A congressional caucus is currently debating a bill that would outlaw flavored cigarettes, arguing that they appeal too much to kids. However, the bill exempts the most prevalent flavored cigarette of all: Menthol.
Menthol cigarettes make up nearly 30% of cigarette sales. Blacks account for roughly 75% of menthol smokers. Blacks in congress are split over the exemption.
The measure finds a great deal of support in the House of Representatives, but some don't approve of the exemption, calling it a sell-out to tobacco companies. The proposal currently has the support of Philip Morris, the manufacturer of the second biggest mentol cigarette, Marlboro Menthol. Frankly, if you're going to try to neuter cigarette companies, I agree. It IS a sell out. If you drop the exemption, Philip Morris will likely back out, and the bill will likely fail.
Baby steps, nannies. Baby steps.
Of course, I might argue that this is a ridiculous piece of regulation to begin with. Is it possible that teenage smoking will drop if flavored cigarettes are banned? Maybe...But, in my experience as a smoker with a bunch of friends who did or do smoke, what a kid smokes has everything to do with what their parents smoke. If their parents don't smoke, it has everything to do with what their friends smoke (and their friends are smoking what their parents smoke). The only kids I knew who smoked flavored cigarettes were the weird hippie kids who smoked clove cigarettes (I knew 2), which barely even count, and mentol smokers (who wouldn't be affected by this legislation).
I'd reckon that banning flavored cigarettes will have an immeasurable effect on the number of kids who start smoking each year, a number that has been steadily decreasing for some time now, anyway.
This is just another step toward banning the manufacture of cigarettes altogether. Once flavored ones go, menthol will be next, then "full-flavor", then lights, then ultra-lights...Until we're stuck with nothing but paper.
Goddamn, I'm really tired of the government trying to force me to be healthy. Maybe I don't wanna be!