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Myron Levin is editor of FairWarning.

6 comments to “Battling Menthol Restrictions, R.J. Reynolds Reaches Out to Sharpton, Other Black Leaders”

  1. car insurance quotes

    The Minneapolis activist said it about right. “How can the tobacco industry care about criminalization when they don’t even care about killing you?

  2. Betsy Brock

    Thank you for highlighting this modern day example of an old tobacco industry tactic. The tobacco industry has a long history of co-opting community leaders and organizations through financial donations and sponsorship. In doing so, the tobacco industry is able to buy silence and use the good will directed at others (here it was Al Sharpton) to the tobacco industry advantage. Shame on these community leaders for taking money from and working for a company that is responsible for so much death, disease, and suffering.

  3. Bill Godshall

    I’m pleased Reynolds is trying to reduce violence in black communities, most of which was/is caused by the enactment and selective enforcement of drug prohibition laws
    (just like the sharp increase in violence caused by alcohol prohibition).

    Banning menthol cigarettes won’t reduce cigarette smoking, but it would create black markets for lower priced untaxed (and totally unregulated) cigarettes. In many Black communities, drug gangs would likely fight for control of the illegal menthol cigarette market, which would likely cause even more violence.

    Banning menthol cigarettes would also sharply reduce cigarette tax revenue and State MSA payments, which would reduce funding for the SCHIP, and reduce funding for many other government health and healthcare programs (including programs whose goals included reducing cigarette smoking).

    The best thing Reynolds (and public health officials) can do to improve the health of inner city Blacks is by informing them that vaping is far less harmful than smoking cigarettes, and by urging Black smokers to switch to vaping.

    Unfortunately, Obama’s DHHS and Big Pharma funded abstinence-only tobacco controllers have been protecting cigarette markets by campaigning to ban the sale of lifesaving vapor products and by lying about vaping. Obama’s FDA unlawfully banned lifesaving vapor products in 2009, and then doubled down by banning them again (via the FDA Deeming Regulation, which bans their sales on August 8, 2018 unless rejected by the courts, repealed by Congress, or rescinded by Trump appointees at DHHS).

  4. Michael N Hindin

    Dear Reverand Sharpton, The average pack a day smoker devotes an hour of his or her take home pay per day to tobacco addiction. That is a form of slavery! The tobacco companies have always been enthusiastic about addicting, sickening and killing people of color for profit, starting with children. Tobacco companies are led by fine southern gentleman who profit from exploiting people of color (going back many generations). Any defense of keeping menthol in tobacco is for selling more tobacco. Any suggestion that they are defending civil rights is a ruse. Please do not accept tobacco companies for anything other than evil peddlers exploiting children and people of color. Sincerely, Michael N Hindin MPH, St Louis Park, Minnesota.

  5. Jeanne Weigum

    The Minneapolis activist said it about right. “How can the tobacco industry care about criminalization when they don’t even care about killing you?’’

    The tobacco industry has been spending money for decades to create beautiful lies to hide the ugly truth. Those lies are spread by community leaders who should be ashamed of themselves for selling out and selling death to those who believe and trust them.

    Thanks for shedding light on this tobacco industry stunt.

  6. Douglas Baldwin

    I was once a smoker, but I never took to menthol and would normally be prejudiced to think that no one smokes menthol. The fun fact that Newport is the number two cigarette brand at the center of important unscrupulous manipulations over menthol additives is fascinating as yet another descriptive fact of how my ability to perceive the realities and concerns of this endlessly diverse world is limited by many varieties of bias and limited imagination. Thanks to Fair Warning, I am constantly reminded that so much bs is going on in so many places I am just too dull to even begin to imagine it. Indeed, thanks to Fair Warning, I no longer get alarmed by all that is going on that seems so wrong, Instead I am comforted to know that endlessly unimaginable but predictable and reliable bs is apparently one of the four physical forces binding the atoms of our world together, one way for me to know that the world isn’t coming to an end, but still spins implacably in space.

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