Rush Limbaugh's take on the Menthol issue
Congress Gives Big Tobacco a Pass on Menthol in Cigarette Bill
May 13, 2008
RUSH: By the way, ladies and gentlemen, from the New York Times today, this is just too rich. This is just too good. "Some public health experts are questioning why menthol, the most widely used cigarette flavoring and the most popular cigarette choice of African-American smokers, is receiving special protection as Congress tries to regulate tobacco for the first time. The legislation, which would give the Food and Drug Administration the power to oversee tobacco products, would try to reduce smoking's allure to young people by banning most flavored cigarettes, including clove and cinnamon. But those new strictures would exempt menthol -- even though menthol masks the harsh taste of cigarettes for beginners and may make it harder for the addicted to kick the smoking habit.
"For years, public health authorities have worried that menthol might be a factor in high cancer rates in African-Americans. The reason menthol is seen as politically off limits, despite those concerns, is that 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. 'I would have been in favor of banning menthol,' said Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, who supports the bill. 'But as a practical matter that simply wasn't doable.'"
Do you see where this is going, folks? Have you connected the dots on this already? "Menthol is particularly controversial because public health authorities have worried about its health effects on African-Americans. Nearly 75 percent of black smokers use menthol brands, compared with only about one in four white smokers." Now, some of you might be saying, "Why? Why are they exempting menthol from the ban on flavored cigarettes?" (laughing) You think about it, folks. You think about it, and I'll clue you in when we get back.
RUSH: Okay, have you had enough time here to think about, ladies and gentlemen, why indeed the US Congress is going to exempt menthol flavoring from the ban on flavored cigarettes, especially when you find out that 75% of menthol cigarettes are purchased by African-Americans? Can you imagine what's going to happen when the Reverend Jeremiah Wright finds out about this? When the Reverend Jeremiah Wright finds out that 75% of blacks smoke menthol flavored cigarettes and that menthol is the only flavoring that's not going to be banned, what do you think he's going to charge? He's going to say that this is a planned genocide against African-Americans who smoke by the US government in this country, and would he be wrong? May I speak boldly here? We keep hearing, and we have heard, for years and years and years, that cigarette smoking kills, that tobacco kills. During these years, during these decades, what have we done? We have not banned the product, have we? No. We have banned the places it can be used, but we have not banned the product. In fact, we have increased taxes on the product.
We used the taxes on the sale of tobacco product -- let's talk cigarettes here, for example -- to fund health care programs and other wasteful government spending. In fact, the tobacco settlements were all about socializing tobacco company profits. Governments routinely have looted these piles of money that states collected in the tobacco settlement plan. They will not ban the program. They will not ban the product, even though the product kills. They keep restricting how it can be used. But they keep adding taxes to it to fund government programs. If it kills, if it is this deadly, and if it raises health care costs and all these things, then why are only the cigarettes smoked by blacks going to continue to be made? Hmm? It kills. Now, some of you might be saying, "No, Rush, you're wrong," and Jeremiah Wright would be wrong. They're just afraid of reaction from the black population. They need the black votes and they're not going to disturb anything. Okay, let's go with that theory. I don't care which theory you use. I don't care which answer you use. It still proves that those in government who say they're out to save lives are lying to us.
They're not about saving lives. They're about raising taxes. It's about increasing government revenue. It's about keeping people addicted to these things. And once again, here are the superdelegates all concerned that if they took the nomination away from Obama, that it would cause a fissure, a permanent fissure in the Democrat Party and the Democrats would lose the support of blacks every four years during a presidential race, and I kept saying no, no, no, no, no, to the superdelegates. You have nothing to worry about. You have done far worse than that to the black population. You have destroyed the black family with your welfare programs and the Great Society and the war on poverty. You have done far more damage to the black population of this country than you would by pulling the nomination from Obama, and here's another example. They're gonna ban all the flavorings in cigarettes except menthol 'cause 75% of blacks smoke menthol? (laughing) You just have to laugh because these people will show us who they are each and every day
RUSH: We go to Rockford, Illinois. This is David. Thank you for waiting, sir. You're next.
CALLER: Morning, Rush. Nice to talk to you today.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Good afternoon, actually. I was calling up about your statements earlier regarding the cigarettes, the menthols for black people. I think it's not so much that they're trying to target black people, which, you know, they're targeting anybody to make a profit, but they want to keep their menthol, their flavored cigarettes as the only flavored cigarettes that are exempt so they can make even more profit.
RUSH: Oh! So it's a Big Tobacco scheme?
CALLER: Yeah, just to keep making more money.
RUSH: I see. I see. So the government ban, the government ban on all the other flavors besides menthol really is not true. This is Big Tobacco scheming to get rid of the cinnamon and the clove flavored cigarettes 'cause they're not profitable, stick with the menthol, which is profitable?
CALLER: Make more profit.
RUSH: Yeah, but the problem is that Big Tobacco is being told by government that they have to ban all but menthol. It's government making this decision.
CALLER: Well, do all the big major ones, do they all make menthol? I know the big major ones make menthol, but do all the big major ones make clove and cinnamon and --
RUSH: They do, but you're missing the point, nobody smokes clove or cinnamon. It's not a big deal anymore, but 75% of black smokers smoke menthol cigarettes. Everywhere in the country we're trying to dissuade people from smoking cigarettes. Smoking flavored cigarettes is said to be an enticement to young churrin because it masks the harsh flavor of a normal cigarette. But we're going to leave menthol in there so we're encouraging African-Americans to smoke. Of course there's profit in it. But this is crystal clear. The very liberals who claim to want the best for our minorities make it possible for them to continue to get menthol flavored cigarettes which they smoke, you know, 75%, and we know what they all say about tobacco and nicotine cigarettes, and it kills, causes cancer. So the government's firmly standing behind cancer for blacks via menthol cigarettes. They want all the other people -- white people -- who smoke cinnamon and clove flavor to quit because they won't be able to get their little candy cigarettes. But the black people are going to be able to keep getting their candy cigarettes. So the government, the liberal government saves the white people and kills the black people via cigarettes. I'm telling you, wait 'til Jeremiah Wright hears about this, or wait 'til his substitute whatever new preacher at the Trinity Church. When they hear about this, I want to see that sermon.