Credit Tomasz Sienicki/wikimediaThe Food and Drug Administration has declared that menthol cigarettes pose a greater risk to public health risk than other kinds of cigarettes entirely because of the way they taste.

From the BBC

The agency said that while mint flavoured cigarettes may be just as toxic as others, it was easier to start smoking them and harder to quit. Menthol cigarettes are one of the few growing areas of the tobacco industry. The FDA has commissioned further research into the is inviting input from the health community, tobacco industry and members of the public about the products. “Menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non menthol cigarettes,” said the preliminary results of the FDA’s study. It also found the cooling and anaesthetic qualities of the menthol made them less harsh and more appealing to smokers.

The comments echo a 2011 FDA report, which concluded that “removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States.” The report also warned of the blindingly obvious danger that would accompany the prohibition of menthol cigarettes “A black market for menthol cigarettes could be created, criminal activity could ensue, and different methods might be used to supply such a black market.”

The proposition, that menthol cigarettes require special restrictions or even prohibition is not based on the toxicity of menthol cigarettes but on their flavor. Menthol cigarettes, it is claimed, are easier to smoke, as they have a smoother flavor than regular cigarettes, leading to more people starting smoking and fewer quitting.

Two former cabinet secretaries from the Carter and George H.W. Bush administrations condemned the lack of action on the part of the FDA in clamping down on menthols “The failure of this administration to act undermines the public health and is particularly harmful to vulnerable young Americans and African Americans.” The push to regulate and possibly even prohibit menthol cigarettes would certainly have a disproportionate impact on African Americans. 70 percent of African American smokers smoke menthols as opposed to 25 percent of white smokers.

Government officials and anti tobacco campaigners may view the restriction of menthol cigarettes as a potential victory for the health of African Americans. However, the FDA’s militant paternalism doesn’t exactly treat them as human beings responsible for their own decisions.

The FDA is preparing a consultation on possible measures to restrict menthol cigarettes.

How much nicotine do we get from e-cigarettes? – ecf infozone

How to buy electronic cigarettesВ online
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On May 15, 2013, the Joint Committee on Taxation gave a Do Not Pass Recommendation to HP 950. The bill is no longer a substantial threat, but action from Maine vapers is still important to ensure it is not brought back.
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Maine is the subject of a CASAA Call To Action as of April 23rd 2013. n

If enacted, this bill would n

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  1. Tax electronic cigarettes by redefining “tobacco products ” under Maine tax law to include “products containing, made or derived from tobacco that are intended for human consumption by any means, or any components, parts or accessories of tobacco products. ” n
  2. Impose a wholesale tax on all smoke free products (including e cigarettes) that will be equivalent to the tax on a pack of cigarettes (currently $2.00). The Maine State Tax Assessor will be given the power to decide how this tax would be applied to e cigarette disposables, liquid, mods, cartomizers, atomizers, batteries, etc. n
  3. Make it a crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a Maine citizen to import more than one pound of e cigarette products (see Title 36, 4404 A) n
  4. Require e cigarette vendors to obtain a tobacco retail license to sell e cigarettes (see Title 36, 4402) n
  5. Make it a crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a Maine e cigarette vendor to sell products to any retailer who does not hold a Maine retail tobacco license. (see Title 36, 4404 B) n
  6. Give law enforcement authorities the authority to seize e cigarette products from citizens if they believe it to be contraband (i.e., it was obtained without paying the Maine tax). (see Title 36, 4404 B) n n

    HB 950 has been referred to the Committee on Taxation, which is comprised of members of both the Maine Senate and House. No hearing has been scheduled. If you can attend the hearing or are in Maine and would like to offer your assistance in stopping this bill, please e mail board
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    This bill will cause all tobacco products to be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes n

    Item 7B (as it stands on April 3rd, 2013) which defines smokeless tobacco products will almost certainly include electronic cigarettes in this legislation. n

    See also this ECF thread for a discussion of the issue. n

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