Banning Flavors in Cigarettes: Discrimination again?
By GregInFla Posted in Congress — Comments (11) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Congress is considering S. 2461 The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which would grant limited control of tobacco to the FDA. Fox News asks: Is menthol a flavor that should be banned from cigarettes?
Menthol flavoring would not be banned under a bill before Congress that gives control of tobacco products to the Food and Drug Administration. The bill would ban flavor additives such as mint, clove and vanilla, which appeal to young people.
Menthol is preferred by more than 75 percent of black smokers, according to government estimates. Fewer than 25 percent of whites smoke it.
Read more ...
One could deduce that allowing menthol flavoring in cigarettes is a move against blacks. This is Dr. Louis Sullivan's opinion:
"If we're banning things such as clove and peppermint, then we should ban menthol," said Dr. Louis Sullivan, health secretary from 1989 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush and one of seven former health secretaries who sent a letter to lawmakers voicing opposition to the menthol exemption. "If it doesn't happen, this bill will be discriminatory against African-Americans."
You can read more from Sullivan at ajc.com.
What do the tobacco companies have to say? Fox News reports
Philip Morris spokesman Bill Phelps said the bill would give the FDA authority to remove ingredients that are determined harmful to health.
"Based on our scientific judgment, menthol does not increase the inherent hazards of smoking," Phelps said.
Rush today had this to say about it (Story #6 on the Stack):
RUSH: Okay, speaking of the race card, do you remember the story where the AMA or the Food and Drug Administration was going to ban all flavorings in cigarettes except menthol, after they learned that 75% of blacks smoke menthol cigarettes? So they didn't want to ban menthol because they thought it would be racist. Guess what? The country's largest organization of doctors last week refused to challenge a controversial tobacco bill that would ban many flavor additives and cigarettes sold in the US but exempt menthol. So the AMA's gone along with the FDA. Fine, we're going to leave menthol flavorings "under a bill before Congress that gives control of tobacco products to the Food and Drug Administration. The bill would ban flavor additives such as mint, clove and vanilla, which appeal to young people," but menthol flavoring would be allowed. Menthol preferred by more than 75%% of black smokers. Hey, Obama, this is made to order for you, bud. The AMA, FDA want to ban all flavorings except those preferred by blacks. Can we infer from this that the AMA and the FDA would prefer blacks continue to smoke? Why? Smoking does what, it makes people sick? It shortens their life? And the FDA and the AMA, we infer here, want blacks to continue to be able to get the flavor that makes 'em smoke the most?
My initial reaction: Congress cannot win here. If it outlaws menthol, then it could be viewed as discrinating against black smokers. if it allows menthol, it also can be viewed as being against black smokers. They were not thinking or paying attention when they started down this road, which has turned into a one-way dead end street.
P.S.: Please accept my in-advance apology: if you go to the link above to Rush's page, you have to go past the Lara Logan pic to story 6. It may be a bit difficult, but control your cursor and scroll on down.