Eric Garner's mother: Banning menthol cigarettes could harm rather than help people of color
Eric Garner’s mother is demanding that Sen. Chuck Schumer oppose a proposed federal ban on menthol cigarettes.
Gwen Carr sent a letter last week to Schumer and today stood outside his Manhattan office alongside former law enforcement calling to stop the ban's approval.
"I do not encourage, support, or promote smoking," Carr wrote in the letter. "However, while the intentions behind the FDA’s proposed menthol cigarette ban are to improve the health of Black people, the potential for it to hurt Blacks and Hispanics cannot be overlooked."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says roughly 70% of Black smokers use menthol cigarettes. Carr and former local law enforcement members suggest that, if approved, the ban will drive the sale of the currently legal product to the black market, forcing law enforcement to get involved.
The ban was proposed under the Biden administration in 2021. In early October, the Food and Drug Administration sent its final rule to the White House, a step typically taken when a mandate is in its last steps of approval.
Angelo Roefaro, a spokesperson from Schumer's office, provided this statement:
“For more than a decade, Senator Schumer has led the charge against rule-breaking e-cig and tobacco companies that prey on children and poor people and try to hook them for life with kid-friendly colors and flavors like ‘cotton candy,’ ‘bubble gum’ and more. The Senator even got the FDA to take action on China-made vapes that are addicting so many of our kids, like ‘Elf Bar’, because that will save lives, and he will continue to vigorously go after the companies that break the law with flavors and illegal marketing that attract and addict our children and too many in poorer communities.”