether periodic or limited distribution]; on billboards, posters, and placards; in nonpoint-of sale promotional material [including direct mail]; in point-of-sale promotional material; and in audio or video formats delivered at a point-of sale”) must be be filed with the FDA at least 30 days in advance. Creativity and social media – damn you & your crazy innovation!

6) Declaring a war on color: all labeling or advertising for cigarettes or smokeless tobacco shall use only black text on a white background. Exceptions including the limited places where vending machines are allowed and porn magazines.

7) Declaring a war on music and sound effects: No audio advertisement can have anything other than a voice reading words. No video can have anything other than black text on white background and any associated audio cannot include music or sounds other than words.

8) Declaring a third theater of war on names, logos, and recognizable colors on non-tobacco products: No more hats, shirts, or products without tobacco can be released with the name of a brand, logo, motto, or even “recognizable color” of a brand.

9) Customer rewards are off the table. I remember people who used to clip the Marlboro Miles for random gifts – kind of like you credit card rewards. No more rewarding customer loyalty!

10) No more sponsorships of anything. Technically, the rule only says no sponsorships of any athletic, musical, artistic, or other social or cultural event, or any entry or team in any event. I know that UST has sponsored more than a few things in the gun/hunting world. Does these events qualify as athletic, social, or cultural? Well, we just lost a sponsor. Damn. They were good to our community for a long time. Technically, these companies can still sponsor, but only if they don’t tell anyone who they are or what they produce – which kind of takes the impact out of sponsorship.

So as you can see, it’s not completely a joke that my ornaments probably send the bureaucrats at the FDA into a tizzy. I just have to hope that the next round of rules doesn’t force me to keep the curtains closed while our tree is on display.

5 thoughts on “My Christmas Tree Might Be Illegal”

  1. They want the money from tobacco but don’t want people to use it. Can not have it both ways. They can not stop people from smoking pot. So they can’t stop people from smoking cigarettes either. It will just go underground.

  2. Oh my. No doubt these will soon be applied to “junk” food.

    One rather jumped out at me:
    “2) No freedom to buy less than 20 cigarettes.”
    This is the law here in RI, quite strictly enforced. And a friend of mine, who rolls his own, always grumbles that the tobacconists have to open the tins and remove the manufacturer-packed papers because they are taxed seperately.

    I’m pretty sure #4, no freebies, is also law here.

    But then, the shampoo I like is “prescription only” here – so I drive the four miles (into, believe it or not, Mass) and buy over the counter.

  3. What politician in the current climate could possibly receive anything other than misery and woe for trying to roll back anti-smoking laws? Oh, just imagine the ads their opponents would run against them…

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