Monday, September 28, 2009

Flavored Cigarettes: Good Riddance

I heard that flavored cigarettes (except menthol) are about to be banned on the basis that they are "starter" cigarettes aimed at kids. Back in my day, we didn't have flavored smokes to entice us into smoking. We usually started smoking by trying "rabbit tobacco", an abundant wild plant that provided no satisfaction of any kind. Too bad we didn't know about Jimson Weed back then.

All the men in my family smoked, mostly cigars. My father favored Pall Malls and my stepfather Lucky Strikes. Women did not smoke, although my grandmother dipped snuff. My grandfather rolled his own cigarettes with Prince Albert in a can. He did it one handed and made a perfect cigarette effortlessly. At my grandparents on Sundays, the men would smoke up the parlor, and I would run around with the other kids under the smoke cloud. All we could see were the men's legs and feet.

In high school, the only place on campus you could smoke was the "Smoke Hole", the space under the walkway by the gym, and most of the smokers were from the ranks of the unsavory classes. The ambience of the Smoke Hole did nothing to encourage smoking.

I always assumed I'd smoke some day, and I finally started on Marlboros when I was 21 and old enough to know better. My then girlfriend smoked and turned me to the dark side. I smoked for 20 years, up to two packs a day. I settled on filterless Camels after a few years. I quit ten years ago this month, although I still smoke in my dreams.

I could never abide flavored smokes. No matter how desperate I was for a cigarette, I would not smoke a menthol. I suspect that menthol smokers smoke them just to reduce instances of bumming. Clove cigarettes are unbearable even to be around, and clove cigarette smokers tended to be hippies in my experience. So the inability to buy falovered smokes will not inconvenience me one bit. This is a loss of freedom that I will not notice.

No comments: