Banning menthol cigarettes

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.

They now have:

It’s true that “youth initiation” is mentioned.

If and when this goes to the Supreme Court, the government will have to argue that they had a non-discriminatory motive, and youth initiation sounds moderately plausible… But the tobacco lobby will be able to use the government’s own 2021 words to show something else.

Is there a good argument, to be made to a Roberts court after it likely strikes down racial preference in college admissions, as to why it should allow this?

There’s a long list of antismoking/antivaping rules and ordinances that were heavily bitched about prior to implementation, with dire warnings about the consequences. This included establishing nonsmoking areas, banning smoking in V.A. hospitals and prisons and eliminating indoor smoking citywide. We were supposedly going to see major expansion of organized crime (bootlegging), riots and mass shutdowns of bars and restaurants.

Instead we’ve seen slow but steady declines in the percentage of Americans who smoke, without the horrific results opponents claimed would occur.

I doubt the disappearance of menthol tobacco flavoring is going to have any effect other than hastening the demise of smoking to a minor extent.

To reiterate a point that was made upthread; you can’t bootleg a product that doesn’t exist. If Big Tobacco is no longer making menthol, where’s the black market going to come from? You can’t exactly grow tobacco in your basement, and I can’t imagine the cartels are going to pivot from cocaine to off-brand Kools. Are dealers going to be lurking in alleys peddling bottles of essential oil?

I guess it’s too much to expect adults to have agency and not need a nanny state regulating and/or banning things in a very odd way. Banning menthol cigarettes is a very odd thing.

In all seriousness … why not?

Don’t tell me it’s the size of the plant; cannabis grows 6’ or taller, and every college kid has that shit growing in their closet.

Cartels sell whatever is in high demand. Avocados, for example, or olive oil. If they can make a good profit off menthol cigarettes, then you bet your ass some cartel or up-jumping gang is gonna muscle in on that money.

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does capitalism.

Why would you assume that two completely different kinds of plants are equally easy to cultivate?

Adults can exercise all the agency they want in adding menthol flavoring in some form to their own cigarettes, if they so choose.

Like so many conservatives whining about a so-called “nanny state”, you’re confusing corporate exploitation with individual choice. Just because you as an adult individual are entitled to put weird flavorings in your own cigarettes, if you like them, doesn’t mean that a cigarette manufacturer is automatically entitled to woo underage smokers with a mass-marketed candy-flavored product.

Never heard such nonsense in my life. Blacks are not the only menthol smokers and it’s absurd to think that. I’m white and for the 40 years I smoked, I smoked menthol. If menthol cigs are banned, someone will invent a cigarette holder/filter with menthol.

We did, at least in New York.

Which is good. I myself am a former smoker.

But is Big Tobacco going to be forbidden to make menthol cigarettes, or to sell menthol cigarettes? If they’re permitted to make them for the non-US market, there will be leakage and bootlegging. If they’re forbidden to manufacture them, foreign manufacturers will (illegally) fill the void. Counterfeit cigarettes are already a real problem.