Banning menthol cigarettes

It would be, if I’d suggested that. But I didn’t. I did suggest that flavored tobaccos were a niche product not really all that comparable to cigarettes. Flavored cigarettes aren’t really much of a thing. Except for menthols.

They do. So why target one set of consumers? Why target Black smokers?

If we’re going to ban the cigarettes preferred by Black smokers, without banning the smokes preferred by white smokers, it seems grotesquely unfair. And paternalistic. And racist.

You are suggesting “I can’t have my favorite thing” is the same as “I can’t have the thing AT ALL?” That’s not even an argument, it’s what my kid says when she can’t have her favorite cookies.

As a former smoker I can tell you this: people pick up the habit because they think it looks cool, and they stay on it because of the drug that’s in it. The drug is all they need. If you take the menthols away, smokers will absolutely switch to an unflavored brand. They’ll bitch about it for a few days, or the rest of their life, but their drug cravings will be satisfied. Or, they’ll quit over it (but probably not).

And taking that away, is not the proper role of government, even more so when it’s mixed with pernicious racial paternalism.

Then what’s the point of the menthol ban?

Nobody’s demonstrated in this thread even once that racial paternalism is involved. People are speculating so they can get mad and self-righteous about the thing they speculated. Stop making stuff up.

How do you think the hypothetical Black man described by Martin_Hyde will perceive the ban?

Do you think he’ll be grateful to the government for banning his favorite smokes? Or do you think he’ll perceive it as racist?

Here are the points you continually make me repeat. I’ll repeat them again now.

  1. Menthol is a flavor.
  2. Flavors are added to cigarettes to make them more enticing.
  3. The state has declared an interest in preventing manufacturers from making a dangerous drug more enticing.
  4. The fact that smokers do not universally prefer menthol doesn’t mean that menthol isn’t added enticement for some other users.
  5. Tobacco is a delivery system for a drug called nicotine, and smokers can still obtain that fix regardless of whether their preferred flavor is on offer.

His hypothetical man’s preferences are totally negated and destroyed my hypothetical men on first and third, who both say they’d happily settle for another brand, and that Martin Hyde is speculating well afield of his area of familiarity. I can call more hypothetical witnesses if those aren’t good enough for you.

Sorry, none of that adds up to justification for a ban on one kind of cigarettes, but not others.

Argue for a total ban on cigarettes. I might even be with you on that. I think the case can be made.

But banning the preferred smokes of Black smokers is, well, it’s not going to go over well. Again I ask, how do you think the hypothetical Black smoker described by Martin_Hyde would react to that?

Smoking sucks. It’s bad. But a law that deprives mostly Black smokers of their favorite brand while not affecting most white smokers seems to be to be unjust.

Just like NYC’s law prohiting smoking (all smoking) in public housing.

Again, I’ve consulted with a number of hypothetical black men, and they all say they’re fine with it.

That’s just avoiding the question, since there is a 100% probability that the scenario described by Martin_Hyde will happen if this ban comes to pass.

Seems to me like you realize that this would be a problem and are therefore determined to just wave it away.

This is a very interesting discussion. A fairly simple prospect of banning menthol cigarettes is made complex by the injection of race. It can be argued that the banning of cigarettes smoked by blacks is racist. Conversely it can be reasonably argued that allowing cigarettes smoked primarily by blacks (while banning others) is racist.

It’s a discussion that has to be had but there’s no easy answer.
Humans are hard.

No, I realize that anyone can make a hypothetical man say anything they’d like to say, so it’s an arguing tactic that doesn’t merit any serious response.

If you want to know what a real smoker experiences when a brand is discontinued, I can tell you my experience. I smoked Tareytons for a while. That was my go-to brand. Then the stores stopped stocking them. I was miffed, and then I switched to Marlboros. I never gave it another thought, because the real and only point of smoking is using a drug, and I still had hundreds of brands of the drug to choose from.

I went on and off with menthols because my dad smoked them. As a new smoker, the smoothness of menthols seemed to cut the harshness enough to make it more approachable, and that’s probably what helped me get hooked. When I got accustomed to the harshness, I ditched the menthol because tobacco tastes like garbage, and flavored garbage is somehow more offensive than regular garbage.

Believe me, I get it, having smoked for more than thirty years. That said, Marlboros are a lot closer to Taretons than they are to Newports. And I’m pretty sure you know that.

But I still think this targeted ban on smoking is unjust. And I still think to dismiss the reaction of Black smokers as unimportant and not a concern, as you are doing, is, well, not a good approach.

It does matter how a law or regulation will be percieved. It’s important.

Likewise I find it a very distasteful approach to imagine a certain racial group is going to take specific offense at something, and then to get offended on their behalf, without actually having consulted anyone beyond the hypothetical realm.

And to repeat, again… people have suggested in this thread that the ban is targeted for the benefit (or detriment of) black people. But I don’t think anyone supporting the policy has actually suggested that this is the case. As Martin Hyde said above, this just seems like the tail end of getting rid of flavor additives in cigarettes (however you feel about that). But there’s not sufficient evidence to state that this is a ban targeted at making black people specifically smoke more or less or whatever.

I suspect that the reason menthol cigarettes were not banned in the first place along with clove cigarettes and all the rest has less to do with the Black community and more to do with the evil tobacco lobby. Where are menthol cigarettes manufactured? The United States, unlike clove cigarettes and hookah tobacco.


Tobacco companies have waged aggressive lobbying campaigns against proposed menthol bans on the state and local level. Reynolds American ran a TV ad accusing California lawmakers of “giving special treatment to the rich, while singling out communities of color” with their proposed menthol ban. The industry spent $20 million opposing the bill and successfully delayed its implementation by petitioning for a public referendum on the issue.

Heh, I once dated a woman who switched to Kools when she had a cold, for the benefits she perceived.

Maybe neither, and I’m not necessarily concerned about inner mental states.

In terms of behavior, this — if the government does it, which I doubt. — will increase the black male vote for DJT in 2024 (assuming Donald runs again).

If it’s going to save lives, I can’t be against it. But I think the health benefits of such a ban are speculative,

Gradually increasing tobacco taxes would more likely have a health benefit.

Here in NYC, the massive increase in cigarette taxes has done two things:

First, I’ve read that it has caused a decrease in smoking, which is, of course, a good thing.

Second, it’s created a huge bootleg market in cigarettes. Back when I smoked, I had a guy. He’d actually deliver to your office, if you worked in midtown. He sold by the carton, no single packs, but plenty of bodegas and convenience stores have bootleg suppliers, and will sell you a pack for seven or eight dollars, rather than the official price (with tax) of $14, or whatever it’s up to now.