FDA Menthol Ban: The Wrong Move

This country has a long history of banning products deemed harmful to public health only to have disastrous outcomes (prohibition of alcohol, the war on drugs being two stark examples). Despite that history, the FDA has proposed a new federal mandate criminalizing the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

According to the CDC, approximately 80 percent of Blacks and 35 percent of Latinx adults who smoke prefer menthol cigarettes. Banning a product overwhelmingly used by people of color will simply invite opportunities for negative and potentially deadly interactions with law enforcement. It is a crime in every single U.S. state to sell illicit cigarettes, often a felony. It will be left to state and local police around the country to pursue enforcement actions.

It's time to focus on outcomes that will improve public health outcomes rather than recycle failed prohibitionist policies that will disproportionately impact communities of color.

Cedric Stapleton
Raleigh, NC

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Comments

Agree completely

Sometimes I just shake my head at the short-sightedness of so many policy makers. This is just plain dumb.