NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – According to cancer researchers, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death. The debate is over how much the government should control tobacco use.
The Food and Drug Administration is getting pressured to further regulate tobacco products. The American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology requested the FDA begin regulating premium cigars.
“Just more bureaucratic posturing and trying to get people to smile in the right direction,” said smoker Simon Thompson of Northampton.
“The defense of it is if you’re going to have state-funded healthcare and things like that then that’s going to put a burden on everyone, so I don’t know,” Adam Bozek of Northampton told 22News.
The cancer organizations want the FDA to include a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Many anti-tobacco agencies fear that flavors like menthol and cherry crush are urging young people to start smoking.
E-cigarettes are said to have emerged as a way for cigarette smokers to slowly stop smoking, or continue the practice without getting harmful smoke in their lungs.
For many, regulation is a bigger issue: They don’t think the government should control what they smoke.
“The federal government and the state government should never have any say in any sort of intake to a personal body ever, whatsoever,” said Thompson.
From a business stance, one gas station owner welcomes regulation.
“Every town make a different law, you know, I have two gas stations in different two towns and they both have different laws. This town I can send a single cigar for $2.50 and the other town, I cannot sell it there,” said Atif Tasneem, co-owner of the RaceMart on Easthampton Road in Northampton.
He hopes federal regulations will mean the same rules in each city and state. The City of Northampton recently banned smoking in city parks and banned some stores from selling tobacco products, but not all cities have done that.
Cancer organizations said tobacco companies market cigars to young adults. They hope the FDA can stop that practice.