What the FDA Ban on Swishers and Backwoods Means for Stoners

What the FDA Ban on Swishers and Backwoods Means for Stoners

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration, commonly known as the FDA issued a press release with full intent to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes. The ban also includes other kid-friendly tobacco products such as flavored cigars and cigarillos. The cannabis community is split regarding the decision. Here’s what we know.

Evaluating the FDA ban

On April 29th, the FDA dished out a press release titled “FDA Commits to Evidence-Based Actions Aimed at Saving Lives and Preventing Future Generations of Smokers.” At first, the press release did not receive much attention because the FDA is usually dull and uneventful. However, for three days, the press release has gained a slew of traction and publicity. According to the press release, banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars is necessary. Alison Hunt of the FDA believes.

“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. 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.”

“Together, these actions represent powerful, science-based approaches that will have an extraordinary public health impact. Armed with strong scientific evidence, and with full support from the Administration, we believe these actions will launch us on a trajectory toward ending tobacco-related disease and death in the US” (source: FDA.)

Brands affected by the FDA ban

Naturally, most if not all tobacco brands in smoke shops and gas stations will be affected. This includes cigarette brands such as Marlboro, Newport, Kool, Redman, Copenhagen, and plenty more. Spliff smokers will also be affected by the ban. Expect these cannabis-friendly tobacco brands to alter their shelf space as well:

  • Swisher Sweet
  • Black ‘n Mild
  • Backwood
  • Good times
  • Optimo
  • City Life

And plenty more recognizable ‘blunt’ brands. 

Why is the FDA doing this?

The Food and Drug Administration makes it abundantly clear that they are taking these steps to “save lives.” Mitch Zeller, JD, the Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, stated:

“For far too long, certain populations, including African Americans, have been targeted and disproportionately impacted by tobacco use. Despite the tremendous progress we’ve made in getting people to stop smoking over the past 55 years, that progress hasn’t been experienced by everyone equally. These flavor standards would reduce cigarette and cigar initiation and use, reduce health disparities, and promote health equity by addressing a significant and disparate source of harm. Taken together, these policies will help save lives and improve the public health of our country as we confront the leading cause of preventable disease and death.” (source: FDA.)

Cannabis community’s response to the FDA ban

The millions of adults who consume cannabis daily in the US have voiced their support and their opposition to the FDA’s ban. Those who support the ban believe that the ordinance will help demote experimentation among youth thanks to a lack of variety (i.e., flavor). This populace of supporters cites the mass 2009 tobacco ban, which the FDA also spearheaded… The 2009 ban outlawed ‘flavored’ cigarettes and terms such as ‘light,’ ‘ultra-light,’ and other archaic smoking terms. Since then, tobacco usage among the youth has drastically decreased.

Conversely, there is a populace that believes these types of bans only grow curiosity about flavored products. This group of dissenters believes it is a slippery slope and call to perfection fallacy reeking of the failed DARE program. The group also cites the increased use of flavored e-cigarettes a la Juul. Young adults never stopped smoking/experimenting with tobacco; They just smoked more cannabis and slightly fewer Juul pods.

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