WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — Mounting opposition to the proposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and vapes has broad support, and Menthol Is Not a Crime is highlighting discrimination and other reasons why leaders have voiced their concern prior to the end of the FDA comment period on August 2.
Since 85% of menthol smokers are Black, many in the community oppose the ban– not because they encourage smoking, but because of the unintended consequences of making anything illegal that a preponderance of a historically discriminated against group uses without criminal justice reform.
“When you ban a product sold mostly in black communities… but do not have the same ban in other communities, you must consider… the reality of what will happen to that very same overrepresented community in the criminal justice system,” wrote the family members of police brutality victims and The Mothers of the Movement Members, Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin) and Philonise Floyd (brother of George Floyd).
Others, like Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) believe that the ban will likely, “…exacerbate existing, simmering issues around Stop and Frisk, racial profiling, discrimination, and policing.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “… any prohibition on menthol and flavored tobacco products promises continued over-criminalization and mass incarceration of people of color. A ban on menthol and flavored tobacco products could reintroduce many of the harms imposed by the failed war on drugs as lawmakers work to legalize cannabis and take a public health approach to opioids.”
The economic implications of such a ban will also disproportionately hurt Black farmers and jobs.
John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association said, “This menthol ban will most certainly ensure there will not be a seventh generation of Black farmers in their families. Even worse, the Biden menthol ban will make my family’s longest enduring tradition a gateway for our future incarceration. The Biden menthol ban will kill Black farming in America.”
Thomas Briant, Executive Director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets points out the ban will lead to, “significant revenue declines and lost jobs.”
We must tell the FDA to continue with education, treatment and counseling to stop smoking, not criminalization. Visit www.mentholisnotacrime.com to comment on the FDA website by August 2.
SOURCE Menthol Is Not A Crime