‘It’s worse than crack’

October 23, 2007

Well no scientist has just flat out said cigarettes are worse than crack. But they do agree,

tobacco is highly addictive. It is considered mood and behavior altering. Tobacco is believed to have an addictive potential comparable to alcohol, cocaine, and morphine.

Now that certainly should qualify as reason enough to not go near the cause for lung cancer. Or quit, if currently smoking. So who could still be blazing?

Even as antismoking campaigns have sharply reduced tobacco use in society at large, smoking has remained far more common among the poor of all races. (link)

In fact,

Officials (in Baltimore) said they were surprised when a recent study suggested that more than half of poor, black young adults smoke cigarettes — almost always menthol, almost always Newports.

It doesn’t exactly make sense (at first glance) that poor black folks would be smoking cigarettes when a pack’s price tag is attached to a new tax every week. Add to that, if they are loyal to certain brands, they are likely paying whatever price asked for.

Reason being is simple. You only need one cigarette at a time. So if ‘loosies’ are available fairly easily, you can afford the habit.

Outside subway stops and bars in parts of this blighted city, slouching hustlers mutter “loosies, loosies” to passers-by, offering quick transactions, 50 cents a stick or three for a dollar.


Out-of-package sales are common in the poor areas of many cities, an adaptation to meager, erratic incomes and rising cigarette taxes. But researchers say they are just one facet of a high smoking rate among low-income urban blacks.

But why Menthol and Newport? It’s a terrible stereotype we’ve seen played over and over again on “The Dave Chapelle Show.”

For a mix of cultural reasons as well as targeted marketing, menthol cigarettes are particularly favored by blacks: 75 percent of blacks nationwide smoke them, compared with less than 30 percent of whites.

In the 1960s, Kools dominated the market. But Newports, with a lower menthol level that many say feels smoother, and backed by marketing including the green “Newport Pleasure!” posters in nearly every deli and gas station here, have taken a strong lead in many cities.

So in laymen terms: its cheap and this minority community is unfairly being marketed without proper information.

A resident of the Montebello alleys, Antonio Stokes, 39, who was vague about how he made money, agreed. Of the Newport he bummed off a friend the other evening, he said: “It’s worse than crack. They should have a detox center for these things, too.

Well said stokes.


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