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Congressional Black Caucus Members Try to Ban Menthol Cigarettes

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Uh-oh. They're trying to take our minty-fresh menthols away. Not kool.

The Congressional Black Caucus is calling for changes to a House tobacco-regulation bill, demanding that the legislation place restrictions on menthol cigarettes, the type heavily favored by African-American smokers.

The 43-member caucus is taking aim at a provision in the bill that would ban candy-, fruit- and spice-flavored cigarettes but that specifically exempts menthol. In recent weeks the exemption has become the focus of controversy because menthol brands are heavily used by black smokers, who develop a large share of smoking-related cancers and other health risks. [New York Times]

The menthol prohibitionists' argument is simple: if black people are more likely to smoke menthol + black people are more likely to get lung cancer = menthol increases lung cancer risk. Of course, it's possible that black folks are just more susceptible to lung cancer for some horrible reason, but I guess the Congressional Black Caucus thinks the quickest way to find that out is to ban Newports™ and see if black people live longer. I disagree. I think the best way is to check whether the 25% of black smokers who don't smoke menthol have the same lung cancer rates as those who do.

Either way, banning menthol cigarettes is drug prohibition and we know what that leads to:

Some supporters of the bill’s current language on menthol have argued that, because menthol is widely used by many smokers, the effects of banning it outright are hard to predict. Among possibilities they have suggested is that menthol smokers would turn to an illicit cigarette market to obtain menthol cigarettes.

If nothing else, such a policy may rain hell on one of the Congressional Black Caucus' other legislative priorities: ending racial profiling. "Sir, do you have anything in the vehicle I should know about? Drugs? Weapons? Menthol cigarettes?"
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i sort of agree

i agree wif u but it still can kill
it can give u lots of diffrerent sorts of cancer
i wouldnt like to have a family member
killed hurt or have cancer just because of
smoking but would u

My Menthol is peaceful

I also like to enjoy "Island Margarita" Top roll your own cigarette tobacco smokes. I know that smoking tobacco is not healthy; but I know that I am free to choose. Then I think... Why not ban Corvette sportscars? We know that people die every year from automobile accidents and we should not be allowing high performance road cars. We all know that car crashes can kill and Corvettes go the fastest?

People need to take personal responsibility for their own lives.

It's interesting how prohibition is always class related

Historically drugs have been made illegal because of their identification with races or social classes. Eventhough it's the black caucus that's trying to do this, this is evidently motivated by a dislike of menthol-smoking blacks. These black caucus people seem to have some notion that if blacks don't smoke menthols anymore they'll somehow improve themselves. These are probably the same folk that think rap is holding their race down somehow (if we could just prohibit rap then all the ills that affect the black race would spontaneusly go away). I mean really, do you think these people are stupid enough to think if menthols were illegal all black people would just stop smoking? It's the nicotine they're addicted to, not the freaking taste of menthol for crying out loud. This is plainly an image thing. They don't like the image of black man that smokes menthol cigarrettes. It's probably much more a subconscious thing than anything else, but still, that's what it is. It's a class motivated thing.

Ironically, it's the opposite, legalization of all drugs, that would actually do tremendous benefit to black people (and to social equality in general).

Why do they want to ban

Why do they want to ban candy-, fruit-, and spice-flavored cigarrettes anyway? To protect the kids?


Congress needs to hang out with a few underage kids for a day--they'll find that kids are gonna smoke, whether or not they're smoking candy-flavored, fruit-flavored, or menthol-flavored cigarettes.

And banning menthols? What an absolutely ridiculous idea.

I am a 19-year-old white woman, and I personally prefer menthols to any other kind of cigarette. If they do ban menthols, I will be getting them SOMEHOW (regardless of legality) and I'm sure many other menthol-smokers will do the same.

Congress should really stop trying to fix our country's problems with poor, ineffective legislation. It just doesn't work. It's illegal to smoke cannabis, yet there are millions of Americans smoking cannabis at this very moment. It's illegal for people under 21 to drink booze, but I still drink, and so do millions of people my age.

And we all know the story of Prohibition, and what a miserable failure that was.

If people want to smoke, let them. If people want to smoke menthols (which, as far as I understand, crystallize in your lungs, therefore increasing your odds of lung cancer?), let them.

Isn't this a country founded upon freedom of choice?

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