TAAT Lifestyle & Wellness (TAAT.C) launched their new Beyond Nicotine initiative to get onboard with the United States’ new offensive against cigarettes, according to a press release.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published a story that the Biden administration’s thinking about further regulations for tobacco companies that would require them to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to levels where they’re no longer addictive.
“This announcement from the Biden administration alters the landscape in which we operate as smokers 21 plus in the United States will no longer be thinking of nicotine as just something they might be considering leaving behind, but rather something they would soon have no choice but to reduce their intake of at a bare minimum,” said Setti Coscarella, TAAT chief executive officer.
Nominally, the company has developed TAAT, a tobacco-free, nicotine-free alternative to cigarettes, offered in original, smooth and menthol varieties. Their base material is called Beyond Tobacco, which is refined using a proprietary technique to taste and smell like tobacco.
At first glance that seems like a great idea. Nobody likes nicotine. It performs no function except to get people addicted. The TAAT product and company behind it are serving an unforeseen trend, and that’s cool, but there are wider considerations here.
Where does it stop?
In the interests of full disclosure: I’m a non-smoker. I’m also a Gen-Xer, which means that I grew up in an age where smoking with your kids in the car wasn’t considered an offense worthy of the gulag. I may or may not have had a 3-pack a day second-hand smoke problem at one point. Some of the changes that have come across courtesy of greater regulations—like that whole smoking with kids in your car is child abuse thing—I actually agree with.
But let me clear up some of the cognitive dissonance going on here: I am totally down with personal choice. As long as what you’re doing isn’t infringing on anyone else’s right to choose, you should be allowed to do it. This includes smoking. If you want to quit smoking, which is clearly the better choice for everyone involved, then help should be available. If you want to pollute your lungs with poisonous substances, or even worse, would like to stop but can’t, then you shouldn’t be punished for it either legally or financially – as in taxes. We’ve been there for decades financially, and one gets the idea that it’s a matter of time legally.
Does anyone remember Denis Leary’s ‘No Cure for Cancer’ standup special from 1993?
One of his most famous bits involves the government coming for your cigarettes. It’s beginning to look at a little prescient as time moves on.
Here’s the whole bit.
It’s Denis Leary. He swears a lot. He’s also hilarious. I’m surprised he hasn’t been cancelled yet. This is about as close to a content warning as you’re going to see from me. Consequently, he’s also fought with quitting smoking since this came out.
And that’s the great tragedy of the utilitarian Nanny State from where I’m sitting. The majority making decisions that nerf the edges of modern life to suit themselves, and in so doing, eliminate the prospect of personal choice for the rest of us. It should be obvious that I’m not just talking about cigarettes now. Today, they’re limiting the amount of nicotine and if this issue continues apace, it won’t be long before it’s illegal to light a cigarette in your own home. After that, it’s no longer about smoking but about regulations on private behaviour.
Granted, there’s the powerful tobacco lobby to contend with so this entire issue may be moot when Phillip Morris and Altria start funding some powerful Republican bloc to beat the life out of this bill in the Senate.
“Smokers aged 21 plus now have the opportunity to try and perhaps switch to TAAT and experience the difference that can be had by forgetting about nicotine and keeping the sensations they enjoy. We therefore expect Beyond Nicotine to be an important element of our brand in 2021 as the U.S. tobacco industry prepares to potentially take on an unprecedented shift, which we hope to be able to capitalize upon by providing smokers aged 21 plus a better and nicotine-free choice,” said Coscarella.
You have to admit, though, companies like TAAT—which just applied to list on the NASDAQ—look fairly decent as alternatives in this whole bid to get the public to quit smoking. The choice of launch the Beyond Nicotine gives them a chance to get in early on the reduced nicotine to nicotine-free regulatory requirement, getting not only some visibility for their compliance but also posing themselves as an alternative to high-nicotine cigarettes and vapes.
TAAT is up $0.38 and closed out the week at $3.63 and thank you for coming to my rant.