However, not all groups are there. The ACLU and several other organizations wrote to the top health officials in the country urging them to reconsider.
“This ban will lead to criminal sanctions that will disproportionately affect people of color, in addition to prioritizing criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter says. “The ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
The letter says the proposed ban is “well-intentioned,” but states that any effort to reduce death and tobacco-related illnesses “should avoid solutions that will create another reason for the armed police to involve citizens on the street based on -be under a pretext or conduct that does not pose a threat to public safety. “
Instead of a ban, organizations said, policymakers should consider increased education for adults and minors, smoking cessation programs, and more funding for health centers in colorful communities.
However, the Biden administration insisted that banning menthol would have many positive aspects. FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, said in a statement that banning menthol “will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of quitting among current smokers, and address the health disparities experienced.” by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ + people, all of whom are much more likely to use these tobacco products. “
The FDA cited data showing that in the first year or so after the ban went into effect, they would stop smoking an additional 923,000, including 230,000 African Americans. Another study suggests that 633,000 deaths would be avoided, including 237,000 black Americans.
Woodcock added that, “Armed with strong scientific evidence and with the full support of the [Biden] administration, we believe that these actions will start us on a path towards the end of tobacco-related diseases and deaths in the United States. “
The FDA estimates that 18.6 million Americans who now smoke smoke menthol cigarettes, with a disproportionately high number of blacks. Consumption of menthol cigarettes among black and Hispanic youth increased from 2011 to 2018, but decreased for non-Hispanic white youth.
Flavored mass-produced cigars and cigarettes are disproportionately popular among young people, especially non-Hispanic black high school students, who in 2020 reported smoking cigarettes for 30 days at levels twice as high as their white counterparts, he said. the FDA. Three-quarters of 12- to 17-year-olds report smoking cigars because they like the flavors. In 2020, more young people tried a cigarette every day than a cigarette, the agency reports.