The longest Samuel Johnson has ever been able to give up menthol cigarettes is three months. Every time he tries to quit, he said, that cool, minty flavor that first drew him and other African-American smokers to menthols lures him back.You know, I'm grateful that I've stayed away from cigarettes. If I ever do start smoking I'm just going to find some real natural tobacco that hasn't be souped up with chemicals. My view of cigarettes is that well so many chemicals are placed upon them that they would be addicting and also could make a person sick eventually. Although too much of one thing can be bad for you anyway.
"Everybody has a habit and mine is smoking cigarettes," said Johnson, 20, standing outside Harold Washington College downtown between classes with other young students, many of them puffing on menthols.
Johnson, who began smoking at age 17, is unfazed, he said, that the Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes, which for decades were heavily marketed to minorities. If they do, he said, he'll just try to find a way to get them on the streets.
The controversy intensified last week, when 11 new studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in a special supplement to the journal Addiction found that African-Americans and young adults disproportionately smoke menthol cigarettes and are less successful when they try to quit.
The NAACP's Legal Defense and Education Fund has joined forces with the American Legacy Foundation, an antismoking group, to support an FDA ban in an effort to keep another generation of young people from being drawn in.
According to the NAACP, the FDA discriminated against African-American children by banning the sale of clove and fruit-flavored cigarettes last year while exempting menthol-flavored cigarettes. The FDA formed a committee that recently heard testimony on menthol safety and its impact on blacks. A report is expected next spring.
"The rationale for eliminating candy flavor was entirely about stopping kids from smoking," said John Payton, president and director-counsel of the NAACP's legal defense fund. "Black kids are lured in by menthol cigarettes. So if you really want to do something about that, you ought to do something about that one remaining flavor."
This article is worth a complete read anyway.