Bay Area elected officials urge FDA to ban menthol in cigarettes

Sep 18, 2011 Full story: Inside Bay Area 14

Bay Area anti-tobacco advocates are lobbying elected officials to urge the federal government to ban the use of menthol in cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Full Story

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#1 Sep 18, 2011
This issue comes up from time to time, and when it does, it is often painted as racism. Opponents to such laws say that the idea of them is to marginalize people of color, and specifically go after their fun.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#2 Sep 19, 2011
Purple Gurl wrote:
This issue comes up from time to time, and when it does, it is often painted as racism. Opponents to such laws say that the idea of them is to marginalize people of color, and specifically go after their fun.
Yes, certainly. How dare the officials try to keep them from fooling around in iron lungs just like the white folks do?

Check out some of the content provided by one La Tanitia (Tanisha?) Wright, an African American, a former marketing exec for a tobacco company, and now a strong opponent of the industry and its deliberate targeting of African Americans.

If there is racism involved in the current effort, it is a matter of the officials asking the FDA to force the tobacco industry to curb THEIR racism.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#3 Sep 19, 2011
I guess it IS "La Tanisha Wright", and here is a link to some menthol-related content connected with her. Please note that it is hosted on the FDA site.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/TobaccoProducts/...
Devan

Gowanda, NY

#4 Sep 19, 2011
Any product which so successfully kills off knickers is alright by me. Cigarettes get rid of the darkies, the bums, and other scum.

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#5 Sep 19, 2011
Hugh Jass wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, certainly. How dare the officials try to keep them from fooling around in iron lungs just like the white folks do?
Check out some of the content provided by one La Tanitia (Tanisha?) Wright, an African American, a former marketing exec for a tobacco company, and now a strong opponent of the industry and its deliberate targeting of African Americans.
If there is racism involved in the current effort, it is a matter of the officials asking the FDA to force the tobacco industry to curb THEIR racism.
Or asking the tobacco industry to curb its exploitation of a segment. I don't think it is racism. The only color they care about is green. They would exploit their own mothers for a buck if they could.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#6 Sep 20, 2011
Purple Gurl wrote:
<quoted text>
Or asking the tobacco industry to curb its exploitation of a segment. I don't think it is racism. The only color they care about is green. They would exploit their own mothers for a buck if they could.
True enough, but when they research a demographic that deeply and expend that amount of energy to exploit peculiarities in that demographic, and the distinguishing characteristic for that demographic is race, I still regard it as racism.

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#7 Sep 20, 2011
Hugh Jass wrote:
<quoted text>
True enough, but when they research a demographic that deeply and expend that amount of energy to exploit peculiarities in that demographic, and the distinguishing characteristic for that demographic is race, I still regard it as racism.
They do that with any demographic. Back at the turn of the last century, only men smoked. So they got together to try to devise a way to get women to smoke. At the time, the advertising field didn't really exist as it does today. Ed Bernays had read his uncle's writings about psychoanalysis and the subconscious mind and he saw a potential to use that information to make money. His uncle of course was Sigmund Freud. Bernays got together with the US tobacco industry and suggested they hire a psychoanalysis. They couldn't get Freud who of course lived in Europe, so they hired someone in the US. He suggested that women didn't smoke because they thought of the cigarette as a phallic symbol (penis), and they had no use for one of their own. I wouldn't have gone that far but to say they didn't find it ladylike. So the women of the day needed an excuse or reason to get over this resistance. So, Bernays' team decided to try to stage a public event. What they did was sort of hijack an Independence Day parade. They get some pretty models, and at a crucial moment of the parade, the lit up their own "torches of freedom." So if a phallus-like object could enslave women, it could set them free, so they transformed a symbol of power into a symbol of liberation. The press was primed in advanced and told there would be women there lighting freedom torches, and they used such wording when they wrote about the event. So women started buying these "freedom torches."

Look at all the brands of cigarettes which exist and the niche markets they are aimed at. Marlboro is aimed at rugged, individualistic, macho men. Virginia Slims if for the more liberated, sophisticated woman, while Misty is probably aimed at the "bad girl" type. There were a number of economy brands not really aimed at a particular market.

