Policies that amount to prohibition have serious racial justice implications.
"No one thinks smoking is a good idea, but as a former drug cop, these bans do not reduce use. We don't need more reasons for police to stop young Black and Brown men. Bans do not work. Public education works to reduce smoking. Let's do what works instead of putting people in handcuffs and endangering lives."
"My family knows only too well what can happen when police enforce tobacco control laws. Black people have already paid too high a price for discriminatory laws."
"Banning menthols preferred by over 80% of African Americans who choose to smoke is racial profiling because the ban does not apply to cigarettes preferred by white smokers."
"This ban will continue to perpetuate health and policing disparities in communities of color instead of alleviating either problem. Smoking rates are down across demographics - that wasn't achieved through bans. It was achieved through public education campaigns and proven cessation methods."
The FDA proposed a ban prohibiting menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes. Before this ban was proposed, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), along with a bipartisan coalition of subject matter experts from various civil rights, drug policy, and law enforcement organizations, sent a letter to Secretary Xavier Beccara of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and Commissioner Robert Califf of the US FDA stating that such a ban would adversely impact people of color and trigger unnecessary criminal penalties.
The idea that we should ban menthol flavored cigarettes, the preferred choice of Black smokers, disregards the tension between police and communities of color.
Tobacco-Related Bans in the News
- Taser Used to Detain Teen Vaping at Atlanta Skate Park, Cops Say
- Flavored Tobacco Bans Won't Achieve Desired Outcomes
- Raising Cigarette Tax Will Further Stress Relationship Between Police, Vulnerable Communities | COMMENTARY
- Opinion: Education Will End Smoking Without Driving Up Illegal Sales. Banning Flavored Tobacco in San Jose Will Only Send Product Underground