The Biden Administration’s goal to eliminate the sale and use of menthol cigarettes is raising alarms among critics who believe it disproportionately impacts the Black community. Recent statistics shed light on this issue. A 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that a staggering 85% of menthol smokers are Black.
In a recent interview with The New York Post, Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, expressed her concerns regarding New York state’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes. Garner, as many may recall, tragically lost his life after being put in a chokehold by a New York City police officer. Officers were aware of Garner’s involvement in selling cigarettes. Carr warns that a prohibition on menthol cigarettes could have “unintended consequences.”
The Food and Drug Administration, responsible for implementing this policy, claims that by making tobacco-related diseases and deaths part of America’s past, they are working towards a healthier future. However, given the overwhelming number of menthol cigarette users are in the Black community, questions arise as to why this particular demographic appears to be targeted directly.
Critics argue that the proposed ban may lead to the creation of a black market for menthol cigarettes, potentially further exposing various communities to criminal activity. The Biden administration’s decision has ignited an ongoing debate surrounding public health measures and their potential impact on marginalized communities.
A final decision is expected to be announced in August.
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