Ed. Note: Following is a post by the inimitable Skink, who’s sandwiched between 27 trials and a newly appointed kid federal judge who had never been inside a courtroom before.
The Food and Drug Administration, them that brings us vaccines, medicines, medical devices and even says what pet food is okay, found themselves a demon a few days ago, and it sort-of rhymes with “alcohol.” You probably guessed:
“Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor*—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products. With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Together, these actions represent powerful, science-based approaches that will have an extraordinary public health impact. Armed with strong scientific evidence, and with full support from the Administration, we believe these actions will launch us on a trajectory toward ending tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S.”
Who knew menthols were inequitable to “communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals” with “health disparities” being a result? Though I live in the Swamp, I’ve heard tale of equity and disparity from reading stuff posted on the walls of this here Hotel. I don’t claim to understand what those words mean, but I at least figured it had to do with people and what they do. People treat others inequitably and disparately. It seems I was wrong—menthols are inequitable. I wonder what other stuff is the same. Are rocks inequitable? I suppose it’s possible, but the War on Menthols is backed by real science:
In the U.S., it is estimated that there are nearly 18.6 million current smokers of menthol cigarettes. But use of menthol cigarettes among smokers is not uniform: out of all Black smokers, nearly 85% smoke menthol cigarettes, compared to 30% of White smokers who smoke menthols. In addition, among youth, from 2011 to 2018, declines in menthol cigarette use were observed among non-Hispanic White youth but not among non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic youth.
Holy Crap! Black people sure like menthols better than white people! But what happened to the Alphabet People? How many menthols do they smoke? I guess we’ll never know how menthols treat them inequitably. But it’s for-sure true because the FDA says so.
The FDA also found itself a study. It seems Canada banned menthols in 2016, so there was a need to figure how that fixed “health disparities.” Or not. After the Canadian War on Menthols was initiated, 1236 smokers and vapers were queried. The results left me stunned. After menthols were banned, about 21% of menthol smokers quit, for however long, compared to about 14% of non-mentholers. It must work! The quitters couldn’t get their smokes, so only 79% kept smoking something. Maybe it was chocolate dope.
Menthols are inequitable to “communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals.” This must be true because, although those factors weren’t part of the study, it’s obvious and proven. You need nothing more. But I gotta wonder how many blacks or Alphabets continued to smoke. Wonderment is a by-product of current logical thought.
This is how things work: start all logical thought, not with a question, but the conclusion. Then all that must be done is to fill in the other stuff. Or even not. The conclusion is menthols kill more blacks and Alphabets. This is so because they sort-of smoke more menthols than whites. Given the demographics, it’s simple to work back to the hypothesis that menthols might be inequitable. Of course, that was already known, so there wasn’t much need to do the usual of questioning and applying known fact to the problem. Why bother testing the validity of what’s already known?
I know what some of you are thinking. You think cigarettes are bad and must be eradicated. If that’s your hill, fine, but it will never end with menthols. Word has it, though just Swamp word, that Treasury is considering why cash is inequitable. According to rumor, it shouldn’t be green, but the reasoning is unknown. Other rumors say it’s inequitable because it gets spent differently. Who knows? It doesn’t matter why it’s inequitable because it is. There’s no word from Treasury how banning cash will affect taxes, which are obviously not inequitable.
You should not waste thought on why FDA stepped in to ban demon menthol. Something needed to be done and the most meaningful things the agency did in the last year was approve vaccines and warn people to not drink bleach. Those folks needed something more to do and menthols needed to be banned.
But there will be blood if they ever come for the sort-of rhyming word.
*The FDA banned all other flavored cigarettes in 2009. No one noticed, as only assholes smoked chocolate cigarettes.