June 1, 2021, was the one year anniversary of the illogical ban on flavored tobacco, mainly menthol cigarettes. The advocates behind the ban said it would save our teenagers from nicotine addiction. There's not an iota of proof that this forbiddance saved anyone. There's just no data to substantiate that dishonest claim.

These same desperate advocates disclosed that the Black community overwhelmingly smokes menthol cigarettes. That's correct. I found out that even though there's little difference in the overall smoking rate between Blacks and whites, 85 percent of Black smokers use menthol products.

But non-menthol cigarettes are just as deadly as their flavored peers. So why are the products used by a majority of Black smokers banned from sale, when white smokers can continue to legally purchase their cigarettes of choice?

Supporters of the ban claim possession and use of menthol cigarettes isn't a crime; only the sale of the products is a crime.

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The negative impacts of this asinine menthol and flavored tobacco ban are also reflected in the fact that we taxpayers forfeited $140 million in revenues this past year. And in case you missed the memo, cigarette sales skyrocketed in neighboring states and a new, lucrative, all-cash underground market has materialized in the Commonwealth.

I hope the Massachusetts legislature takes notice, because this prohibition is clearly failing to deliver as intended. In the early 1900s, we were the first state to ban recreational marijuana. I hope it doesn't take the state 100 years to reverse this misguided policy.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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