The way I see it, if there was some new alien race on the scene which smoked dog excrement, the tobacco industry would jump on that and market that to them. I wouldn't call that racism, since it is not about hate or thinking anyone is better. So I still see exploitation. I can see why you feel as you do, because slavery and exploitation were entwined, and the one fueled the other. Indentured servitude was about exploiting the poor. That wasn't racist, since the owners were of the same race. However, when enslaving and exploiting Africans, there were notions of inferiority, lower intelligence, being beasts, etc. The whole notion that some people are supposed to be property (as opposed to choosing to be property because of bad fortune) is certainly racism.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#8 Sep 20, 2011
Purple Gurl wrote:
<quoted text>
They do that with any demographic. Back at the turn of the last century, only men smoked. So they got together to try to devise a way to get women to smoke. At the time, the advertising field didn't really exist as it does today. Ed Bernays had read his uncle's writings about psychoanalysis and the subconscious mind and he saw a potential to use that information to make money. His uncle of course was Sigmund Freud. Bernays got together with the US tobacco industry and suggested they hire a psychoanalysis. They couldn't get Freud who of course lived in Europe, so they hired someone in the US. He suggested that women didn't smoke because they thought of the cigarette as a phallic symbol (penis), and they had no use for one of their own. I wouldn't have gone that far but to say they didn't find it ladylike. So the women of the day needed an excuse or reason to get over this resistance. So, Bernays' team decided to try to stage a public event. What they did was sort of hijack an Independence Day parade. They get some pretty models, and at a crucial moment of the parade, the lit up their own "torches of freedom." So if a phallus-like object could enslave women, it could set them free, so they transformed a symbol of power into a symbol of liberation. The press was primed in advanced and told there would be women there lighting freedom torches, and they used such wording when they wrote about the event. So women started buying these "freedom torches."
Look at all the brands of cigarettes which exist and the niche markets they are aimed at. Marlboro is aimed at rugged, individualistic, macho men. Virginia Slims if for the more liberated, sophisticated woman, while Misty is probably aimed at the "bad girl" type. There were a number of economy brands not really aimed at a particular market.
The way I see it, if there was some new alien race on the scene which smoked dog excrement, the tobacco industry would jump on that and market that to them. I wouldn't call that racism, since it is not about hate or thinking anyone is better. So I still see exploitation. I can see why you feel as you do, because slavery and exploitation were entwined, and the one fueled the other. Indentured servitude was about exploiting the poor. That wasn't racist, since the owners were of the same race. However, when enslaving and exploiting Africans, there were notions of inferiority, lower intelligence, being beasts, etc. The whole notion that some people are supposed to be property (as opposed to choosing to be property because of bad fortune) is certainly racism.
Amusing. Did you know that the tobacco industry also began putting appetite-suppressants into cigarettes as part of their effort to market to women? The "slim" in "Virginia Slims" was not a coincidence. In the case of the black community, I believe they briefly marketed a brand called "Fat Boys" that came in smaller packs so that the individual packs would sell for a more attractive price.

Still, it is a question of interpretation. To me, any time race is the fundamental reason for a specific behavior toward someone or toward a group of people, that behavior has become racist. The tobacco companies planned and implemented policies that were based on race. The fact that they also planned and implemented policies that were based on gender does not change the fundamentally race-oriented nature of their treatment of blacks.

I understand that we have different conceptual thresholds for applying the term. That is why I simply explained mine rather than calling you "wrong" for yours.

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#9 Sep 20, 2011
Hugh Jass wrote:
<quoted text>
Amusing. Did you know that the tobacco industry also began putting appetite-suppressants into cigarettes as part of their effort to market to women? The "slim" in "Virginia Slims" was not a coincidence. In the case of the black community, I believe they briefly marketed a brand called "Fat Boys" that came in smaller packs so that the individual packs would sell for a more attractive price.
Still, it is a question of interpretation. To me, any time race is the fundamental reason for a specific behavior toward someone or toward a group of people, that behavior has become racist. The tobacco companies planned and implemented policies that were based on race. The fact that they also planned and implemented policies that were based on gender does not change the fundamentally race-oriented nature of their treatment of blacks.
I understand that we have different conceptual thresholds for applying the term. That is why I simply explained mine rather than calling you "wrong" for yours.
I appreciate your approach, and like you, I didn't come out and call you wrong either. I still don't see it as racism. Taking advantage of a situation that already exists isn't what I call racism. It is exploitation. I don't think they do it out of animus or prejudice. Plus it is more cultural. I don't think they did any studies on racial genetics to try to look for vulnerabilities that way. Race isn't even the issue here, but what turns on people of a particular culture the most. If marketing to people of color is racist, then marketing to women is sexist.

