Earlier this year, the US government banned "flavored" cigarettes, saving kids the shame of having to admit decades later that they used to smoke "Kauai Kolada Camels." In the meantime, more kids than ever started smoking menthols. Health policy success!
You might naively think that menthols would be included in the ban of "flavored" cigarettes, but of course you would be wrong, because banning menthols would be racist, according to white tobacco company executives. So the most popular flavor of cigarette was specifically excluded from this save-the-children ban of flavored cigarettes, and, naturally, while politicians were debating all this, kids have been sucking down more Newports than ever before. The WSJ reports:
In 2008, the rate of smokers 12 to 17 years old using menthol cigarettes rose to 48% from 44% in 2004, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. Among 18 to 25 year olds, the rate jumped to 41% in 2008 from 34% in 2004.
Teens have learned the important lesson that non-menthol cigarettes aren't Kool.