The FDA is proposing or at least considering a nationwide ban on menthol cigarettes. They might just want to consult history before making such a move and perhaps reconsider. They could be looking at some pretty severe unintended consequences, going in with eyes wide shut. Perhaps the consequences are intended, going in with eyes wide open.
When something is banned that the people want they will go to great lengths to get it. The flip side of this is that some will go to great lengths to provide what is in demand even if the government bans it,
You only have to go back in history 102 years for this little lesson. The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, Prohibition. Would men like Al Capone have come to such “prominence” if Prohibition never happened? There are, in my opinion, many large cities that still have a “criminal gang” problem as a result of prohibition. Those Cities are still some of the most violent, Chicago comes to mind, but there are a few if not many others.
With the news of a possible “menthol cigarette prohibition” breaking there is probably some “enterprising individual or group” planning to provide the people with what they want. We may soon see an “Al Capone” of menthol cigarettes. Complete with the violence and murder during and since Prohibition. After all people still wanted an “adult beverage” during Prohibition and people that enjoy menthol cigarettes will still want them.
Here are some things to think over. Right now each pack or carton of menthol cigarettes is taxed, sales tax. Every smoker that purchases “legal” cigarettes pays sales tax. There will no longer be a sales tax gathered from the purchase of menthol smoking products, as sales tax is not collected on the black market. Sales tax revenue to the government would be lost. Make no mistake about it, people will still be buying menthol smoking products. How much income tax did Al Capone and the other “bootleggers” pay on the money they “earned”? The same will be true of those enterprising individuals or groups. They will be “earning” money(income)hand over fist and not paying the first dime in income taxes. Alcohol was taxed prior to Prohibition, with Prohibition the government lost a reliable revenue source. Did I mention that the people engaged in the manufacture of alcohol had jobs and paid taxes on that income. They found themselves unemployed, and with that the government lost even more revenue. The same will be true of those involved in the manufacture of menthol smoking products.
If this ban goes through it will not decrease or eliminate the desire, it will do the same as Prohibition did. It will simply drive it “underground”. “Speakeasies” will make a return. People will “stock up” now even if it means that something else needed will go unfulfilled. Eventually their stock pile will go up in “smoke” and they will rely on the “black market”, “the menthol underground”.
How would they do it? They can’t just ban the sale of menthol cigarettes. They would also have to ban the manufacture, storage, transportation and consumption of menthol products, along with import and export. It would do no good to ban the sale if the manufacturing still existed as this would create a real theft problem not to mention those involved in manufacturing would simply take some out everyday. It would do no good to warehouse them somewhere as that storage facility would become a “tasty” target. And holy cow, transporting a banned substance would just invite a little piracy(hijacking). If you are going to do all of that you have to make consumption, manufacturing, transporting and storage of menthol flavored smoking products a criminal offense. Better get busy building more prisons.
It looks like some in government are once again willing to deprive itself of a reliable revenue source, both the tax on the menthol cigarettes not to mention the income taxes paid by those that were, past tense, employed. And this at a time when they are looking to raise taxes to pay for all of their social programs.
If they do go through with this ban I just wonder if we will be treated to news articles of armed federal agents seizing and destroying large stockpiles of menthol flavored smoking products. If they do proceed with this you can rest assured this will be done for your own good, no matter what happens in the aftermath.
You will notice that this is the plan by the FDA, bureaucrats. If this is such a “crisis” why isn’t Congress attempting to get this done through the legislative process? Well, the answer to that is simple, it would cost them votes if it passed and became law. Bureaucrats are not elected, therefore unaccountable to the voters.