Opinion: In Defense of Blunts.

Last week the government made my life a little worse. The FDA announced that they are banning flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes in an attempt to save lives.

To this, I call bullshit.

The FDA cites a CDC study that claims that “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S.” The CDC claims that one in five Americans died of tobacco use, citing that more than 480,000 people annually die because of smoking.

However, the CDC’s reading of this data on “preventable death” is scientifically inaccurate, being that their interpretation of the scientific data is rooted in the status quo. This CDC report fails to elaborate on why 480,000 people die annually of tobacco use. How many of those 480,000 people would still be alive if they had health insurance? How many more people in general would be alive if they trusted the American healthcare system?

If a 20 year smoker dies of lung cancer, how can you blame that death entirely on tobacco and not on the fact that nearly ⅓ of Americans don’t go to the doctors annually because of cost? If a 20 year smoker dies of lung cancer, why didn’t they catch the lung cancer earlier and prevent the “preventable death?” 

How can you claim that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death after COVID-19 killed 568,000+ Americans? Indonesia, a country with just 40 million less people than America only experienced 45,000 COVID-19 deaths. Were America’s excess 500,000 COVID-19 deaths not preventable? According to Public Citizen “about one-third of (American) COVID-19 deaths and 40% of infections were tied to a lack of insurance.”  

The FDA touts that banning flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes will “address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals.” As of 2018, the uninsured rate among African Americans was 9.7%, while it was just 5.4% among white people. Universal healthcare sure would address that health disparity experienced by people of color more than banning grape Games from my corner store. 

A 2017 study titled Health Care Disparities Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth showed that “health care providers may lack adequate training on the specific needs and challenges faced by this community. This lack of training can perpetuate prejudice and discrimination, resulting in suboptimal medical care and an increased incidence of diseases and their risk factors.” 

My point is, the number one cause of preventable death in America is not smoking, it’s America’s broken healthcare system. Smoking is not the demon it once was, everyone knows that smoking is bad and smokers do not care. Even if you are attempting to curb smoking tobacco, banning flavored cigars is not going to reduce tobacco use.

I smoke flavored cigars, more specifically, I smoke big fat blunts. I like to purchase a Dutch brand Irish Fusion flavored cigar, split it right down the middle, and dump all of the tobacco out; then I fill it with marijuana and I smoke it. One study shows that “nearly half of young adult cigar users report that they are using cigars to create blunts.” 

I smoke flavored cigars as blunts, I am not addicted to tobacco, and banning flavored cigars only means that I’m going to have to switch to unflavored cigars. 

Banning flavored cigars is not a solution to the healthcare crisis.

I smoke weed because weed is cheaper than therapy. It’s much easier to get high than deal with the enumerable stress of attempting to get medical assistance in America. 

Like 32 million other Americans, I am uninsured. A ban on the things I enjoy is not what is best for my health and I resent the notion that it is. I would love to see a therapist, I would love to go to physical therapy to have my knees fixed, and maybe I would smoke less flavored cigars if my mental health issues were properly addressed

The decision to ban flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes is a classist one that does not consider the lifestyles of average Americans. It is a farce of a decision made by a class of millionaires and billionaires who think they know better. The FDA would never ban Vicodin, Adderall, or any of the drugs the elite cherish. 

Please explain to me how flavored blunts are worse than McDonald’s, fossil fuels, AR-15’s or any of the other unhealthy habits of American life. It sounds good to ban flavored cigars, it sounds right, it even sounds smart, but it’s not. It’s the decision that a corrupt government, dictated by algorithms, lobbying money, and senile aristocrats makes.  

I know that flavored cigars are bad for me , the same way I know pizza isn’t good for me and the same way I know whisky isn’t good for me – and I do not care. Who would want to live long in a country with no future anyway? Life in America isn’t worth cherishing – I’d rather smoke blunts.

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