Home News N.Y. must ban menthol cigarettes: Washington stalls so Albany must act

N.Y. must ban menthol cigarettes: Washington stalls so Albany must act

A year ago, to her credit, Gov. Hochul tried to have New York ban menthol flavored cigarettes, which cause disproportionate sickness and death in the Black population. But there was a heavy lobbying effort in Albany by the tobacco cartel cloaked under the guise of civil rights that a ban, as some other states have, would somehow harm the African-American community.

The lies worked, as did the argument that there was no need for New York to act because Washington was going to impose a national ban a few months down the road. So Hochul’s ban was set aside.

That promised national ban from the Food and Drug Administration and parent Department of Health and Human Services was expected last fall. But it didn’t happen and now it’s been pushed off again. Don’t expect anything before the November election. And who knows what will happen after that.

On Friday, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra gave a statement that was as pathetically weak as it was short:

“This rule has garnered historic attention and the public comment period has yielded an immense amount of feedback, including from various elements of the civil rights and criminal justice movement. It’s clear that there are still more conversations to have, and that will take significantly more time.”

Compare that to what the same man said two years ago: “The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit. Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step to advance health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities.”

The “immense amount of feedback” Becerra now prattles about is from the tobacco lobbyists and their fronts. The secretary’s phrase of “more conversations” means more delay and more menthol tobacco sales with more sickness and more death. The death cartel keeps cashing in on the lungs and bodies of Black Americans.

The NAACP agrees with the American Cancer Society, which agrees with the American Heart Association, which agrees with the American Lung Association, which agrees with a united public health establishment and hospitals and physicians.

Joe Biden needs the votes of Black Americans this fall and there is plenty of speculation that political considerations were a factor in this public health matter. Yes, menthol cigarette use is largely centered in the Black community, however a ban won’t harm the community, but help it. The most important civil right is the right to live and menthol kills and it kills far more Black people.

How perverse to claim that harming the Black community is a civil right cause.

On Friday, the FDA did do something, however, in finalizing Guidance for Industry (GFI) #120: Veterinary Feed Directive Regulation Questions and Answers about the use of approved animal drugs intended for use in or on the feed of food-producing animals that require veterinary oversight. That’s important, but more important than a known killer preying on the Black community? A menthol ban would reduce the amount of smoking, saving lives.

Now that feds have succumbed to the smokescreen of Tobacco Row, it’s back to the states. The Legislature has more than a full month before they break for the year. Ban menthol tobacco in New York.


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