Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition and Others Call on FDA to Abandon Menthol Ban

BROOKLYN, N.Y., July 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition (BAVC), AFEP and community leaders are calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to drop plans to ban menthol cigarettes. BAVC has been active in anti-violence advocacy for over 15 years, and the coalition shares concerns about a menthol ban and the enforcement of such policy. 

BAVC is engaging on this issue after reading a recent article published by the country’s only Black-owned and controlled radio network, American Urban Radio Networks, wherein Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr is referenced expressing her rightful concerns. In addition, BAVC has heard testimony from Black and Brown law enforcement officers that has helped shape our organizations view on this issue. 

The FDA is proposing to ban menthol cigarettes even though upwards of 85% of Black smokers use menthols, meaning the potential negative consequences of banning them would be squarely on the Black community. So, while banning menthol cigarettes might sound like a good public health policy, the disproportionate impact upon one community makes the plan a non-starter.  

Even if the FDA has good intentions with the plan, the ensuing reality will likely be an uptick in violence and over-policing of the Black community. A Black person is already much more likely to be stopped by police than a white person; banning menthols would exacerbate this issue, meaning the policy becomes akin to a new “stop and frisk.” 

To prevent the inevitable uptick in violence against the Black community, smokers and non-smokers alike, BAVC strongly encourages the FDA to rethink this policy before it’s too late. 

“While we understand the intentions behind the proposed policy, we’re afraid that the outcomes when trying to enforce the policy will be dangerous for the Black community and antithetical to progress in criminal justice policy. We are calling on the FDA to reconsider banning menthol cigarettes, and instead, think about all the other potential public health policies that wouldn’t increase violence,” said BAVC President Bruce Green. 

ABOUT: The Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition (BAVC) was founded in 2007. The coalition focuses on combatting all types of violence, such as gun, gang, domestic violence, and others. The Alliance for Fair and Equitable Policy (AFEP) has been tracking criminal justice policy and others since 2021.

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Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition and Others Call on FDA to Abandon Menthol Ban WeeklyReviewer

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