Did Obama outlaw flavored tobacco?

Can anyone give me some clarification on this? I know there are a ton of hookah bars these days especially on the West coast. Does this mean they pretty much have to shut down business? How does this law come into play? I know I can read some stuff online but its seems like a lot of legal mumbo jumbo. I trust you dopers more than most online!!

I thought some “candy flavored” tobacco products will be outlawed per the FDA’s new rules…

I dont know exactly what “candy flavored” will cover, as both many candies and many tobacco products are based on assorted fruit flavors .

I would be shocked if apple or apricot pipe tobacco (for example) is no longer sold—there is a centuries old tradition of flavoring tobacco with various scents and flavors

The FDA banned flavored cigarettes, except menthol. The main target was clove cigarettes which were being smoked by a disproportionate amount of teenagers.

They didn’t ban flavored tobacco in general.

Are Djarums available in Canada?

As a small ‘l’ libertarian, I am not kidding when I say this is one of the scariest things the Obama administration has done and I am not a smoker (although he is). This isn’t Great Debates but I want to know what the factual justification for this is other than the fact that some teenagers like those types of cigarettes. Are they more dangerous?

I would have quit smoking about two years earlier if it weren’t for Rum/Vanilla/Chocolate Mint flavoured Prime Times.

Luckily, they ran into some quality control issues (or just stopped moving off the shelves as the novelty wore off) and all the flavours began to taste more or less exactly like ass.

Cecil devoted an entire column to that subject a few years back—you ought to check it out, as the conclusion was (as I recall, its been several years since reading it) clove cigarettes ARE significantly worse that a standard cigarette is…
Clove cigs have been illegal here in Utah since the late 1980’s and I think there are other states that have banned them as well—I guess we were ahead of our time.

Here’s the SD column about clove cigarettes.


Did Obama outlaw flavored cigarettes?

No. The FDA did. The president has zero say in what the FDA does, or what congress does, or what the federal reserve does, or what any other non-executive branch organization does. He can’t even deploy the military for more than 90 days. Why do people blame everything on the loud figurehead whose only real significant power is to say “no” to congressional bills by vetoing them instead of signing them? He can appoint people, with approval, generally, but has no say in what those people subsequently do. Most times, he can’t even fire them after appointing them.

Was Obama responsible for the change or is this something the FDA would have done or was planning to do anyway?

The FDA isn’t part of the executive branch?

That is false. Well, mostly false.

The enabling legislation for certain executive-branch agencies, including the FDA, establishes their independence and protects them from political interference by the White House.

The vast majority of the federal executive bureaucracy, however, is under the direct command the President and is obligated to follow his orders. The presidential appointees that are subordinate to the President include 15 cabinet secretaries, a couple hundred subcabinet officers, the heads of dozens of government agencies, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Unified Combatant Commanders dozens of inferior military appointments, senior State Department officials, ambassadors and consuls, and so on.

All in all, there are about a thousand jobs that require a Presidential appointment and Senate approval. There are thousands more that require an appointment only. The vast majority of those appointees can be dismissed for cause.

It’s the FDA that did this.

FDA is under the executive branch, yes, but the president has little influence upon what it does. It falls under the Department of Health, which is also executive branch. Would you say that the president has any say on what the Department of Health does, other than appointing, with approval, the head honchos? Cabinet heads for the Department of Health have to be approved by congress, and most can only be fired with congress’ approval. (I believe there’s some law or other about gross negligence or some such that allows a criminal to be removed from the post immediately, but IANAL.) After the appointment of individuals to run the departments, the president has very little say in what happens. To put a fine point on it, the president has no influence in the day-to-day decision making of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health, Department of Education, etc.

My comment on “any other non-executive branch” was supposed to be clarification of the federal reserve. I do apologize for not being clear. Basically, the president, after appointing his (or her for the future) cabinet officials, hands off power to them. He then has NO SAY in what they do. He can yell at the Secretary of State all he wants, but he can’t fire her without congress’ approval. She can make whatever decisions for the State Department she wants. He can request, he can beg, but he cannot make the decisions. He can’t say “we are going to make UHC happen through the Department of Health.” It just doesn’t work that way. It takes an act of congress to define the various departments’ duties and privileges. The president is a speech-maker, a figurehead (this isn’t bad), a rallying point, and a face to relate to. He’s just not very powerful, legally, despite what everyone thinks. Yes there are positions that are appointed without approval, but they can’t generally make national policy.

