Last year, the U.S. government banned "flavored" cigarettes. Since then, the real fight has raged on: whether to ban menthol cigarettes as well. The end of Newports? Can you imagine? The company that makes Newports says: that's racist!
Lorillard Tobacco makes 90% of its money off of Newports, so a menthol ban would be akin to a bullet in the head of the whole company. The WSJ reports that a government panel (which is somewhat menthol-friendly) will issue recommendations in March that could decide the fate of menthols once and for all.
Since 80% of black American smokers (and nearly half of 12-17 year-old smokers) smoke menthols, Lorillard is taking the sensible step of "buying up a host of menthol-bashing Internet domain names, including MentholKillsMinorities.com, MentholAddictsYouth.com and FDAMustBanMenthol.com." It's also paying "several" PR people to push out editorials against the ban—including Charlotte Roy, who targets black news outlets and tells the WSJ that "she doesn't mention her association with Lorillard" when she speaks to the media.
Despite Lorillard's intrinsic fuckery, we highly doubt menthols will be banned. Too bold, too cold, too revenue-generating.