Congress shouldn’t “tell full-grown adults, those over 21, what they can and cannot do with a legal product,” said Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who also cited concerns about policing communities of color.
The Hill: Bill Banning Menthol In Cigarettes Divides Democrats, With Some Seeing Racial Bias
A bill that would ban menthol flavoring in cigarettes is dividing House Democrats, with some arguing it unfairly targets African Americans and could lead police to target communities of color. The measure, which the House will vote on Friday, is opposed by some members of the Congressional Black Caucus. House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), a prominent CBC member, also has concerns with the bill, he told reporters Thursday. (Hellmann and Lillis, 2/27)
Roll Call: Menthol Ban Causes Discrimination Concerns
The bill was written in response to the dramatic rise in youth e-cigarette use, but in addition to placing new restrictions on sales of e-cigarette flavors and advertising for those products, it would also ban flavors in tobacco products like cigars, as well as menthol cigarettes. Some members say the bill’s ban on menthol products would unduly punish black smokers. Nine in ten black smokers prefer menthol-flavored products, according to the Truth Initiative, an anti-smoking advocacy group that supports a menthol ban. (Siddons, McPherson and Kopp, 2/27)
A look back —
The Washington Post: What The U.S. Government Used To Believe About Smoking.
Juul Labs, Inc. this week revealed a novel approach to keeping its e-cigarettes away from underage consumers — the company’s new vaping equipment won’t unlock for anyone under age 21. The federal government and 39 states are currently investigating e-cigarette marketing practices, reflecting growing concern about the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction, particularly among young people. But a century ago, the U.S. government was actively pushing tobacco, not protecting citizens from addiction. (Andreas, 2/28)
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