Later this week, the Biden administration is set to announce a ban on menthol cigarettes. A restriction of this magnitude raises major red flags for groups who believe it’s targeted particularly to African Americans and will lead to more incarcerations if implemented.
“The administration also is poised to say it will seek to ban menthol and other flavors in mass-produced cigars, including small cigars popular with young people.”
A citizen position in 2013 lobbied the Federal Drug and Food Administration to ban menthol cigarettes and and flavored added to tobacco-related products.
The petition claimed:
Prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes is one of the most powerful steps the FDA can take to improve America’s health. In light of the scientific evidence, there is no justification for continuing to give special treatment to the most deadly of all cigarette flavors. Menthol cigarettes are the source of addiction for nearly half of all teen smokers. Menthol increases the palatability of smoking, especially among youth and members of racial and ethnic populations, and menthol increases the difficulty of quitting.
Certain groups are split on the ban, with some seeing it as a way to help reduce the addiction to cigarettes among communities of color, while others see it as a move that will lead to broader incarceration levels.
However, the Far-Left ACLU and other civil rights groups inundated Biden’s office with letters, pushing back against the ban on menthol cigarettes. The groups argued a move so severe directly and unfairly targets the African American community and will lead to further negative interactions with law enforcement. Given the current anti-police climate following the death of George Floyd and the guilty verdict of his killer, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, any interactions with police are seen as antagonistic against African Americans.
According to FDA statistics, 85.8% of all menthol smokers are African American, so any attempt to outlaw brands like Newport will inevitably result in more interactions with police officers.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney