Today I heard (for the first time – where have I been?!) that the act Obama signed into law, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, will ban flavored cigarettes. This law gives the FDA power to regulate tobacco products, and one of the measures in the regulation process is to ban fruit-, candy- and spice-flavored cigarettes. This, of course, includes clove cigarettes. The ban takes effect today.

Although I have conflicted feelings about the ban, I am primarily a little sad. I smoked steadily from age 14 until about 27. Since then, I have had occasional periods of backsliding, but I have never smoked as consistently as I did when I was, say, in my early 20s.

But cloves – ahhh. Cloves were always something of a special treat for me. Even now, they’re the very rare exception to Donna’s personal ban on my smoking – she has said, on more than one occasion, that smoking is a dealbreaker for her, although she allows the very occasional clove during a camping trip.

I have always said they taste like Christmas: the spice sticks to my lips, and I can taste it for awhile after extinguishing. The crackle of the paper as they burn is appealing, too.

I’m not even sure who told me about cloves. Was it Eric Goedkoop, my first boyfriend who had his own apartment? Maybe. Or was it Teddy Hines, who I dated briefly one summer? Or was it one of my girlfriends – I can remember smoking cloves with Krissy and Annie, but I don’t know how we found them.

Ah, well. All good things come to an end. So long, my old friends: