FDA proposes ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

Originally published at: FDA proposes ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars | Boing Boing


Ok Rob. They’re more damaging to human lungs that unflavored tobacco products, but I guess that’s easy to ignore.


How exactly do we determinine how much damage to human lungs is acceptable? Isn’t it interesting that this determination ends up corresponding with racialized marketing segments?


Driver: “…but officer, I just bought these cough drops for my cold, along with the Nyquil and Sudafed at the drive through pharmacy. My sense of smell is shot.”

Cop: (Not wanting to touch anything from the driver) “OK, keep it safe, have a nice day.”

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Or, you know, buy some menthol off ebay for $6/oz or so, mix it with a bit of high-proof ethanol, and you’ve got a lifetime supply of menthol flavoring for your tobacco, massage oils, or homemade toothpaste. It’s also useful for making sodium metal without electrolysis from lye!


Sounds like it disproportionately benefits that marketing segment.


And when the Obama administration first banned flavored cigarettes like a decade back. They were heavily criticized for leaving Menthol out. On grounds that they weren’t addressing the way tobacco companies deliberately target non-white communities. Together with the fact that menthol is the way cigarette companies get teens and young adults to start. Which was the whole justification for the ban in the first place.

It’s not coincidental that the Black community tends to prefer menthol. Or that young people and women are more into it. It’s very deliberately marketed at those segments. Consequently smoking rates are higher among non-whites, and particularly among Black men.

The cigars are a similar gap in the original bans. Tobacco companies started pushing flavored cigars that are basically cigarettes but wrapped in a tobacco based paper after the flavor ban, and to skate on additional taxes. That bit could be better targeted. I don’t think blunt wraps and actual cigars are much of a pathway to a pack a day habit.

But this is all basically a gap in the original ban that was left, at the behest of the tobacco companies. So that they could continue to target non-whites as a rare growth sector.

And especially given our usual approach is insanely regressive tax increases at retail. It just seems like fixing a fuck up to me.


I would prefer that they ban marketing cigarettes at all, but the rationale here is that tobacco companies are specifically marketing these harmful products to minorities, and generating ratial disparities in health outcomes (a.k.a. They’re killing people slowly for profit).


Hell no. Certainly not while 90% of the contents end up dumped in the trash.


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It’s a rule targeting Black smokers, from a government with a centuries-long history of racially targeting Blacks. Doesn’t matter if the rule is intended to help. It doesn’t matter if it reduces tobacco use among poor people. It doesn’t matter if it keeps kids from smoking. It’s aimed directly at Black Americans.

Why not ban chew, which is predominantly used by white men? Why not huge tariffs on foreign tobacco? Why not ban vaping? Why not ban all tobacco? They could have done literally anything else and it would have been a better choice.

This is systemic racism. They know Congress won’t let them get away with a ban on white man’s tobacco, but Blacks? Sure, we’ll “help” them.

If the worry is that this rule would cause Black people to be frisked for menthol cigarettes, wouldn’t the solution be to outlaw domestic commercial manufacturing and importing, not distribution, possession, or usage?

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Well that’s the whole idea with a blunt wrap.

It doesn’t come with the 90%.

I mean some of them are just cones. Fill and twist. It’s great for my tourist ass.

Back in my day it was blunt guts up hill both ways in the snow. (that actually sounds way worse).

That is what they are doing. There’s no possession ban, and I think no retail ban. It’s 100% production and distribution.

Federally to be clear.

But I wouldn’t discount the excuse of black market/smuggled cigarettes. That’s what they murdered Eric Garner for.

I think the concern would be that checking for menthols would become an additional excuse for stop and frisks over unlicensed cigarette sales. Not that that sort of thing tends to matter for this shit, but there’s nothing in the law that would justify that.

But thing is Canada and Europe banned both menthol and all other flavors a decade back, so there’s not anywhere to smuggle them from. I guess maybe Mexico?

As a smoker. Who spent a lot of time buying smuggled cigarettes and loosies on Brooklyn street corners and Bodegas. Not long after flavored smokes were banned. The under the table guys actual ran out of them waaaaay faster than the legit vendors. Though it seems to be the opposite with Juuls and vapes.

The excuse to raid those guys was the lack of tax stamps. Not what they were specifically selling.

To whatever extent that’s a going to be a problem. It’s cause our policing is fucked. And I don’t see how “don’t regulate bad things” is a solution to that over “unfuck our policing”.


The FDA already banned all the other flavors, exempting menthol because guess why

Which is more racist, banning it with everything else or leaving it on the market because it mostly harms Those People?


Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Trying to game out which racist option was more or less racist is part of the problem they’ve made for themselves.

So, when all flavored tabacco products are outlawed and kids continue to start smoking will we realize that no matter what flavor restrictions are placed on the product the business model has always been “hook’em when they’re young” and will we finally outlaw tabacco flavored tabacco products?

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Tabacco use should be banned whatever its delivery system. That’s the very least that gutless, hands-forever-out, politicians can achieve given their vegetative state when it comes to addressing health costs.

I feel like it’s a really dangerous precedent to set that governments can ban certain plants. I feel the same way about marijuana. (And yes, I know it’s different, less evidence for addiction, etc.,) it just seems effed that a political body is going to ban a plant that grows naturally.
Banning refinement, marketing, etc., seems a better way to go. If feasible.
Anyway, if they are going to ban a certain plant, I vote for poison ivy. Fuck that shit!


I think this is the best option, but alas, impossible under capitalism