WASHINGTON, July 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In addition to over 200,000 comments opposing the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and vapes, Menthol Is Not A Crime has uncovered a grassroots movement opposing the ban, ranging from clergy to law enforcement to farmers to small business owners to everyday current and former smokers. This mounting group of community leaders is growing and becoming increasingly active across the U.S.
Clergy With A Candle, a civil rights organization highlighting inequities in American society, is traveling to Washington, D.C. this month to meet with Georgia’s federal lawmakers to outline how misguided the ban is and its historic implications including redlining, stop-and-frisk, and mandatory minimums.
“… 85% of Black and Brown smokers favor menthol cigarettes and a ban targeting this kind of cigarette will potentially create an illegal underground market that disproportionately places Black and Brown Americans in the crosshairs of the criminal justice system,” said Rev. Shanan Jones, President of Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta.
Last month, the National Black Farmers Association held a Fish Fry in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, candidate for Congress, Sandy Smith spoke to over 55 local farmers stating that the ban is, “targeting our Black Community and it’s wrong…. We have bigger fish to fry.”
Francis Armstrong, owner of Blue Riding Tobacco, which has seven stores and employs 39 people, the majority of whom are Black, stated that, “…70% of our sales are from tobacco products and accessories… If the regulations were to go into effect, I estimate that we will lose 80% of the sales,” and “..we will be forced to shut doors and send our employees to the unemployment line.”
The growing dissatisfaction only increases in the law enforcement community that is extremely concerned with how this ban will be implemented.
Corey Pegues, a retired NYPD Deputy Inspector, in speaking about crack and cocaine during the War on Drugs voiced his concern stating, ” the Black and Brown community is still dealing with people in jails and families disbanded… Police officers will use the menthol ban to start engaging men and women,” as a tool of enforcing other crimes.
Only through joining the growing coalition opposing the ban, can we fight for our community. The public has until August 2 to submit a written comment via the FDA website at https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/FDA-2021-N-1349-0001.
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SOURCE Menthol Is Not A Crime