Banning menthol cigarettes

At the end of the day, it is fundamentally incorrect for government to regulate tobacco as a drug, it is fundamentally incorrect for government to seek to ban tobacco, in whole or in part. People have an intrinsic right to grow plants and make use of the byproducts of those plants. People do not have an intrinsic right to manufacture and market anything and everything, so something intended for human consumption, that has intrinsic dangers, should be required to advertise those dangers so people can make an informed opinion. This applies to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine or any other drug you’d like to mention. This is the ultimate nanny state bullshit, and the fact the NAACP is on board doesn’t absolve it of being racially paternalistic. The NAACP is not the black men on the street or the black man going to his corner store. I have serious doubts that a significant portion of black menthol smokers have signed on with the NAACP or any other civil rights group in their efforts to ban menthols.

By the way, I don’t care about the “optics” of the menthol ban politically, I care about the actual effect–people buy menthols and enjoy them, and government has no valid interest in stopping people from enjoying them, period.

Two of your cites feature remarks from Delmonte Jefferson, a man whose background appears to be in healthcare administration, and who heads an organization named The Center for Black Health & Equity, which appears to do advocacy for health issues affecting the Black community, including smoking cessation. Apparently he’s very much in favor of a ban on menthol cigarettes, and has been for a while now.

Your third cite is a WaPo story, and it’s paywalled, so I haven’t read it.

I don’t know that your cites exactly prove that the Black community is behind this ban. Certainly it shows that one anti-smoking activist is, but I didn’t need a cite to prove that.

And I’m not persuaded. You haven’t changed my mind.

Look, smoking sucks. It’s an incredibly destructive habit. As I’ve said repeatedly in this thread, the case can be made for a total ban.

But this ban comes across as the government and the dominant culture saying to Black smokers that “unlike white smokers, you’re not capable of making up your own minds, so we’re going to take away your favorite brands for your own good. Trust us, we know what’s best for you.”

And as for targeting Black smokers with ads for menthol cigarettes, where does the Marlboro man fit into all this? Were white smokers not targeted by the cowboy imagery? What about women? All those Virginia Slims and Eve and Capri cigarettes? Should 100mm and 120mm and extra slim cigarettes be banned too? After all, they’re mostly smoked by, and entirely marketed to, women. Isn’t that predatory? Seems like they should be banned too.

My point being that we should ban tobacco, or we should not ban tobacco (and if we don’t, disincentivize smoking through tax hikes and other policies, to the extent it’s a workable strategy). But not selectively ban cigarettes based on who smokes them.

And, as I’ve asked repeatedly above, how would you (and everyone in favor of this ban) explain it to the Black smoker trying to buy a pack of his mentholated brand at the local smoke shop and being told, sorry, they’re banned now, and watching a white dude pick up a pack of Marlboros without any trouble?

is exactly what has NOT been available to the black community. Do you think the black man on the street was told by the cigarette companies, “We deliberately targeted black people because we think you’re more gullible and more susceptible to influence, so for thirty years or more we preyed upon your community to get you to buy a product that is more addictive and more enticing than what we push in white communities. Sure, you’ll get higher rates of cancer and heart disease, although we lie a lot about those risks, and because of systemic racism in health care, you’ll receive less and worse treatment so you’ll die younger, but we’re already out trolling the streets to get your kids hooked, so don’t worry about our bottom lines.” ?

All else being equal, people have a right to make their own decisions, but they need to be INFORMED decisions, and all else has not been equal here in a very very long time.

Yeah, so I have a couple of cites. How many cites have you shown that the black community is up in arms.

In absence of any others, my cites are enough.

It is not just that- it is that Big Tobacco has advertised much more in black communities.

He can buy marlboros, you know. This doesnt stop him from feeding his nicotine addiction. Nor did banning cloved cigs or cherry cigs or any other flavors stop people from smoking. They either quit (yay) or switched to a non-flavored.

Big Tobacco has preyed upon the black community long enough.

Just curious: did you read either one of my posts? I’m frustrated that people ignore the long fight by Black health advocacy groups and civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, and the National Medical Society, which represents Black physicians. These groups have long argued (see my previous posts upthread) that this is a social justice issue, have copious evidence that tobacco companies have targeted Black communities for years now, and have explained why menthol cigarettes are a particular problem… I don’t know why anyone would want to ignore their perspective or their efforts.

