Will Biden’s Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Lead to More Eric Garners?

Screenshot: ABC News
Screenshot: ABC News
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Rev. Al Sharpton and the mother of Eric Garner have taken a stance against the Biden administration’s pending plan to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The civil rights activists say the move could trigger a ripple effect of fatal police interactions.

The Food and Drug Administration sent a menthol ban proposal to the White House for review. The agency’s concern is the overall health of smokers but advocates are focused on how it will improve the health of Black smokers in particular.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton is urging the Biden administration to halt its plan to ban menthol cigarettes, saying the move would only lead to an illicit market and potentially deadly clashes such as the Eric Garner case.

“NAN is uniquely qualified to offer a valuable civil rights perspective on our concerns and the unintended consequences,” said the letter, which lists Sharpton along with NAN Chairman Franklyn Richardson.

The civil-rights leaders asked why federal officials were targeting a ban on menthol cigarettes, which are disproportionately favored by Black smokers, while other cigs smoked by whites were not being outlawed. They said the ban “puts a microscope on minority communities.”

Sharpton argues that the ban will only cause Black Americans to find alternate avenues to locating and smoking menthol. In the letter, smoking was referred to as an “adverse personnel decision” that should not be governed or policed.

“If some people continue to smoke despite all these factors, they should be free to do so,” the letter states.

IDK y’all... This ban has been a decade in the making. It seems more advocates are for it than against it. It will be up to police departments to train officers on how to de-escalate any drama from the sale of a loose cig.

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