What's the Matter with Menthols?


Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned "flavored" cigarettes, preventing the sale of clove and (the hitherto unknown) "chocolate" cigarettes. These "candy flavored" smokes hook teenagers by masking, according to one anti-smoking activist, "the taste of the poison." And earlier this year, the FDA prevented the branding of cigarettes as "light" or "medium," instead forcing manufacturers to rechristen them with innocuous names like "Marlboro Gold" and "Marlboro Blue."

At the end of September, the FDA will announce the formation of a Menthol Subcommittee, which will review the available scientific literature on the health effects of menthol cigarettes. But are menthol cigarettes any worse for smokers than "non-flavored" cigarettes? Are they harder to quit, as anti-smoking activists suggest? Or is the government campaign against menthol simply another step on the road to the complete abolition of cigarettes?

Approximately 4 minutes. Produced by Meredith Bragg and Michael C. Moynihan.

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  1. But are menthol cigarettes any worse for smokers than “non-flavored” cigarettes?
    Yes, because they give me hives.

      1. Yes, yes, we are all racists now

      2. If were worried about race how about the fact that clove cigarettes were invented in the Dutch East Indies and most are produced by small Indonesian companies like Djarum

      3. I wasn’t aware of the many ripples and depth to this story until I surfed here through Google! Great job.

  2. At the end of September, the FDA will announce the formation of a Menthol Subcommittee,

    Thank God. I was shaking with anger at the fact that we’ve gone this long without a Menthol Subcommittee.

    1. I know! And to think there are some people who believe we have too much government!

    2. It will comprised solely of CBC members.

      1. Who would know better the smooth taste of a Kool?

    3. Justification for the Menthol Subcommittee: before the formation of the Menthol Subcommittee, there was no Menthol Subcommittee.

      1. + 10.0 mg

  3. It’s like a Balko post, only the bullets are softer & don’t kill you.

  4. What’s the Matter with Menthols?

    They taste like poop.

    1. Racist!!!

      1. This should have been the first comment

        1. I would’ve been quicker but while waiting to buy my pack of Kools I got stuck behind somebody buying 30 lottery tickets. And of course you know they couldn’t go with the instant pick so the clerk had to sit there for a fucking half hour typing in each number.

          1. You probably finished your grape soda before you even bought it.

            1. And probably had time to go back for a fawty.

    2. We need to ban poop since it could be used as counterfeit menthol.

      1. Fecal Matter Subcommittee?

        1. How can you differentiate that one from any of the other Congressional Subcommittees?

          1. I suppose you can’t. But at least the title will be accurate.

      2. …and counterfeit brains in politicians.

  5. They are the Smokes of the Gods.

  6. I mean here we are, the wealthiest nation on earth and we have no Menthol Subcomittee?

    1. The original Menthol Subcomittee was folded into the Smokeless Secratariat in 1978 . . .

    2. We need one because all of the other industrialized countries have one. If they can afford that kind of protection for their citizens, surely we, as the richest country in the world, can afford it. Indeed, we can’t afford to be without it.

      1. If we can put a man on the moon……

  7. Also, menthols add that extra little zing when you out them out in the eye of someone who just won’t shut up about The Batchelor…

  8. Let’s just ban tobacco in general. Worked great with marijuana…



    Where’d you go?

    1. I see no problem with banning it because it isn’t good for us. Even if the ban is ineffective, it still sends the right message to children.

      1. I know of no minors that smoke pot and drink. None. Nope not a one. None at all. Never seen it.

        1. You’ll get my daughter’s Marlboro greens when you pry them from her cold dead hands.

      2. Fuck you.

      3. for teh childrunz!

      4. and that message is that adults and politicians are idiots

      5. That a highly addictive illegal substance in widespread use will get you laid?

    2. If only my ex-boss woman would have supported legalization, I might not be unemployed today.

  9. I remember back when I was a young teenager who was stupid and smoked cigs that the urban legend was that menthols made your lungs bleed.

    Which of course sets them apart from other types of cigarettes in no discernable respect.

    I smoked Marlboro reds and then Newports, for that crispy menthol goodness.

    Glad I quit that nasty shit long, long ago. Stupid habit.

    I wish the government had been around back then to make me stop for my own good.

    1. Seriously, if the government wants to stop kids from smoking maybe they should make it illegal for kids to buy and smoke cigarettes.

