Do yourself a favour and give your neighbourhood menthol smokers a little extra space for a while.
On second thought, make that a lot of extra space.
The federal government has taken the minty winds out of our collectively addicted sails, officially outlawing menthol cigarettes on Oct. 1.
I’ve never lashed out at so many inanimate objects and I’m not sure Netflix will ever feel comfortable chilling with me again after the way I responded when it asked if I was still watching. Thanks Trudeau. For those of you fortunate enough to not be in the know, menthols are mint flavoured cigarettes, although that definition undersells the impact that flavour has on those who smoke them. Take Eddie Vedder’s vocals out of your favourite Pearl Jam song and you’re close.
That mint flavour was, apparently, first infused into cigarettes by an Ohioan in the 1920’s. My lungs were already black by the time I was introduced to them in the early 2000’s, after making one of my many ‘final’ decisions to quit smoking.
I was sitting in the smoke room—yes, kids, us olds used to have those—of my favourite pub and had been in there just long enough to realize I didn’t want to be there anymore. I went to the bartender and asked for the grossest pack of smokes she had, to ensure my memory of this deadly pastime would be as un-fond as possible. Confident they would make me never want to smoke again, she sold me a pack of menthols and, voila, an addiction was reborn.
Ottawa, smartly, doesn’t want youth to share similar origin stories.
The government’s media release announcing the ban suggests, “Menthol masks the irritating effect of tobacco smoke by making it easier to inhale, which facilitates experimentation by youth.”
While the number of smokers hanging around seems to be dwindling, the National Cancer Institute recently released a thoroughly reviewed report that states smokers cost the world’s economies $1 trillion a year. We also wreak havoc on local beaches by flicking our butts in the sand and consistently irk parents whose kids are playing at the parks where we thoughtlessly light up.
We’re not a good team to be on. Joining us should be discouraged and a habit as disgusting as ours should be as irritating to us as it is to those around us. Plus, now that candying up the flavour has justly ceased, maybe some of us will even make that final decision to quit, again.
Respecting the reason won’t ease my unminted angst, but it’s better for me to yell at a lamp that’s in my way than it is for a teen to start a habit that will kill them.