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Cigarette Legislation Alive With Pleasure

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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A GIFT FROM THE MAN Cigarettes This morning's New York Times carries a front page article about congressional legislation giving the FDA oversight of tobacco. The bill "would try to reduce smoking's allure to young people by banning most flavored cigarettes, including clove and cinnamon." But—and of course there's a but—it exempts menthol, even though, as the article points out, "menthol masks the harsh taste of cigarettes for beginners and may make it harder for the addicted to kick the smoking habit." Why?

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"Mentholated brands are so crucial to the American cigarette industry. They make up more than one-fourth of the $70 billion American cigarette market and are becoming increasingly important to the industry leader, Philip Morris USA, without whose lobbying support the legislation might have no chance of passage."

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