June 1, 2021, was the first anniversary of the illogical ban on flavored tobacco, primarily menthol cigarettes. Defenders of the ban have said it will save our teens from nicotine addiction. There isn’t an iota of proof that this ban saved anyone. There is simply no data to support this dishonest claim.
These same desperate advocates have revealed that the black community heavily smokes menthol cigarettes. It’s correct. I have found that although there is little difference in the overall smoking rate between blacks and whites, 85 percent of black smokers use menthol products.
But menthol-free cigarettes are just as deadly as their flavored counterparts. So why are products used by a majority of black smokers banned from sale, when white smokers can legally continue to buy the cigarettes of their choice?
Proponents of the ban claim that possession and use of menthol cigarettes is not a crime; only the sale of the products is an offense.
The negative impacts of this ban on silly menthol and flavored tobacco are also reflected in the fact that we, the taxpayers, lost $ 140 million in revenue last year. And in case you missed the memo, cigarette sales have skyrocketed in neighboring states and a new lucrative, all-cash underground market has materialized in the Commonwealth.
I hope the Massachusetts legislature will take this into account, as this ban is clearly not working. In the early 1900s, we were the first state to ban recreational marijuana. I hope it won’t take 100 years for the state to reverse this flawed policy.
Phil Paleologos is the host of the Phil Paleologos Show at 1420 WBSM New Bedford. It can be heard on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Is this how I boil a clam?