NEW YORK (PIX11) – A recommendation from the FDA to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes has been delivered to the White House, one of the last steps before approval.
Menthols are the overwhelming choice among Black smokers. Supporters of the ban say it will improve health in Black communities.
But the chorus to stop the ban is growing louder. Rev. Al Sharpton is the latest to join in, sending a letter to the FDA questioning why the ban targets cigarettes favored by Black smokers while not outlawing cigarettes favored by white smokers.
The criticism goes beyond that. Some liken the proposed ban to racial profiling.
Gwen Carr lost her son Eric in 2014 after he was put in a fatal chokehold during a police encounter for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island. She has been outspoken about the ban on menthol cigarettes, saying it will only set Black communities up for more conflicts with police.
The National Action Network, led by Sharpton, also echoed concerns about increased police encounters.
Those who support the ban say companies that make menthol-flavored cigarettes prey on Black communities.
The White House Office of Budget and Management is interviewing experts. The agency is expected to decide in three months.