Katie Kieffer

If young people have casual sex, they’re rock stars, as long as they use condoms. If they casually smoke cigarettes, they’re borderline criminals. According to the FDA, that is.

The FDA takes a hypocritical and overly invasive stance on two adult products: Condoms and cigarettes. The FDA’s inconsistent and excessive regulation of these adult products hurts free enterprise and represents an inappropriate extension of government in our daily lives.

This month, The Associated Press reported that condom maker Graphic Armor Inc. is releasing the first line of FDA-compliant condoms with full-color advertising graphics directly on the latex. The graphics will include images of Kiss rock stars Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

Even pop star Ke$ha, who just closed a deal with LifeStyles Condoms to get her face on the packaging of 10,000 latexes to throw out to her fans at concerts, knows that condoms aren’t foolproof. Her condom disclaimer is: "If it breaks, you have to name your daughter or son after me."

Besides the fact that condoms can break, reliance on condoms could encourage a sense of rock star invincibility and potentially lead to unhealthy behavior in young people. Naïve adolescents could get the wrong message from Graphic Armor’s marketing. But, an uptick in teen pregnancy doesn’t seem to worry the FDA.

FDA butts out reason

In the Indian village of Jaav, Hindu villagers color themselves in dye and smoke cigarettes to celebrate the end of winter. In America, the FDA appears convinced that smokers are just one step away from being criminals.

Accordingly, the FDA has released 36 new warning labels (it will narrow them down to nine by June 22, 2011) for cigarette packaging that will be mandatory in October 2012. On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed a landmark legislation called the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) that gives the FDA unprecedented authority to bypass Congress and regulate the tobacco industry’s marketing, advertising and even product content.

The warning labels are designed such that they will cover about 50 percent of each cigarette pack’s surface area. So, retailers will struggle to sell the products because the individual cigarette brands will be covered by the FDA’s scare ads, infers The New York Times.

Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is the author of a new book published by Random House, LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope.” She writes a weekly column for Townhall.com. She also runs KatieKieffer.com.