Down the Road Less Traveled

Fred Brown
Well, now, the FDA has issued its final rules for tobacco,
which, of course, includes the pipe smokers among us. Taking a cue from one of the presidential candidates, who will go unnamed in an attempt to remain politically correct, the Pundit will now issue his own rules:

Rule One: It took the FDA several years to amass its regulations and stack the deck against pipe smokers. In the meantime, big tobacco firms have found avenues around some of the restrictions and have tried to shift some of the cost of bringing new products to market off to pipe tobacco. Therefore, the Pundit’s First Rule is that we will pay no attention to FDA rules. The Pundit has his own agenda, and it doesn’t coincide with the FDA agenda.

And, besides, this won’t be the final set of rules! You gotta remember the Golden Rule in politics and Bureaucracyland is, those who have the gold write the rules. Thus, the Golden Rule.

Rule Two: The FDA required such a long time to derive simple rules for the vape smokers (electronic cigarettes) that by the time the rules arrived at vape shops, Vapeheads were already mixing their own juice concoctions in back rooms. Oh, and try to stop China from mixing whatever solution for vape juice, and selling it at cut rates. Therefore, since the Pundit doesn’t confuse hookahs with traditional pipe forms, he isn’t the least bit interested in Vape shops. Or any other toxic chemical. The Pundit smokes pipe tobacco in beautifully-made pipes. End of story.

Rule Three: Coming down hard on Vapeheads takes the pressure away from pipe smokers and will more than likely drive younger smokers, namely children, from the vape shops back to cigarettes.

And the only draconian part of the regs the Pundit can find is that pipe tobacco has been lopped in with the phrase "all tobacco products." That gives the FDA much wiggle room in the future. Therefore, the Pundit will not regard "all tobacco products," to mean pipe tobacco, and will continue with his own pursuits of pipe pleasure. In the "continuum."

Rule Four is the Pundit Rule: No more FDA rules apply.

The Pundit would like to offer some other areas of concern, if as a society we must have big government overlooking our daily lives for our own protection.

There are more deaths by overuse of painkilling drugs than deaths from car accidents now. The FDA needs to crack down on the crackheads, instead of cracking the heads of peaceful pipe smokers.

It makes little sense to put all the FDA’s arrows in the tobacco quiver when there are so many dangerous food products out there to be investigated.

For instance, the FDA needs to focus on genetically-modified food products, which are engineered in the lab to change the plant’s DNA.

The Pundit is perfectly satisfied with his own DNA and doesn’t want some re-engineered plant to meddle with his innards.

Or, what about big government failing an entire community, such as Flint, Mich., allowing the water supply to become more toxic with lead than car paint. Yeah, that’s oversight!

As we can see, the Pipe Pundit has little faith in the oversight of big government, just as he also mistrusts big pharma, big medical, and other big elephants in the room, such as big tobacco.

There are many other issues that big government should address today, and leave the lowly tobacco plant to the farmer, the manufacturer and sunshine. For too long, states have raked off major money off the backs of the tobacco farmer and the lowly plant.

Let’s look at wages, shall we? Most economists contend that the American worker has been stiffed in the wage department going on three decades now. The worker has been made to believe that if he will just hang in there, things will get better, that wages will rise in the future.

In the meantime, there was a housing bubble that burst, the economy dang near committed suicide and the Great Recession is not over and won’t be until it’s over, as Yogi Berra might put it.

Life hasn’t gotten better for the average worker and it won’t get better until people tire of being BSed.

So, what has all this to do with pipe tobacco? Glad you asked.

If wages are low, not only is the pipe smoker less likely to purchase new pipes and more tobacco, but he or she is less likely to buy any goods and services that can’t be squeezed into a tight home budget.

This trickledown effect hurts the worker, of course, and also the manufacturer, the car maker, the home builder, the pipe carver, the tobacco blender and all the little accessorizing crafts people in between.

It’s Econ 101, Stupid. If there are fewer dollars in the piggybank, then you will spend less, no matter how much the vendor slashes prices.

Keep in mind, here, the Pundit is talking about the common man, and not the One Percent that we hear so much about. The One Percent, seemingly, has all the money they can choke on now, but there is one important fact that is basically overlooked in all this. I refer you to Dr. Willie Nelson: "There are more old drunks than there are old docs," which was his answer in song when told he had to stop with the wild side of life.

