Health

The proposed menthol ban separates black leaders

Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights lawyer with Ben Cramp, and relatives of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in 2020, argue that the rules, if enacted, would give law enforcement another target. Black People – Potentially endanger the lives of blacks.

“We said, ‘Everyone should take into account the unintended consequences.’ Imagine a policeman pulling a child and saying, “Where did you buy or buy a Kool cigarette?” Sharpton told POLITICO on Thursday after the FDA announced. “People are not going to quit smoking in Newport and cult because of the rule. They will go and get those who go to the street to the black market. So what happens? That’s all I ask for. “

Members of the black group in Congress are divided, but an aide to the group said that pressure from civil rights leaders in recent weeks “has made members think more about the potential unintended consequences.”

“The proposed ban could also have serious economic and criminal implications for communities across the country,” he said. Donald McEchin (D-va.), The statement said. It “disproportionately affects African Americans and low-income societies, and tobacco products that are commonly used by mostly white or wealthy people are unchecked.” Makechin passed a law banning menthol cigarettes.

But the CBC had long been divided over the sale of menthol cigarettes, and many members were quick to praise the Biden administration’s efforts.

“I have seen the results of the tobacco industry in my family and throughout my life, specifically targeting the black community in America,” – Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) The statement reads. “It’s time to ban menthol cigarettes, which are highly addictive.”

The FDA plans to host hearings in June to address many of these issues.

Menthol cigarette, characterized by a mint aroma that hides the pungent taste of tobacco and allows for deep breathing. More than a third of cigarette sales in 2018According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. More than eight out of 10 black smokers use menthol cigarettes, in part because of targeted advertisements and promotions by tobacco companies.

As a result, these individuals have more health consequences from smoking than people of other races and ethnicities. A 2021 study found that while black Americans make up 12 percent of the population, they accounted for 41 percent of life lost due to menthol cigarettes from 1980 to 2018 and 50 percent of years lost due to menthol cigarettes.

In a statement, NAACP President Derrick Johnson praised the administration for the proposed rules. “The effects of menthol were devastating and devastating for so many blacks,” it said. “Big Tobacco is specifically targeting our communities, and we’re tired of it.”

But concerns about chronic illness do not replace for many a more immediate fear of a potential law enforcement crackdown that could lead to arrest, imprisonment, or violence.

“The FDA has made it very public that they have no intention of blaming people who simply own menthol products, but they do not understand the connection between on-site enforcement and law enforcement,” said Diane Goldstein, chairman. Law Enforcement Partnership Council, a nonprofit group focused on criminal justice and drug policy reform. LEAP has received funding from RJ Reynolds, a company that manufactures Newport menthol cigarettes, but says it does so because it is a nonprofit group and that donations do not influence policy positions.

Public health experts fear that if the ban is delayed, the real beneficiaries will be tobacco companies.

“Combining police violence with public health measures such as getting rid of menthol is somehow polluting the whole water,” said Philip Gardiner, co-chair of the African-American Tobacco Control Board. “What will have the greatest impact on the lives of blacks and save the lives of blacks will be the direct removal of menthol cigarettes and scented cigars from the black community.”

His group is one of more than ten That asked the FDA Ban on menthol cigarettes in 2013 to protect black lives. The group filed a lawsuit against the FDA in 2020, claiming it failed to take significant action against menthol. In November last year, a judge decided to suspend the case until June on the grounds that the FDA had issued those rules earlier.

Gardiner argues that FDA actions should be backed up by additional tools to help black smokers quit.

Nevertheless, many fear that proponents of this ban attach too much importance to one type of threat and insufficient to another.

“I have been a civil rights lawyer for more than 25 years, but I have been black all my life,” said Cramp, a civil rights lawyer. “There is a difference between theory and reality. The reality is that we know that when you make laws and such, then you have local and state actors using these weapons to marginalize blacks.

The proposed menthol ban separates black leaders

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