PLEASURE WARNING: Smoking is addictive; once you feel the pleasure you may never want to stop.
A menthol cigarette ban in the US is a real possibility. The FDA is soliciting comments on the topic and it's your chance to speak up. You only have to November 22nd, 2013!
Link to the FDA:
FDA Menthol Cigarette Ban Comment Page
URL if you prefer cutting and pasting: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2013-N-0521-0079
Below is a draft of my response to the FDA. I will send it close to the end of the week. Although I will be sending it in on behalf of myself and the members of this site, please leave your own comment on the FDA site as well. It can be a simple as; I enjoy smoking menthol cigarettes and there's no valid reason for taking that freedom away from me.
To FDA and advisory members,
I am the administrator of www.smokingfeelsgood.com, a web site that supports the pleasures of smoking and those who enjoy it. We have no commercial interests and take no funding from any external source. The users of smokingfeelsgood.com are primarily either current smokers who enjoy smoking or those looking for information on the best ways to start smoking. Smokingfeelsgood.com has over 2000 unique visitors per day.
Anti smoking advocates wish menthol cigarettes to be banned from sale. I, as well as 38% of the users of smokingfeelsgood.com enjoy smoking menthol cigarettes every day. It’s the flavor we enjoy the most. Up to this point, we’ve simply taken for granted that what we choose to taste was a personal freedom.
Anti smoking advocates argue that no one wants to smoke, that those that do are simply addicted, can’t possibly enjoy smoking, and have little free will to quit. This is not true and as evidence to the contrary, I offer you the collected resources, information, and experiences from the users of the site; please see www.smokingfeelsgood.com.
So the question comes down to, why should my favorite cigarette flavor be banned?
Is it more harmful than non menthol cigarettes? According to the conclusions of a study conducted by the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, mentholated cigarettes are no more, and perhaps less harmful than non-mentholated cigarettes.
Is it more addictive then non menthol cigarettes? According to the same study referenced above, the researchers found no relationship between cigarette preference and quiting smoking. On the other hand, the FDA is researching this question further and may present new evidence in the future that supports the notion that menthol cigarettes are more addictive. If the FDA does find evidence that it is, I also think it is incumbent on the FDA to also provide evidence that invalidates other legitimate studies with the opposite conclusion and account for other effects of additives, such as ammonia, with and without menthol.
Since some people like the way menthol cigarettes taste over non menthol varieties, less people would start or continue smoking if menthol varieties didn’t exist.
As in all discretionary markets, as consumer choice is reduced, so is consumption since the remaining product doesn’t satisfy all consumer preferences. But if it’s valid to reduce smoking rates by limiting choice, would it not be equally valid to eliminate smoking by eliminating all choice, i.e. ban the sale of all tobacco products? The congressional mandate prohibits the ban of cigarettes by the FDA and to ban menthol cigarettes solely on the premise that less people will start smoking since some people prefer menthol cigarettes, seems to clearly violate the spirit of the congressional mandate. Congress disallowed baning cigarettes because it recognizes that smoking is still an individual choice.
But wait! Congress banned flavored cigarettes, why should menthol be excluded?
Flavored cigarettes other than menthol were banned on the premise that the sole reason they existed was to appeal to underage smokers. Menthol is and has been an established adult preference for decades and therefore are not in the same category.
In closing, it is my choice to smoke and my choice to select menthol cigarettes. I do not see the benefit to me nor to the general public for instituting a ban on menthol cigarettes. If it comes down to the notion of “saving our children,” spare me the appeal to emotion and do something real and effective in that area. For example, take 10% of the collected federal excise taxes from cigarettes and use it to enforce the laws prohibiting minors from purchasing cigarettes. It’s really that simple.