A little-noticed deadline is fast approaching -- the last day when Texas merchants can legally sell cigarettes that are not "fire-safe." For you tobacco addicts, that means cigarettes that taste like they're supposed to.
The Texas Department of Insurance (for some reason) is sending out reminders -- as of January 1, only fire-safe cigs (known as "FSCs") can be sold. "Any manufacturer, wholesaler/distributor, or retailer who knowingly sells or offers for sale non-FSC cigarettes may be subject to a fine of up to $100 per pack," the department says.
FSCs have rings spaced throughout the cigarette, and your cancer stick will go out if you haven't puffed on it for five minutes or so. The idea is to reduce fires left by unattended cigarettes.
Trouble is, smokers have been complaining about the taste of FSCs.
"It's nasty," said Jewell Robertson of Paducah, Ky. Or as [Josh] Hubbard put it, they "taste like crap."
Umm, so they taste like regular cigarettes? We've never smoked but have metaphorically licked an ashtray or two in our time.
Since we don't smoke, we're agnostic on this -- we leave it up to you nicotine addicts to tell us whether this is the worst instance of Big Brotherism since they took all the trans fats out of that semi-healthy food.
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