Leadership Council for Healthy Communities (LCHC) refutes opposition to a Menthol ban

WASHINGTON - Dec. 20, 2023 - PRLog -- Washington, DC - Today, the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities (LCHC) announced its rebuttal to claims of opposition and turmoil among the African-American community.

Concerns continue to be raised about the increase of policing in Black and other communities of color as an unintended consequence of the proposed menthol ban; therefore, community leaders, representatives, and individuals alike have begun to oppose the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed standards to prohibit menthol. These reported claims are simply not true. We know that prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes will not increase the likelihood of policing in Black and other communities of color because they have access to cigarettes received from an illicit market.

There has "not been one individual or persons arrested for possessing a menthol cigarette," says Dr. Phil G. Gardiner of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC). The states of California and Massachusetts have already banned the sale of menthol cigarettes, and local municipalities across the country have greatly restricted their sales with much success. It is unfortunate that organizations are using the late Eric Garner's cause of death as a mechanism to draw attention to this proposed ban rather than the need for police reform and accountability. It should be noted that this proposed ban will not target the enforcement of individuals but manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and distributors.

For far too long, African Americans have been subjected to predatory marketing practices by the tobacco industry that fostered a systematic contribution to tobacco-related disparities observed today. The FDA is taking action to reduce tobacco-related deaths and diseases associated with menthol cigarette use.

Access to cigarettes, specifically menthol cigarettes, and their sensory properties reinforce smoking, increase the uptake of nicotine and toxic smoke components, and discourage cessation. Banning menthol as a flavored product will only increase a greater chance of living and ultimately reduce tobacco-related disparities.

Additionally, the tobacco industry has continued to target youth with flavored tobacco products. Because we cannot end the tobacco epidemic without preventing the initiation among young people, programs must engage in tobacco prevention efforts. Youth can be powerful allies to help communicate the impact of tobacco use on young people, implement effective tobacco control strategies, and shift social norms around tobacco use in their communities.

To protect Black Health, we must:

ELIMINATE predatory marketing of menthol and other flavored tobacco products to vulnerable populations, dense advertising, and sponsorships from tobacco companies for African American events

ACKNOWLEDGE the historical racism that has left African Americans unprotected.

REJECT the tobacco industry's counterfeit role as a Black community ally, and

FIGHT against the sale and marketing of menthols.


Edrin Williams
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