      Oh, wait…

      1. Just shoot’em…dead kids don’t smoke!

        1. If you set fire to them they do…

  10. Menthols are used by the tobacco companies to get minorities hooked on tobacco. We have to ban them in order to protect minorities that may not know that smoking is bad for your health.

    1. D- on both your attempts.

    2. You were doing so well, then BAM. Obvious troll is obvious.

      1. I actually can’t tell if Jim is being sarcastic badly or genuinely trolling. Based on the patronizing, lovingly racist, nanny-state tone of both his posts so far, I’m going to vote sarcasm. The actual contrarians around here are usually smarter or crazier.

    3. Menthol ahsplodes black babies!

      1. ^^^not a troll either^^^

    4. Jim, you must be from the South where menthol cigs are mostly bought by black people, and to a lesser extent all women. In the northeast, ie Philly, menthols are the smoke of choice of the Guido set.

      Shorter: FAIL.

  11. Kools….so cool, so minty fresh.

  12. I thought that menthols were exempt from the flavored cigs ban because the congressional black caucus lobbied for it.

    1. oooooh you’re in for it now!

  13. I used to think that there was nothing that Obama could do to alienate his fanatically loyal African-American base.

    Verily, the man is a genius.

  14. I know I should be rightly ridiculed for them, but i love my occasional clove cigarette. Thank Canada it isn’t banned here. I go through a pack every 6 months, so it would be kind of ridiculous for me to import them. Having the odd cig is nice when the mood strikes me, but regular tobacco smells nasty and pot doesn’t always leave me feeling good, so cloves are perfect.

    1. might I suggest picking up some CAO’s moontrance or similar?

    2. While I don’t smoke myself, clove cigarettes might just be the one type of smoke I actually enjoy being around. Well, that and some types of pipe tobacco.

    3. I’ve enjoyed the occasional clove cig, although I never thought there was much there to distinguish them on the good-bad scale from normal ciggies. I don’t consider myself a smoker, but there’s nothing wrong with burning a heater now and again. I go through a pack over the course of, I dunno, 2 months?

      Pot, though, is way fucking better than any tobacco product will ever be.

    4. I have to thank clove cigarettes for helping me kick the habit. Once I smoked a few of those, even regular ciggies gave me the dry heaves.

    5. —“pot doesn’t always leave me feeling good”—

      So, in Canada you get clove cigarettes and crappy pot. In California, I can’t get cloves (not that I care), but the pot always leaves me feeling good.

      Looks like I got the better deal this time.

    6. I don’t support banning them but from a health perspective I would not recommend smoking clove cigarettes too often.

      I suspect that since they are used to deaden pain from cavities that they will do the same in the lungs and cause/allow you to inhale more deeply with less pain. Don’t think this is good for your lungs.

  15. I’m glad I quit when I did; I hated non-menthol cigarettes!

    What are they up to a pack these days, anyway? Have they hit the $10 mark yet?

    1. In WA state a carton of Marbs or equivalent is around $75.


    2. In Ithaca NY they are 9.50 a pack. I think NYC has around an extra $2 beyond the New York state tax

      1. Isn’t the tax on a single pack in NY State something like $4.35?

        1. Why on earth would a New Yorker pay that tax?

          Most people are within an hour drive to paying for cigarettes that are less than the tax NY levies. Indian Reservations, PA, Canadian/US duty free shops, etc. If you can’t physically get there, guaranteed you know somebody that is selling them out of the back of a van.

          What’s hilarious is the out of state cigar shops are now advertising their cigarette prices on the radio in NY. I love government.

          1. Well, you can’t discount the NYCers who believe Manhattan is the entire world and everywhere else is shit. These people won’t leave the city for anything.

    3. $41 a carton in GA including 7% tax. They were 38.50 until June but the distributors/manufacturers took away some 25 cent a pack incentive for retailers.

  16. I paid $5.00 for a pack of Doral golds the other day. Now that my habit is back over a dollar a day, I’m going to have to quit again. But then some smoking nazi will come along and convince me to take it back up.

  17. Great video until the very end. If Michael thinks for a second the governmnt would outlaw it’s cash-cow of taxation, he’s out of his mind.

    We all know how bad smoking can be for one’s health, yet those of us that choose to smoke choose to smoke. Personally, I would like to see cigarette taxes put in line with all other products out there. That would stimulate agriculture and get people to work.