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#10 Sep 20, 2011
What I am more likely to find racist is the types of stores and businesses that get put up in Black communities. Putting Planned Parenthood in the middle of a Black community, for instance, says sends a bad message. It says things about Black sexuality, their ethics, etc., and it exploits their poverty. Plus it does little to slow the spread of AIDS, since if the only fear is pregnancy and there is an easy means to terminate that, then they may forget about STDs. Sure, the clinic will help with that too, but maybe if it isn't there, folks would think twice before having unprotected sex.

Putting cash advance places, pawn shops, and rental centers in Black neighborhoods continues the exploitation. Those places are financial traps. Rental centers give the promise of being able to have all sorts of nice stuff now. But you pay maybe 3 times as much. Cash advance places can be a blessing at times, but more often and not, it can become a trap. You have barely enough for one month, so you take out an advance loan. Fine, but you might need that same amount the next month, plus you have to pay back what you got the last time plus the interest.

Then there is possible racism or at least racial disregard in highway construction decisions. For instance, placing an interstate highway right in the middle of a Black community. Lets say there is a church and a local store, and everyone has easy access. Then they build a major highway. So then, people who don't drive are cut off from their closest store and place of worship. That sort of thing would contribute to accidents, people crossing the highway and getting killed, and may contribute to gang violence, since the highway creates a convenient turf division. So if the wrong people are on the wrong side... There are ways to mitigate this. Sometimes they can alter their plans and move the project some. Public hearings can give the impression of having a voice, but everyone has to be found and notified of their chance to speak up. They can build walkways and/or tunnels, but they need to be well lit and not placed in particularly bad areas. Sometimes they can provide land and pay to rebuild buildings. Like if the construction will harm a Black-owned business, they could pay the store what it would take to relocate.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#11 Sep 20, 2011
Purple Gurl wrote:
What I am more likely to find racist is the types of stores and businesses that get put up in Black communities. Putting Planned Parenthood in the middle of a Black community, for instance, says sends a bad message. It says things about Black sexuality, their ethics, etc., and it exploits their poverty. Plus it does little to slow the spread of AIDS, since if the only fear is pregnancy and there is an easy means to terminate that, then they may forget about STDs. Sure, the clinic will help with that too, but maybe if it isn't there, folks would think twice before having unprotected sex.
To me, most of this is ALSO about culture rather than genetics. Some is even more about the interaction with other elements of American culture than anything intrinsic to their own.

On the original premise, though, I'd say that if "such laws" are to be viewed as racist because they attempt to thwart what the tobacco industry has been doing when singling out black people, then the singling out of black people is, to my mind, automatically to be regarded as racist.

Menthol, though, is an issue larger than race. As noted in the article, it is an adaptation calculated to make it easier for kids to acquire the addiction, and the flavoring is intended to entice.

Addition of sugar to tobacco (either directly or by selective propagation) had several effects. One was to make smoking easier on beginners, and one was to "sweeten" the smoke so that nonsmokers would be less likely to complain as they were killed off. "Stealth" technology. In the case of menthol--again as mentioned in this article--it also reduces the real-time, noticeable impact on breathing--creating a stealth effect on the smoker as well.

However, burning sugar along with tobacco also produced a chemical or two that would not have been so prominent otherwise, and one of those chemicals has been found (in studies with rats) to heighten the addictive effect--but only in developing juveniles. Adults showed no altered response.

