Durned if Ya Do…

Okay, I admit I don’t always purchase enough organic roll-your-own tobacco to satisfy my daily consumption rates for the month.

I have a choice – I can either go to the convenience store located 4 blocks from my home and contribute to the livelihood of my neighbors who are under-employed there, or I can burn an extra 2 gallons of fuel  to drive to the mom and pop store I support, every 4-6 weeks, 20 miles away (40+ miles, round-trip).

(trying to be a good citizen regarding fossil fuel consumption, local spending, organic purchases, healthier choices, supporting small business and help thy neighbor all at the same time results in marathon pondering sessions for me…)

I went to the Loaf-n-Jug this afternoon.

To get cigs.

Because I smoke more when reading about proposed Federal legislation…

This store used to carry American Spirit menthol cigarettes.

(warning! you have to enter a suitable date of birth in order to visit this site, and tell them if you’re a smoker or not…their good-faith attempt to comply with Federal Regulations…)

For about  a year, however, they did not have any in stock during my occasional forays.

So I end up purchasing the brand I smoked before I knew better….

Which violates every previously listed principal, except my desire to support my neighbor’s livelihood and gas consumption goals.

(I also occasionally use my debit card for a $6.59 purchase, just to give those who dislike me fodder to sell to National Enquirer. “Look at her in Loaf-n-Jug, in her pj’s, no make-up and using, gasp, a debit card….”)

Today, after making my purchase, I’m informed by the clerk they do have American Spirit.   Great!

I patiently wait to exchange the cigs I just purchased for ones I really prefer, while the one clerk takes care of the customer traffic that used to be cared for by 2 clerks.  (company’s way of keeping the CEO and stockholders in beach houses, I guess….)

So after waiting for about 10 minutes, and indicating to the clerk I would like the ‘green ones, please’ imagine my surprise when he shakes his head at my outstretched hand holding the now unwanted purchase for exchange and informs me, apologetically,

“It’s against Federal Law to exchange tobacco products.”

(Apparently, even those which never left his view and are still cellophane wrapped and intact).

I almost killed myself rushing home to find out if this was true, and if so, When The Heck Did That Happen?


Various discussions and sites informing us of the 2009  Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act headed the search engine list.

I never did find anything prohibiting retailers from exchanging purchased tobacco goods, other than regulation banning the “exchange of proof’s of purchase or coupons for non-tobacco products.”  (Which means, you can’t save your box tops for cool t-shirts or ashtrays anymore)

I did learn, however, that the FDA has decided advertisements must be in Black and White (Now I know why the generic brand of cereal is in a colored box now…it was afraid of being mistaken as a pack of cigarettes.)

I also learned Kentucky (big surprise there!) is fighting a battle against the FDA, citing 1st Amendment violations.

Interestingly, this battle centers around the Black and White Advertisement regulation, rather than around the prohibition regarding use of the words “low”, “mild” or “light” in tobacco products’ name without first asking permission of God, via the FDA.


I will share with you another interesting tidbit.  My other favorite company for tobacco purchases is Nat Sherman.  Nearly 2 years ago, I started seeing little ‘notifiers’ printed on the separation sheaf that used to tell me about the history of the company.

I’ll paraphrase for you:

“Due to regulation changes, we are now required to label our Mint cigarettes as Menthol, in order not to lure children into using our product.   We are not changing a single thing about the contents or production of the cigarette you have come to enjoy, but we must comply with those who keep our children safe or else face big  fines if we do not.”

In other words, the FDA has them in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t catch-22.

If they comply with keeping children safe, they are in turn, guilty of false advertisement.

Hmmm…..which fine/penalty is lower?  Which regulation is most rigorously enforced?

I have my answer – I regularly view numerous examples of false advertisement in 2.6 seconds of commercial TV or internet surfing.

Glad to get that off my chest…


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