For some reason, I’m not sure why, menthol cigarettes are favoured by black smokers (interestingly, my parents were big menthol smokers for years and they were decidedly not black)… and Big Tobacco has long marketed menthols to black smokers.
In fact, 75 percent of the smokers of the second biggest cigarette brand — Newport cigarettes — are black. Newports are mentholated. Man, here’s a shocking stat — 83 percent of older black smokers prefer mentholated brands, while 72 percent of young black smokers also prefer menthol cigs.
Newport trails only Marlboro as the most popular brand in the U.S. .. mostly because so many blacks smoke them. Newport was also the No. 1 brand for Lorillard, which is now part of RJ Reynolds.
Interestingly, several years ago, the Food and Drug Administration banned candy-flavoured cigarettes, such as cherry, raspberry, etc., because these cigarettes were obviously being marketed to kids. However, the FDA did nothing about menthol cigarettes, which have a candhy-like minty flavour. Menthol cigarettes were grandfathered in.
A group called the African-American Tobacco Control Leadership Council last week called on Barack Obama to ban menthol cigarettes (not really sure if Obama could actually do this by Executive action).
One of the big problems with menthol is that it makes cigarette smoke less harsh and easier to ingest, thus making cigarette smoke that much more dangerous for the smoker.
Yeah, I don’t get the logic of banning candy cigarettes, but not a minty cigarette. It just shows that there is a too-cozy relationship at times between the FDA and Big Tobacco.