FDA’s Menthol Cigarette Ban Potentially Destroying Black Jobs

young man in headphones smoking in car

WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — With a recession looming, inflation at the highest point since the 1980’s, higher gasoline, housing and food costs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still proposing a ban on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and vapes; and Menthol Is Not A Crime has linked the ban to future Black job loss and the FDA’s continuing institutional racism. 

Since 85% of menthol smokers are Black, at first glance, this might seem like a good way to decrease spending and increase savings amongst people of color, but it will lead to job loss and small businesses closing.

… at least one employee from each convenience store or upwards of 150K employees would lose their jobs.”

Thomas Briant, Executive Director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets said, “18 million adult consumers buy menthol cigarettes and approximately 4.7million flavored cigars.” With the ban, “…stores will be forced to reduce employee hours, layoff workers and tobacco stores will go out of business… Retailers will not be able to maintain current employment levels… at least one employee from each convenience store or upwards of 150K employees would lose their jobs.” 

John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association, added, “Banning menthol will only lead to fewer Black tobacco farmers in this country– hurting and taking away income from rural communities. Tobacco is still a major crop in states, like Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina. We cannot allow the FDA to eliminate not one more Black farmer in this country.”

Randy Fulk, Representative of The Bakery and Confectionery Workers International Union of America (BCTGM) that represents thousands of workers who produce tobacco and make tobacco supplies stated, “Our workers are 40-60% African American. The ban would affect the same people that this proposal is supposed to help because they will lose their jobs. None of the manufactures can stay in business if they lose 40% of their business.” 

Compounding inflation with a recession in 2023 that “seems more likely than not,” according to Jay Bryson, Wells Fargo’s Chief Economist; and the current pandemic economic recovery, in which “Black men consistently experience significantly higher unemployment rates than white men,” according to the Center for American Progress– it is clear that the menthol ban will only lead to Black job loss, perpetuate the systemic racism and contribute to the long term economic decline of people of color, in Rural America.  

 The public has until August 2 to submit a written comment via www.mentholisnotacrime.com.

SOURCE Menthol Is Not A Crime