There are more common folk than the One Percenters. Granted we may not have the same deep pockets, which is precisely the point: The One Percenters tend to grapple their revenue to their bank accounts with hoops of steel.

The common folk tend to spend, and keep the economy rolling nicely along.

As for the FDA, the agency has lost sight of its overall mission, which is to protect the food supply and to keep legal drug manufacturers honest and has now overreached into the world of social engineering.

This also brings up the Pundit’s Rule Five:

As a private citizen of this nation, if you enjoy pipe smoking and don’t abuse the privilege, and are not hurting others, or disobeying state and national laws, then that is your business if you want to puff on your pipes and tobacco.

Therefore, the Pundit fully intends to continue smoking his pipes and tobacco, no matter if the Pundit is "deemed" a tobacco hazard.

Pipe smokers are the mind workers of the world, as the Pundit has professed before.

Then, let us go forward in a mindful way, and let the FDA head down that road less traveled by a union of unconcerned pipe smokers.

Give us Pipes and Tobacco, or give us, uh, ah, never mind.




Fred Brown
is a journalist who lives in Knoxville, TN. He will write this column for monthly. He can be contacted at


9 Responses

  • Well said. I tend not to worry in advance as it’s a waste of valuable smoking time.

  • If I were on the board of scientific counselors for the FDA (no chance in the world) I would point out that we should be mindful not to create new crimes where little harm is done to anyone. Onerous rules will make companies restrict the pipe tobacco supply, raise prices, increase taxes, and and drive the whole market underground. Do you really want to turn grandpa and random undergraduates into black marketeers and connections? Let’s not invent infractions and criminality from innocuous old rituals and simple pleasures. Next perhaps we will criminalize dancing the polka because it inflames arthritis, or Italian red sauce because it causes acid reflux, which is certainly a health hazard. These might be well-meaning regulations, but they are outlandishly intrusive and conspicuously stupid. Think. Think.

  • We’ll see how the FDA regulations hold up when they start reducing the revenue stream to the state governments and they in turn look to the federal government for help. States like Illinois and California aren’t all that far from financial collapse as it is. Reduction in any of the revenue streams and they’re in default. In the end the money will prevail, FDA or no FDA.

  • From the FDA website, the problem is “biological products”.
    I wonder why it was originally created and if this was a shift/change. The only thing that I can find is they launched a “Critical Path Initiative” in 2004.
    What We Do
    FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
    FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to maintain and improve their health. FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.
    Finally, FDA plays a significant role in the Nation’s counterterrorism capability. FDA fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats.

  • I do want to point out that, in Flint,it was not a failure of big government. Flint had been turned over to an appointed Emergency Manager (appointed by the governor), whose sole mandate was to cut costs. It was privatization run amok.

  • A great article sir!
    One thing often overlooked is the fact that most federal agencies are used by politicians from both parties as bludgeons to pound campaign funds from all industries. They threaten specific industries advising them that such and such law or regulation will be enacted if they do not support which ever candidate or Political Action Committee can use his or her influence to stop
    I have been scribbling about politic for years. In that time the more research I did, the more disgusted I became with both parties. The government is run by and exclusive club of Blue Bloods who use our government regulations to keep old money coffers full and outside usurpers, Jacobite’s, and common serfs out of the the Establishment clique.
    They truly see themselves as an unacknowledged form of royalty. The pundits who attend these self serving Dukes and Duchesses feed off the scraps they profit from thus ignore reporting the real graft and corruption by our political royalty. The less the commoners know, the better off they will be.
    There is now a slow burning fuse that is getting shorter and shorter to its ultimate explosive conclusion. The Royal Establishment views this as a threat that they fear will result in a French Revolution type of uprising with them to be dragged kicking and screaming away into the dark night. That is why these federal agencies are being armed. They do not trust the military and thus as a protective measure have armed same said federal agencies turning them into a sort of palace guard of which I feel will only be loyal to them until they see which way the wind is blowing.
    As an avid pipe smoker, I am just puffing away waiting for it to begin and as for the FDA…
    They can chew on my hot ashes as I blow East India Trading Company’s Officer’s Club in their face.