Former German Chancellor Hoards 38,000 Menthol Cigarettes
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Former Chancellor of West Germany Helmut Schmidt is well-stocked in anticipation of a possible EU ban on his one vice—menthol cigarettes. According to a fellow Social Democratic Party (SPD) member, Schmidt has hoarded 200 cartons (about 38,000 cigarettes) of his preferred brand, Reyno, in his home—enough to last the 94-year-old on a pack a day until he turns 100. Upon learning that EU health ministers in Brussels are considering a ban on menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products to reduce the "attractiveness" of cigarettes for children, Schmidt was reportedly "horrified." The lifelong smoker immediately spent more than £6,080 ($8,977) on his emergency stash. Schmidt, who is known for his brazen chain-smoking at press conferences, receptions, parties, and lectures, was busted in 2008 for defying a public smoking ban in a Hamburg theatre just days after it was enacted. Peer Steinbrück—the SPD party's candidate for chancellor who will run against Angela Merkel in this fall's German general election—cited Schmidt's cigarette-hoarding in his argument against the EU's "unbearable regulation frenzy." Steinbrück has also stocked up in anticipation of another EU ban—in his case, by purchasing hundreds of rare French lightbulbs.