Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cigarette Ban Bill Exempts Menthol

In a bill that George W. Bush has vowed to veto, Congress gives the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate tobacco products and would attempt to reduce teenage smoking by banning most flavored cigarettes, like clove, mocha, and cinnamon. But menthol cigarettes are exempt from the ban, the ONLY flavor that is exempt from the ban.

An article in The New York Times asks the question, "why would menthol cigarettes be exempt from the ban?" It is the most widely used flavor and is the cigarette of choice for most Blacks in America who smoke. And get this: Black men die from lung cancer at a rate 50 percent higher than white men.

According to the article, menthol cigarettes are "politically off limits" because their sales make up twenty-five percent of the $70 billion cigarette industry in the US. In addition, Philip Morris USA, the industry leader, which is lobbying in support for the legislation, has come to rely on the sale of menthol cigarettes in the Black community and they will not support the bill with a ban on menthol. Since Congress wants to the FDA to get a foothold into the tobacco industry, they would rather leave menthol alone rather than risk the bill's passing.

The controversy over menthol stems from the fact that close to seventy-five percent of all Black smokers use menthol brands... you know them well: Kool, Salem, and Newport billboards litter the landscape of every Black community in the US! If you've never seen a billboard or a bus stop advertisement for any of these brands, then you've never been in a Black community.

Only twenty-five percent of white smokers use menthol cigarettes.

In 1998, the C.D.C. released a report that suggested that menthol "may increase the absorption of harmful smoking constituents." But subsequent studies have proven to be inconclusive about those claims. Some even suggest that the use of menthol cigarettes makes them more addictive and more difficult to quit... once again, there are no studies to support that contention.

Read the 1998 CDC Report on cigarettes in the Black community here.

Read the New York Times article about menthol cigarettes here.

plez sez: everyone who is surprised by this article, raise your hands!

once again, the Black community gets the opportunity to be pillaged and ravaged for corporate profits. a known carcinogen that has more adverse effects on the Black community is permitted to be marketed and sold within the Black community. if strawberry-flavored cigarettes are so dangerous and need regulation, then why are menthol-flavored cigarettes nebulous just because they are the nicotine-delivery method of choice in the Black community? is there no concern that Black children will continue to get hooked on these things while every other community in the nation is free from a similar temptation?

my father smoked socially - when with other men were smoking or when he was driving long distances. he grew up a sharecropper's son, harvesting tobacco in those dingy north carolina fields of his youth. no doubt, he adopted the habit at an early age. my siblings and i were discouraged from smoking cigarettes, drinking liquor (i obviously missed that lecture), and taking dope! i know plenty of people who adopted the nasty habit of smoking at an early age, including my oldest brother who died of cancer four years ago.

damn those Kools and Newport Menthol 100's!


LLR said...

More nanny state BS and yeah I am a smoker. I am getting so sick and tired of politicians using kids as an excuse to push their nanny state BS.

Walter Williams wrote a great article about this not too long ago. They started out by banning smoking on planes and look where we are today. Does it ever stop? Little by little we see our liberties being taken away from us.

The thing is that some non-smokers might not have a problem with bills like this because they don’t smoke or might hate smoking…But what about when they come after something that you enjoy like trans fats? Oh yeah too late Bloomberg and his friends have already taken care of that in NYC.

This bill should be vetoed and while people talk about tobacco lobby and “big tobacco” they forget that they exist because people like/love their products.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]once again, the Black community gets the opportunity to be pillaged and ravaged for corporate profits. [/quote]

Brother - if I said - "Everyday certain members of the Black community look past the impact that their DECISIONS TO SMOKE have on their health and voluntarily hand their money over for a product that they choose to purchase"

Which statement is more PERSONALLY EMPOWERING?

plez... said...


i appreciate your "constructive feedback"... and i do not altogether disagree with you! the source of my venom is that by congress's and the smoking lobby's own admission, this legislation's attempt to deter underage smoking provides an exemption for underage Black smokers!

i have no idea what would compel someone to take up the habit (which is growing more expensive with the taxes levied on cigarettes) and i don't think this legislation will do much to deter underage americans from picking up the habit, but i don't like the message that is sent: regardless of the legislation's impact, it is okay to market and sell a known carcinogen that may appeal to underage Blacks.

whether this is an attack on civil liberties (LLR) or is anathema to personal responsibility (CF) is something i'm sure our high court would love to decide!

msladydeborah said...

When Newports were introduced into the market~the brand was was directed towards white people. (Yes, I am that mature enough to remember)

While smoking cigarettes is a by choice matter~there is also the fact that Kools and Ports and the favorites among black menthol smokers. It would not surprise me at all if the actual chemical make up of those brands were designed to addict black people.

The high death rates among black males also has the health care link involved. Black cancer patients are not always given the full treatment that would save lives. It seems that the providers of health care have some serious race issues to handle in terms of black patients.

Anonymous said...

Smoking cigarettes is really an expensive habit. The average price per pack of cigarettes, for example, is just about one dollar; people who smoke two packs of cigarettes a day therefore spend $2 per day on their habit. At the end of one year these smokers incur a huge debt.