NEW YORK — Word spread quickly Friday among New York City’s health and community advocates about the City Council’s potential failure to pass a bill banning menthol flavor tobacco products.
For one community advocate, Shanequa Charles, the banning of menthol is personal. One reason, she said, is that her daughter “doesn’t have a grandma” due to the products.
“My mother died at the age of 57 from fourth-stage lung cancer with metastases to all four regions of her brain,” she said. “That’s something that could have been avoided.”
The bill banning menthol has the backing of a large coalition of community based support, and several sponsors on the council. Still, it has yet to pass.
The New York City Health Department website features a section on menthol tobacco product, which states two out of three young people who smoke in New York City start with menthol or another flavored tobacco product.
Michael Davoli, director of government relations with the American Cancer Society, said the impact is especially felt in communities of color.
“Over the next two years, over 300,000 young people of color will become addicted smokers as a result of the City Council’s failure to act,” he said.