Today, the FDA announced its intent to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes, the choice of over 80% of Black smokers according to the Centers for Disease Control. Neighborhood FORWARD stands with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) in opposition to this proposal, which will further exacerbate police brutality and overreaching in marginalized communities.
Throughout our history, even the most well-intentioned public policy has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown Americans. We’ve seen that prohibition of a substance doesn’t work and instead leads to over-incarceration, civil rights abuses, and dangerous stop-and-frisk policies. It is our strong belief that any ban on menthol cigarettes will create further tension between minorities and law enforcement.
We cannot repeat the mistakes of our past and expect different outcomes. Neighborhood FORWARD joins dozens of other civil rights organizations in requesting the FDA reconsider its position in order to prevent any more unnecessary loss of life in marginalized communities at the hands of police officers.