We’re not ignoring their perspective or their efforts. Obviously, they’re absolutely correct. But a ban on menthol by the government will likely just come across completely wrong. Try telling the Black community that we’re just doing it for their own good.

ETA: I dunno, maybe I could be persuaded. But I don’t think so.

No–but I think you’re making a mistake that the efforts of a lot of frankly, upper class, well heeled and well educated black people–who probably are not current smokers, is not actually very representative of the typical black smoker. There’s a lot of well educated, well heeled policy wonks who dream up things like taxes on sugary drinks to help the obese, I bet most of the people in these wonk shops are not obese. As someone who has been obese at a couple points in my life, let me assure you that just because some pointy-headed types were “looking out for my best interests”, does not mean I much cottoned to someone taking my Dr. Pepper away from me.

Menthols have been illegal in Massachusetts since last June. Is there any evidence that it’s “come across completely wrong” there?

So you think those organizations were wrong to press the government to ban menthol cigarettes?

Thanks for that link.

Wow. Well, I guess if you’re determined to believe that everybody who’s Black and who belongs to those civil rights organizations are upper-class “pointy-headed types,” nothing will dissuade you otherwise. I won’t even ask if you have cites showing that the membership of all of the organizations who’ve pushed for this ban for so long are wealthy elitists.

I’m done with this thread.

No, of course not, just not fully convinced it will persuade the intended audience. (Especially with knowing how many feel about getting vaccinated - they are extremely suspicious (long “disagreement” with my daughter’s fellow last week).) I suppose once it’s a done deal, menthol-smokers won’t have any recourse other than to buy menthol drops and add it back in. It’s not like it’s going to convince them not to smoke.

I wonder if there’s any evidence yet whether it’s affected the rate of smoking? Or too soon to know?

When I smoked, I didn’t much care whether it was plain (my overall preference) or menthol (my preference for a couple of years). Also, I never found that menthol made it smoother - quite the opposite, it made it harsher. I wonder if those people saying it makes it smoother have ever actually tried it.

Massachusetts banned all types flavored cigarettes at the same time which includes menthol. This is a totally different thing than banning just menthol.

?? To my knowledge, all other kinds of flavored cigarettes were banned by the feds a decade ago; menthol is the only cigarette “flavor” left (although flavored cigars and other tobacco products still exist).

Yes, I did.

I guess “bye” then. But yes, I am quite sure that your typical organization that has a history of being run by lawyers or people with advanced degrees is not a bastion of working class blue collar people. I grew up blue collar and low class, and I won’t pretend to have a special insight into everyone in a similar situation, but the “working man” on the street that I spent my formative years around liked their smokes and their beer to wind down after work, and would have been upset to see either fucked with by the government. I have a feeling things aren’t that different in the 2020s in that regard than they were in the 1970s.

When I started smoking in the early '60’s, Cameo menthol was my cigarette of choice with a “forged” note from my mother. Over the years, I graduated to non-menthol then finally managed to quit in 2007 after smoking for over 40 years.

IMHO, this ‘ban menthol’ move is to hopefully deter some kids from starting to smoke. Maybe it helps, maybe not, but to go all “anti democracy” over it is a bit over the top, IMHO.

I get what you’re saying, I really do. I just have a visceral reaction to selective enforcement, or legislation, and this seems to me to be that.

I could have written this.

And I actually could get behind a total ban on tobacco products. Or at least be open to being persuaded. So it’s not like I’m shilling for Big Tobacco or anything.

nellliebly’s response was directed at another poster, but it seems to be a general response to my position as well.

I haven’t said anything about civil rights organizations, nor do I believe that everyone who belongs to such organizations is a “pointy-headed type.” That’s a non-response to objects to this ban presented in this thread. And the poster has announced that she’s done with the thread, which I take as an admission that she doesn’t really have much of a response.

My position comes down to the question I’ve asked a couple of times in this thread, which is what will advocates of this ban say to the Black smoker trying to buy his favorite brand at the local bodega and being refused, while at the same time watching the white smoker buy his favorite brand?

Nobody is answering that question. And it’s a fair question.

Menthol cigarettes have already been banned in Canada, the UK, the European Union, Massachusetts, and Brazil (among others). What has been the response of menthol smokers in those locations?