March 8, 2021

North Carolina voters aren’t real impressed with Attorney General Josh Stein’s latest attempt to use government to encroach on their personal liberties.  A recent Carolina Partnership for Reform public opinion poll shows voters oppose his plan to ban menthol cigarettes in North Carolina by a wide margin:

Would you support or oppose banning the sale of menthol cigarettes in North Carolina?

                 34%  SUPPORT

                 55%  OPPOSE

                 10%  DON’T KNOW

                    1%  REFUSED

 (February 22-25, 2021 statewide CPRNC survey of 500 registered NC voters) 

During his campaigns, Stein – who eked out two razor-thin wins in elections for Attorney General by dramatically outspending cash-strapped opponents – tried to manufacture an image as a centrist who looks out for regular folks.

So the hundreds of thousands of regular North Carolinians that choose to smoke menthol cigarettes and the thousands of North Carolina farmers and manufacturing workers who depend on the legal sales of menthol cigarettes to put food on their tables and money in their pockets must have been mighty surprised when Stein endorsed a complete ban on menthol cigarettes. That sounds more like California than North Carolina!

Recent academic research shows menthol cigarette bans don’t reduce smoking rates, but there is plenty of evidence that menthol cigarette bans increase illegal activity like smuggling that dramatically reduce state tobacco tax revenues.  That means a menthol cigarette ban will do little for public health while draining state tax coffers and delivering a devastating economic blow to regular folks who depend on tobacco farming and cigarette manufacturing for their livelihoods.

North Carolina farmers and factory workers are the folks that really get burned by a menthol cigarette ban – and even a liberal like Josh Stein ought to know that kind of smoke is hazardous to a politician’s health.