Controversy: Pack of Newport’s and a bag of Bon-Ton Potato Chips

First… if you are a mom, I want to wish you a belated Happy Mother’s Day. Being a parent, especially being a mom, is very difficult. You’re usually the one who holds the family together, and that’s not an easy thing to do, especially in today’s day and age. My best and warmest wishes to you.

Now on with today’s thoughts, which may be somewhat controversial:

This is interesting… There’s a bill on the table that’s supposed to, in some way, either eliminate or regulate flavored tobaccos. Things like strawberry and vanilla cigarettes (I didn’t even know these existed), and clove cigarettes. The thought process is, these are the tobaccos that attract lots of young kids, and that if these flavors are regulated or eliminated, less kids will smoke.

I smoked cigarettes when I was a kid. Both my parents smoked like small chimneys ablaze during winter, and so it was pretty common to me.

I first started smoking when I was around 12 or 13, and oddly enough, the first cigs I smoked were, in fact, Jakarta Clove Cigarettes. They tasted sweet, and I didn’t think they were as harmful as conventional tobacco cigarettes, so it was easy to rationalize lighting them up.

And since I grew up in the Bronx, this was pretty much around the same age most of the kids started smoking and drinking and doing things like that. Remember, this was misery city — not much optimism going on there, at least not in my neighborhood and in my household.

Anyway, I can also tell you that if Jakarta or any other “starter” cigarette wasn’t around, I’d have just smoked what was available. So I don’t think this bill is going to do anything other than give the manufacturers of these brands, a hard time, financially and ragulation-wise — which is what it often seems the government is best at doing.

After a few months of this, I then graduated to Marlboro’s, and then later on, to Marlboro Lights. Maybe I was looking to get cancer slower as I got older, who knows? (You couldn’t pay me enough money to smoke even one cigarette today, by the way.)

Now here’s something that’s interesting, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the politicians. It has to do with black smokers.

When I was 20, just before I graduated college and left home, I worked in my local candy store. Most of the black smokers who came in to buy cigarettes, smoked menthols. So, the younger customers who came in to the store would tell the guys like me behind the counter, “Pack of Newport’s and a bag of Bon-Ton Potato Chips.”

And the older black smokers would buy brands like Newport’s, Kool’s, and Salem. It was kind of funny, in a way. You’d rarely see a black or Spanish person smoking Marlboro’s, and you’d rarely see a white person smoking menthol. In fact, Newport’s and Marlboro’s were sort of racial badges of honor amongst young “tough guy” smokers.

Stupid, right?

Like I said, the government isn’t unaware of this. In fact, the cigarette industry reports that 80% of all black smokers, smoke menthol cigarettes. And overall, black smokers make up 15% of the entire smoking population.

So my question is, why doesn’t this bill include some sort of ban on mentholated cigarettes? After all, it’s also an established fact that mentholated cigarettes are far more addictive and carcinogenic than their non-mentholated counterparts.

I’m not trying to imply the government is on a mission to endorse or assist in the early elimination of the black race — so don’t go thinking “conspiracy theory” here or anything like that. That’s not what this is about.

What I am saying, is that this bill seems to be nothing more than a fake attempt at placating constituents, without really doing anything productive. The politicians behind the bill are also saying they don’t want to “push” too hard by asking for “too much,” or else the bill won’t get through.

You can only assume, that’s because the cigarette industry lobbyists are incredibly influential.

Things like this really make you wonder what’s really going through politicians minds, no?

Who’re really running the country?

Is it us? Politicians? Lobbyists? The media? Paris Hilton?

Gosh, this gives you a headache, doesn’t it?

If you want more information about this topic, go to the New York Times website at and search for “Cigarette Bill Treats Menthol With Leniency” and you’ll see the article.

Tomorrow we’ll get back on track with some marketing and copywriting stuff that’ll blow your mind. Sometimes though, it’s important to think about other things, too.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S. Here’s something else that will make you think: It’s why some people become incredibly successful, and why others flounder around for years “thinking” about success but never really doing anything to move forward:

If you enjoyed this, pass it on to a few of your friends and business associates, and if you have any comments about today’s message, it’s important you leave them right here on my blog:

About the Author

Craig GarberAuthor of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers, " and publisher of Seductive Selling - an offline marketing newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. In a nutshell, I do two things: 1. I show you how to attract a reliable, steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are ready to do business with you NOW... 2. And I increase your net profits and cash-flow, by increasing your customer, client, or patient value -- often, dramatically. How do I do this? By developing, and helping you implement, unique, personalized lead generation and marketing strategies... using compelling sales messages that push your customers emotional buy-buttons. I've worked with over 300 clients in more than 104 different industries, since March of 2000, and I really enjoy what I do. I'm a stable, reliable, happily married family guy with three kids who loves life and always follows through on my commitments and promises. I love to listen to music, workout, read, travel with my family, take pictures, and go bass fishing. I always say "Yes," when it comes to good cigars, good books, and good coffee :-)