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Black Lawmakers Are Not Kool With Menthol Cigarettes

Black lawmakers want menthol flavor included in a bill set to ban cigarettes with a candy, fruit, or spice flavor. The Congressional Black Caucus says the legislation should not specifically exempt menthol cigarettes, the flavor favored in the black community, according to today's New York Times.

Since the 1950s, tobacco companies have targeted menthol cigarette advertising at the black community. Research suggests that menthols increase the risk of addiction and cancer. Reports of a 200-person dust up in Florida, ignited by a pack of stolen cigarettes, makes me think addiction can be pretty dangerous.

The lawmakers want to add an amendment that would increase research and clearly give the FDA authority to ban the flavor. The NY Times article reports that emails from Newport are popping up in smokers' inboxes, urging them to contact their representatives. Regardless of whether menthol makes the banning bill, opposition from President Bush and tobacco state legislators means the entire bill may not pass anyway. Do you think flavors making it easier to smoke should be banned? What do you make of laws targeting specific communities?


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