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Myron Levin is editor of FairWarning.

8 comments to “Racial Politics Flavor Debate Over Banning Menthol Cigarettes”

  1. S. Ari Bendavid

    The US Govt. Needs to get out of the business of interfering with citizens private lives. If I want to smoke a menthol cigarette I will smoke one. No need for the overbearing government in Washington to tell us all what is good for us. I have spent a lifetime ignoring their intrusion. The only laws I abide by are not doing harm to others, stealing, and other such things. I have smoked menthols among other things besides tobacco. And I don’t give a damn.

  2. Uncle Gary

    Perfect example. There was a report that air pollution was responsible for 200,000 American deaths.
    Were some percentage of those deaths also reported as deaths from smoking cigarettes? Is it possible to attribute a cause of death to one factor?
    Another problem is criminalizing cigarette smoking. I have received three tickets for smoking a cigarette in public from the Santa Monica Cops. (BTW, I’m a 63 year old white guy).
    None of the tickets were received in an area posted non-smoking. One was when I was standing 10 feet down wind from a bus stop. The cop said it didn’t have to be posted.
    I have $3,700 in fines overdue, because the fine is $250, but you can’t plead not guilty unless you post a $1,250 bond. I do not understand why this is permitted in America.
    Anti-smoking laws are prone to inexcusable and abusive enforcement at all levels.

  3. Uncle Gary

    On a more technical note, I’ve always questioned how deaths from non-tobacco caused lung cancer is accounted for.
    Data always appears to be presented as all lung cancer deaths are from smoking tobacco. There must be implied technical adjustments made, but they are not presented with the data crunch.
    How many non-tobacco lung cancer deaths occur every year in the U.S.? Are the rates higher in the black population than other ethnic groups?
    A couple of impoverished communities in L.A. (Compton and Industry) have recently been in the news because of their high levels of industrial toxins. Does the high rate of toxins in the environment of poor communities enhance the effects of cigarette smoking on lung cancer in those communities?
    I’m not suggesting there is not a causal connection between lung cancer and cigarettes, simply wondering if the numbers are exaggerated because multiple causative agents of lung cancer cannot be accurately accounted for.
    Oh yeah. I’ve smoked two packs a day for decades, so I may be biased. I am also seriously annoyed that prospective HUD regulations on smoking will effectively exclude me from public housing. These types of regulations are frequently tyranically enforced by public housing nannies.

  4. Uncle Gary

    A whole lotta brothers on The Row aren’t all that worried about future possibilities that are gonna kill us in ten or fifteen years.
    I’m just sayin:


  5. Uncle Gary

    Yeah right. Menthol cigarettes are a way bigger problem than mass incarceration or homicide by cop. What we need is another legal excuse to stigmatize and criminalize black Americans. After all, prohibition has been an extremely beneficial policy for alcohol and drugs. Right?

  6. Bill Godshall

    There is no evidence that banning the sale of menthol cigarettes would benefit public health.

    But a menthol cigarette ban would:
    – create a huge black market for untaxed and unregulated menthol cigarettes,
    – reduce cigarette tax revenue, and funds for SCHIP and smoking cessation programs,
    – demonize and stigmatize black menthol smokers as criminals.

    From 2004-2009, CTFK, ACS, AHA, ALA lobbied Congress to enact the Philip Morris sponsored TCA by deceitfully claiming it was necessary to protect children from candy flavored cigarettes (which accounted for 99.9% of all nicotine vapor products currently on the market.

  7. Jeanne Weigum

    Menthol lures youth, all youth but particularly LGBT and African American youth, to tobacco. It is unacceptable. There is substantial evidence that menthol makes tobacco use easier to start and harder to stop, thus contributing to health disparities.

    The Chicago ordinance that imposes restrictions on menthol sales near schools is proving difficult, perhaps impossible, to enforce so other alternatives should be considered. Minneapolis’ ordinance limiting the sale of flavored tobacco products (excluding menthol) to adult only establishments goes into effect in January, 2016 and Saint Paul is considering a similar ordinance. Both cities will look at placing the same sales restrictions on menthol flavored products in the near future. In Saint Paul the number of stores allowed to sell these ‘adult only’ products will be 16 adult only stores, down from the 262 that now sell them. This seems like a legally defensible way to regulate Menthol sales and is worth consideration in other communities.

    Jeanne Weigum is a tobacco control advocate living in Saint Paul, Minnesota

  8. Christine Schutzman

    Wonderful article! I will definitely be sharing this. Would you please provide the names of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus that accepted money, or a link to where to find that information easily? It would be greatly appresciated!!

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