This Washington Post op‐ed from career Nanny Statists Joe Califano and Louis Sullivan reads like your standard public health talking points: Unless adult‐oriented products taste nasty, bitter, and disgusting, the companies who manufacture them will forever be accused of “marketing to children.”
Here’s my favorite part:
Buoyed by its success in pushing candy‐flavored cigarettes, Reynolds has now introduced alcohol‐flavored smokes. To make them appealing to our kids, Reynolds has marketed them with names based on gambling lingo as well: ScrewDriver Slots, BlackJack Gin, Snake Eyes Scotch and Back Alley Blend (a bourbon‐flavored cigarette).
Color me befuddled. So R.J. Reynolds is guilty of preying on kids because it’s marketing cigarettes (which can only be purchased by people over 18) that taste like alcohol (which can only be purchased by people over 21) with gambling‐themed names (only people over 18–and 21, in some states–are permitted to gamble)?
Everything about these products is adult‐oriented! Yet for Califano and Sullivan, this is evidence that R.J. Reynolds is targeting youngsters.