WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering many bans on tobacco and vape products, but the only one that targets people of color is the proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and vapes, of which menthol cigarettes are the preferred choice of 85% Black people, and Menthol Is Not A Crime is shedding light on the hypocrisy of the ban, the outrage of everyday people.
The ironic part of the FDA’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes is that it is the only one of their currently proposed tobacco restrictions that disproportionately affects the Black, Latino, Asian American and the LGBTQ+ communities. The FDA’s plan to limit nicotine levels will be applicable to all cigarettes. The Juul ban, which is currently under court injunction, is only for all Juul e-cigarette products.
Akelei Davis of North Carolina also questioned why Black people are being penalized, “If the FDA really wanted to help the Black community, then they would ban all cigarettes to help all communities. Banning only menthols and flavored cigars means that people of color communities will once again be targeted by the government.”
The proposed ban will wreak havoc in the Black community due to increased police interactions and unintended consequences that will bring.
Attorney Ben Crump who represented George Floyd’s family said, “… think about the unexpected consequences since most Black people smoke menthol cigarettes, how it’s going to be a pretextual reason. Like, the police can tell if the cigarette you’re smoking is menthol or not… While we have been told that Black smokers will not be criminalized for possessing menthol cigarettes, that does not match our experience with other cigarette policies.”
Former Police Chief John I. Dixon III and former President of National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) stated, “During the ‘War on Drugs’ more Black and Brown people went to jail” and “About 90% of people targeted by stop and frisk were Black and Brown people.”
Instead of criminalizing and imprisoning historically discriminated against and marginalized communities, the U.S. should help create more equity in society. Unfortunately, that will not happen unless we act.
We need the Biden Administration to rescind the menthol cigarette ban to protect both women and Black people.
The public has until August 2 to submit a written comment via the FDA website at https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/FDA-2021-N-1349-0001.
SOURCE Menthol Is Not A Crime