So, screaming "racism" as a counter-attack against this sort of regulation is just another example of tobacco industry misdirection. I don't doubt for a minute that the companies have people going out and spreading the concept in black communities, tapping into that chronic source of tension in order to protect their bottom line. Anything they can do to allow their customers to feel mistreated by regulation not only stirs sales through the sense of "standing up for themselves" but also fosters the idea that something other than addiction to an absolutely ridiculous activity is the problem.

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#12 Sep 20, 2011
Hugh Jass wrote:
<quoted text>
To me, most of this is ALSO about culture rather than genetics. Some is even more about the interaction with other elements of American culture than anything intrinsic to their own.
On the original premise, though, I'd say that if "such laws" are to be viewed as racist because they attempt to thwart what the tobacco industry has been doing when singling out black people, then the singling out of black people is, to my mind, automatically to be regarded as racist.
Menthol, though, is an issue larger than race. As noted in the article, it is an adaptation calculated to make it easier for kids to acquire the addiction, and the flavoring is intended to entice.
Addition of sugar to tobacco (either directly or by selective propagation) had several effects. One was to make smoking easier on beginners, and one was to "sweeten" the smoke so that nonsmokers would be less likely to complain as they were killed off. "Stealth" technology. In the case of menthol--again as mentioned in this article--it also reduces the real-time, noticeable impact on breathing--creating a stealth effect on the smoker as well.
However, burning sugar along with tobacco also produced a chemical or two that would not have been so prominent otherwise, and one of those chemicals has been found (in studies with rats) to heighten the addictive effect--but only in developing juveniles. Adults showed no altered response.
So, screaming "racism" as a counter-attack against this sort of regulation is just another example of tobacco industry misdirection. I don't doubt for a minute that the companies have people going out and spreading the concept in black communities, tapping into that chronic source of tension in order to protect their bottom line. Anything they can do to allow their customers to feel mistreated by regulation not only stirs sales through the sense of "standing up for themselves" but also fosters the idea that something other than addiction to an absolutely ridiculous activity is the problem.
Maybe we disagree on definitions, but I tend to agree with you otherwise, and I like the interesting information you gave. Thank you! I don't know who is giving the icons. I certainly agree that if planting the idea the government/FDA is being racist is being planted in anyone's mind, the tobacco industry would be doing it. All they would have to do is get a rapper or NBA star to say it, and those looking up to them might believe it.

Still, I don't think it is racism because if any community could be studied and exploited, they would. I don't think they are operating with animus or beliefs AA's are inferior, or that they are better. That is what racism is, the core belief that one race is inherently better than another. So I see the problem more as one of greed.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#13 Sep 20, 2011
When the industry assigns a set of vulnerabilities to denizens of black communities (such as that they will go for the cheaper pack, even though it is pricier per cigarette, they are easily manipulated by giving the product some implied connection to a rap star, they will flock to a product that facilitates a sense of co-identity such as the "X" brand name that was floated for a time, etc), I think they are classifying and generalizing and dismissing at a level that qualifies as racism. And there is always that famous quote about leaving smoking to the "poor, the young, the stupid and the black"--though not necessarily in that order. Apparently the fellow who broke ranks and made that comment public is now back to kissing up to the industry and is saying it never happened, so who knows? It wouldn't be out of keeping with many other indisputable comments industry execs have made.

However, that is just me and I will be more circumspect in my use of the word in the future. Thank you.

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#14 Sep 20, 2011
Hugh Jass wrote:
When the industry assigns a set of vulnerabilities to denizens of black communities (such as that they will go for the cheaper pack, even though it is pricier per cigarette, they are easily manipulated by giving the product some implied connection to a rap star, they will flock to a product that facilitates a sense of co-identity such as the "X" brand name that was floated for a time, etc), I think they are classifying and generalizing and dismissing at a level that qualifies as racism. And there is always that famous quote about leaving smoking to the "poor, the young, the stupid and the black"--though not necessarily in that order. Apparently the fellow who broke ranks and made that comment public is now back to kissing up to the industry and is saying it never happened, so who knows? It wouldn't be out of keeping with many other indisputable comments industry execs have made.
However, that is just me and I will be more circumspect in my use of the word in the future. Thank you.
Thank you, you've helped me to think some too!

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