Updated Election Results for Nader/Gonzalez State by State

Menthol Men

Menthol Men .

Senators Obama and McCain:

We were reading the other day about the tobacco legislation you both support that is making its way through Congress.

The bill would give the federal government the authority to regulate tobacco.

And it would ban flavored cigarettes - like strawberry and chocolate.

Flavoring makes tobacco smoke more attractive - especially to young people.

So, we agree - flavoring should be banned from cigarettes.

Here’s the curious thing, though.

Under the bill, all flavorings would be banned.

Except for menthol.

Menthol cigarettes make up fully a quarter of the more than 375 billion cigarettes consumed in the United States every year.

And 75 percent of African-Americans who smoke smoke menthol cigarettes.

We know you’ve both been busy on the campaign trail.

So, maybe you missed it last week when a bipartisan group of seven former secretaries of health sent you and other members of Congress a letter protesting the menthol loophole and demanding that menthol be banned along with all other flavorings.

Citing studies that show that an estimated 80 percent of African-American teenage smokers pick menthol brands, former health secretary Joseph Califano said that the menthol loophole was "clearly putting black children in the back of the bus."

The letter that was sent to you says that the loophole "caves to the financial interests of tobacco companies and discriminates against African-Americans - the segment of our population at greatest risk for the killing and crippling smoking-related diseases."

"It sends a message that African-American youngsters are valued less than white youngsters."

Just wanted to make sure you saw this letter.

And the New York Times article about the letter.

We also noticed that the National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network at first supported the legislation, but now opposes it because of the lethal menthol loophole.

So, here’s to the hope that both of you will be able to make a change we can all believe in.

What say you to the youth of America?


The Nader Team

PS: We invite your comments to the blog.

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