Former German leader Helmut Schmidt buys 38,000 menthol cigarettes to avoid EU ban

The former German Chancellor apparently stockpiles 200 cartons of menthol cigarettes at a time, according to a speech by SDP candidate Peer Steinbruck

by The Commentator on 9 July 2013 14:26


Following the announcement of a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes from the European Union, the former German Chancellor and avid-smoker Helmut Schmidt is reported to have purchased 200 cartons, around 38,000 (!) menthol cigarettes so that he may continue enjoying one of his favourite pasttimes.

A carton of Reyno Menthols, Schmidt's brand of choice, can cost around £30.40, meaning that Schmidt's purchase could easily have run him a bill of over £6,080, or $8,977 USD. 

The news comes following reports of an agreed ban on menthol cigarettes as well as the consideration of a ban on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, under the auspices of the Tobacco Directive, which restricts the freedom to smoke, claiming that the European Union is aiming to prevent young people from "starting a smoking habit that kills 700,000 people every year in the EU."

The main strategy was to ban cigarettes, such as slims and menthols, which are deemed to be either attractive to young people or make it easier for them to start smoking.

However, proposals by the European Commission for a ban on slim cigarettes were not passed.

Schmidt is known to get away with smoking in places he is not supposed to, according to Der Spiegel, which reports that the 94-year-old has gotten away with the habit in television studios around, or in, congress halls. 

The relevation of Schmidt's hoarding tactic was made by Peer Steinbrück, the German Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor. He related the anecdote on Monday at a campaign event in Karlsruhe.

Steinbrück used the anecdote to attack the "intolerable regulatory frenzy" of Brussels. He said: "The EU Commission must be dissuaded from trying to regulate everything in detail."

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