Skink: Pity The Poor Menthol

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.

44 thoughts on “Skink: Pity The Poor Menthol

    1. Guitardave

      I love Willie, but ….I thought Barleycorn schooled you better than that.
      ( My personal fave is Merle Travis’ version, his pickin’ is the best)

    1. Skink

      Rich–beyond impossible. Besides, they’d have to ban roadkill wild boar. So worry not, whiskey will always be garnished with the brown magic.

  1. Quinn Martindale

    Cash is an interesting example because it was ruled illegally inaccessible to the blind a decade ago, and Treasury is actually studying and releasing accommodations.

    1. Skink


      Right, everything is the same. But that raises some questions.

      When you order breakfast, do you seek to substitute chicken for eggs because they’re the same thing?

      Do you call whiskey vodka because most start as vodka?

      Is a Camry an F-150 because both have 4 wheels?

      If your answer is affirmative to any question, question your thinking. No, skip the questions. Please just question your thinking before posting stupid shit that makes others less smart.

    1. Guitardave

      H…? So much for my psychic powers…I was 99.97% certain you’d cue up this..

      1. Howl

        Didn’t think of that one. Cigarettes are but one side of the Devil’s triangle.

  2. Elpey P.

    This will likely be a staple of future CRT literature, despite (or maybe because of) wrapping itself in the flag of virtuous equity. One generation’s performative quasi-liberalism is another generation’s systemic racism.

  3. William Henson

    “…..represent powerful, science-based approaches…….”

    I am guessing that phrase (or similar) will be added to everything now given the how well it’s been used as a cudgel in the turmoil of the past year.

    As for cash maybe not being green I can reinforce that idiocy with a recent article I read about in the field of Astronomy about how dark matter was racist and the night sky should be accessible to all children.

  4. B. McLeod

    They have to throw in mention of the Alphabets to make it clear that Alphabets have not been forgotten in the race to save Black menthol smokers. Or, maybe the FDA has a study showing that Alphabets are disproportionately Black. It’s hard to really know when they don’t disclose the basis of their careful, scientific conclusions.

    1. B. McLeod

      Well, it’s the newly-acceptable, paternalistic, Joe Biden racism. The menthol has to be banned because it isn’t good for them, but they won’t stop voluntarily. Standard old Rudyard Kipling, “White Man’s Burden” reasoning.

  5. Guitardave

    Do they realize that they’re just creating a new black market? (small b, pun kinda not intended)
    And one more reason to hassle,( or way worse,) a man that needs a smoke break. Assholes.

        1. Jardinero1

          As the cops, state by state, loose Marijuana smell to establish probable cause, now they gain, in all 50 states simultaneously, menthol smell, to detain, harass, and maybe kill you. Score one for the cops, little people zero. And for gosh sakes, leave the Vick’s vapo rub at home!

    1. PseudonymousKid

      If it’s like after 2009, the brands will just relabel themselves as “cigars” and carry on like nothing happened which might just be why the asshole chocolate cigarette smokers didn’t rise up in protest.

      1. Guitardave

        Not so sure about that. Newport’s have millions of fans.
        Weenies smoking Hershey bars…not so much.

  6. Jake

    I’m in the destroy the cigarette industry by any means necessary camp. And then use what was learned to destroy all the other industries that cause obesity, heart disease, cancer, dirty air, dirty water, or global warming.

    1. Guitardave

      Dear Jake,
      Fuck you.
      Signed, a 60 yr old lifetime smoker who could kick your ass with one hand tied behind my back.

      1. SHG Post author

        To be fair, I don’t know whether Jake actually believes he deserves to dictate other people’s health and pleasure choices or he just wants to control other people, like most scolds.

        1. Jake

          I don’t want to control Dave’s ability to smoke or kick ass. I want the Government to control anyone’s ability to profit off of either. There’s a difference, even if you want to pretend there isn’t.

          1. Guitardave

            Gee Jake, I guess all those nice, hard working Amish I haul around should just break even on all the back breaking labor involved with growing and curing my favorite vegetable.

            Ever stood with each foot on two 4×4 beams, five feet apart, 3 stories up in a barn, reaching down to your ankles to grab a piece of lath loaded with 60lbs of un-dried tobacco, and then hoist it up to the guy 8 feet above where you’re standing, so he can hang it?…for 8 hours on a hot, windless summer day?
            You should try it sometime.

            I suppose I should give back some of that $2.50 @ hr. they paid me as other normal farm work was paying a $1 @ hr at the time.
            Damn that ‘profit’.

            1. Jake

              No, but I did climb a 40′ ladder with two bundles of shingles thousands of times. About twice the weight of those weeds you mentioned. Did it on hot days, did it on cold days. We had plenty of each in the Northeast.

              We’ve all got our experiences, Dave. Not sure why you’re trying so hard to prove your manliness today but consider it proven.

            2. Guitardave

              Come on man…you know it ain’t about that. It’s your ideas about controlling things that ain’t yours to control. Would you have been a roofer if the guy you worked for couldn’t show a profit and pay you a decent wage ?

              Stop being so dopey. I know you’re not that stupid.

              And props on the roofing… i didn’t mind heights when i was young, but i once bailed on a roofing job a couple of days in…i just couldn’t get comfortable with always being on a slope.

              PS: If you want to ‘take the profit’ out of cigarette sales, how about getting rid of the 85% of the price that goes to taxes and marketing geniuses (ahem) that make retarded anti-smoking propaganda?
              I’d support you in that crusade.

            3. Howl

              Gentlemen, please, no need to quarrel. There’s no doubt we’re all manly men here. As for me,

          2. Miles

            I can’t speak for Dave, but I for one want you to have a major influence in my life because you’re so very special and I’m so helpless without you.

    2. DaveL

      Boy, it sure is a good thing those companies don’t do other things than causing cancer and pollution, like keeping people from freezing or starving. Makes you wonder why we bothered with them in the first place.

    3. Scarlet Pimpernel

      “then use what was learned to destroy all the other industries that…”
      It really is too bad that at no time in history was prohibition tried so we would have something to learn from.

  7. Drew Conlin

    What a treat! A Howl and guitar Dave song off! A junkies gonna figure out a way to satisfy their need.

  8. Rxc

    Won’t this ban cause blacks to be arrested and prosecuted disproportionally when they smuggle menthol cigarettes into the country from Mexico and smoke them here?

  9. Bryan Burroughs

    Gotta love the idea of taking things away from black people so they dont hurt themselves. Ain’t a damn thing racist or condescending about that. Gonna be even better when it gives cops a new reason to toss black kids up against a wall.

  10. Jasmice

    I am a white person from a low-income community who smokes menthol cigarettes. I was not aware that cigarettes are unhealthy or addictive. Many thanks to the FDA for stepping in. I’ve even been hearing rumors that junk food isn’t healthy, so I’m hoping they’ll go a step further and enforce a new dietary policy to save our wretched, unaccountable communities from that, too. Minty tobacco isn’t the only thing plaguing us down here. None of us know how to have a body correctly, and for all we know our normal diet of sugar, salt, growth hormones, and Yellow 5 might be harming our health, too.

    The only thing that worries me about the ban on menthol flavored tobacco products is that all the money the state gets from taxing those products will be diverted away from our schools and roads and other public interests and injected into the black market instead. I live about a 4-hour drive from the US-Mexico border, and I can’t say the War on Drugs has done my community much good in terms of crime rates — but then, what do I know? I’m sure all those smart folks at the FDA know what they’re doing, so I’m not going to worry about it too much, since they clearly have our best interest at heart, hyuck hyuck.

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