Congressional Black Caucus - Menthol Exemption..

We thought the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus was calling for changes to a House tobacco-regulation bill (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act), demanding that the legislation place restrictions on menthol cigarettes,the type heavily favored by 75% of African-American smokers. (Black Lawmakers Want to Limit Use of Menthol Cigarettes..).

Now we find the exemption of menthol from this bill banning flavored cigarettes is causing a rift in the Black Congressional Caucus. Some members of the caucus, which has strong financial ties to tobacco companies, argue that menthol cigarettes cause disproportionate harm to blacks and are pushing for a ban. Others say a ban on menthol would sink the bill. It is surprising, however, that the bill appears to have no chance of passing without the support of Philip Morris, the country's biggest cigarette company.

Philip Morris alone has made annual contributions exceeding $250,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation which has influenced those opinions.

Previously secret documents show that tobacco companies provided money, cultivated social and political ties, and aggressively offered free cigarettes to African American leadership groups even as the evidence grew that African Americans bear a disproportionate share of the tobacco-related disease burden.
(Secret Documents Reveal Tobacco Industry Influence, UC Newsroom, 11/20/2002)

References: Menthol Debate Splits Black Caucus,, 7/25/2008 and
Making toxins tasty
, The Ottawa Citizen, 8/11/2008.