Indeed so. To blame it on Obama somehow is a bullshit, bush league move that should deeply embarrass those who would do so.

It’s been a long saga regarding how the FDA finally got the authority to regulate tobacco sales. It goes back to, I believe, the 1980s and involved literally hundreds of people and millions of dollars. The recent bill that finally granted permissions was sponsored by Ted Kennedy and Henry Waxman along with others. If Obama signed it that hardly makes him out there plotting against smokers.

This is also just foolish. A Schedule C Presidential Appointment with Congressional Approval is an odd duck, it’s true, but they serve at the will of the President. If the Director of the FDA pees on Obama’s shoes or something his parking space will be painted over in 20 minutes. The same goes for all cabinet level officers. Certain ones, such as the head of the Fed or the FBI have additional protections.

To say that that President does not control policy or set the agenda for the executive branch is to deeply misunderstand the nature of American governance. In many cases the President may appoint and allow independence, certainly, but it is he who allows it. He has the ability to control or set policy for anyone under his chain of command if he chooses.

Hmmm. I could have sworn the FDA operated under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics act of 1938, and a whole bunch of amendments and other laws that limited, expanded, and controlled what the FDA could do. The president can’t unilaterally make the FDA do anything, despite it being under the executive branch. The president has authority over MOST of the executive branch, but not those portions that make enforceable rules. Those powers are granted by laws like the aforementioned Food, Drug, and Cosmetics act, not by the president, and the president can’t change the facts of the matter. He can’t have something banned. He can’t have it investigated. He can’t even force a rule in place that makes people wash their hands. The FDA, despite being executive branch, is not under the fist of the president.

I’m not disputing that most of the executive branch is answerable to the president. I’m just saying the FDA isn’t under his thumb. He can’t use it to make anything legal or illegal. He can’t force it to do anything outside the rules congress has roped around it. The same goes for several other departments, like the Department of Education. The president can’t unilaterally decide tomorrow that there will be new rules requiring all 5th graders study orange frogs and have it go through. He can’t force the Department of Agriculture to suddenly subsidize pink grapefruit on just his say so, or stop subsidizing soybeans or corn. There are extreme limits to his power over “his” departments, and to the power of “his” departments themselves.

It’s actually the Department of Health and Human Services.

Yes, I would, because he does. In particular, the President has significant control over the discretionary budgets that belong to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. You may recall the controversy that ensued when the previous administration ordered that federal research grants not be used for stem cell research. The President has operational control over the Centers for Disease Control and can declare public health emergencies, issue quarantine orders, and direct that agency to implement public health policy. The US Public Health Service contains a corps of commissioned officers that report directly to the Secretary of HHS and the President.

No, they have to be approves by the Senate.

Cabinet officers may be impeached by the House of Representatives under Article II § 4 of the Constitution. In practice it almost never happens because an officer will resign or be fired before articles of impeachment are passed.

That is incorrect.

That is also incorrect.

What are you talking about here? The Federal Reserve, or the cabinet? It’s true that the Fed is largely independent of Executive tinkering and Federal Reserve appointees can not be fired by the President. That is absolutely untrue of cabinet officers. They serve at the pleasure of the President, are bound to follow his (lawful) orders, and can be dismissed for any reason, at the sole discretion of the President, without the consent of the Senate.


Yes, he can. The Secretary of State is bound to follow the President’s lawful orders. She can be dismissed if she refuses. This does not require Senate or Congressional approval. You are stating the same demonstrably false fact over and over again.


False. The President is both the head of state and the head of the government. (A rather unusual situation in democracies, FWIW.) He is the chief of the executive branch and, except where Congress or tradition has decided otherwise, has operational control over the entire executive branch apparatus.

Depends what you mean by “national policy.”

I consider myself corrected, then. The pres can indeed order the FDA to ban something or whatever, and the laws are apparently useless in this case. In that case, why is he allowing congress to monkey everything up instead of just issuing orders to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding health care?