  18. Whats funny is how many places are banning the use of chewing tobacco due to the effects of second hand smoke.

    1. Don’t underestimate the effects of all that spitting. Aerosoled tobacco spit is a serious health issue.

      1. As is tobacco breath.

  19. It’s hard to think of anything MORE racist than the assertion that black people are so cookoo for mentho-puffs that they need to be protected from themselves. Notice that the only other group that needs protection from flavoring is children.

    1. Not so much that, but you know how those Negroes get when they’re all hopped up on menthols.

  20. Sounds like a story written by Martin Amis. Reminds me of Straight Fiction. Hoy funny, that will never happen. Won’t it?

    1. There is a great short story by Garrison Keillor called “End of the Line” from his book “We are Still Married” that details the capture of the Last Smokers in America…

      Strangely prescient…

  21. Phillip Morris is gonna be pissed. How much did they pay to set up menthol as the only flavor? I’ll bet they were expecting more than a year’s return on their investment.

  22. Be the 63rd person to like this!

  23. supporters of a cigarette ban, cops, attorneys, prison guards, prison building contractors, vinny, the pentagon, mormons. you name the prohibition, they’ll support it. well, what do you think the mexican cartels are going to do when weed is legalized, that’s right, smuggling cigarettes. like penn would say “FU%K”

  24. What’s the Matter with Menthols?

    The name is too close to Methamphetamine?

  25. I buy cigarettes because they make great stop action movies.

  26. My pastor wants to sell Koran flavor in honor of September 11.

    1. I love the smell of Koran in the morning.

      1. It smells like … victory.

        1. I thought doves were peaceful birds that didn’t outreach with FIRE.

    2. Isn’t that just the smell of goat pussy?

      1. Don’t upset the enemy!

  27. I thought menthols were spared from the flavor ban because Obama was a “Eve 120’s menthol” man.

    1. Isn’t that a feminine hygiene product?

  28. Go ahead and ban ’em, biotches!

    We have organic broccoli flavor and vitamin-enhanced waiting in the wings.

  29. Dave Chappelle (as game show host): Why do black people like menthols?

    Contestant: Uhhh, I don’t know?

    Dave: *DING* CORRECT!

  30. I want to say, why not just ban every cigarrete out there, but of course that won’t happen for such an old and shadowing industry.

    1. 20% of the voting population and we let ourselves get shit on by everyone in this country. We deserve everything we get.

      We need to hire Al Sharpton or something, get Glenn Beck to hold a restoring the Marlboro Man rally. Anything, just let me smoke next to a fucking building, not even inside the fucking thing.

  31. and that message is that adults and politicians are idiots

  32. “Smoking ban? I wouldn’t worry about secondhand smoke…. I’d be worried about secondhand bullets if I were you… Yeah, I’m that stressed”

  33. “Our nations’ children…” and, “It’s about our country’s children” or “It’s for the children” should be banned from all public political speeches. I’m so fuckin’ sick of hearing about our nation’s children. Our hearts all bleed profusely for the same brats that 4 years later are pissing on our lawns, stealing shit out of our cars, and being generally annoying mother fuckers. And for shame to all those Pop Country Stars who sing about their fuckin’ children growing up. America hates its youth… always have, and always will. There’s nothing you can do to make your little angel not grow up to be a fuckin’ obnoxious teenager that everybody hates…Just deal with the reality of that. We are adults longer than we are children (most of us)… Let’s drink, fight, fuck, gamble, smoke, and do whatever else the fuck we want to. Fuck your goddamn kids and your pussy ass government.

    *jerks off to All in the Family’s theme song*

  34. Enough is enough already. I consider myself a casual smoker. I like to burn a cigarette or two at the end of a day. After 9 hours on the job and an hour of cardio i like to kick back with a good ale and have a menthol cigarette. Ironically when I first started smoking I went through all the non-menthols: Camel, Winston etc. My tastes later in life happens to be Menthol. I like the mint. I can take or leave cigarettes but that is my taste. Can’t I have what I like in the country that used to be free. I mean why it ok for a 400 lb person to gorge themselves on a KFC double down but I can’t have my preferred tobacco. I know the risks but I live otherwise healthy I eat good, exercise. Don’t I deserve a little sin at the end of a long day of paying 60% of my salary to the state and country to support people who don’t work and get paid to have these “committees” to decide what I can and can’t do with my body?

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