President Joe Biden is facing opposition from black law enforcement officers and drug policy experts over his plan to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Advocates for the ban argue that menthol cigarettes disproportionately cause cancer-related deaths in the black community. However, experts believe that the ban will have unintended discriminatory consequences and may lead to an increase in the black market for cigarettes.
Biden menthol cigarette ban slammed as 'retributive' by black officers and drug experts
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 2, 2023
These experts criticize the ban for not including cessation options such as counseling and education programs. They believe that instead of helping smokers quit, the ban will push them to purchase illicit cigarettes on the black market. This could lead to encounters with law enforcement and potentially increase crime rates.
Elliot Boyce, a veteran of the New York State Police, points out that previous bans on menthol cigarettes in Massachusetts and California have not stopped cigarette smoking. He argues that the ban will simply force individuals to buy cigarettes from the streets instead of corner stores. Boyce expresses concern that the ban will turn a health issue into a criminal issue and put the burden on police officers without providing them with clear guidelines.
Art Way, a drug policy manager, agrees that the ban may have unintended consequences and believes that education, treatment, and counseling have been effective in reducing smoking rates. He questions the justification for the ban and suggests that it may be more about symbolic retribution against the tobacco industry than actually helping users.
Overall, opponents of Biden’s ban argue that it will not effectively address the health issues it claims to target and may instead create new problems for the black community. They emphasize the importance of considering the potential unintended consequences and focusing on comprehensive strategies to reduce smoking rates instead of relying solely on bans.