The White Home is “conscious” of issues that the Biden administration’s proposed menthol cigarettes ban may unfairly goal Black folks, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on Thursday.
Jean-Pierre was requested in regards to the menthol ban throughout a press gaggle on Thursday. Rev. Al Sharpton has beforehand stated such bans are unfair for Black people who smoke.
“We’re conscious of that, and we take that critically the issues which were raised about discriminatory coverage, policing, and so addressing racial bias in policing is a precedence,” Jean-Pierre stated.
ACLU WARNS BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AGAINST MENTHOL BAN, CITES ‘RACIAL JUSTICE IMPLICATIONS’
“For this reason we strongly assist the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and we’d like laws to straight handle police reform, at the same time as we regulate tobacco business practices that hurt People,” she continued.
The Meals and Drug Administration moved to ban menthol cigarettes and different flavored tobacco merchandise on Thursday in a choice that Well being and Human Providers Secretary Xavier Becerra stated displays the Biden administration’s “dedication to enhance the well being of all People and to deal with well being disparities in our most marginalized communities.”
Jean-Pierre emphasised that such FDA regulation wouldn’t end in enforcement on people.
“With menthol, it is a public well being choice that will assist curb habit and save lives,” she stated on Thursday. “However let’s be clear right here. If carried out, these guidelines have an effect on solely business exercise. So FDA doesn’t regulate the possession of tobacco merchandise by people for private use, and this rule wouldn’t make particular person shopper possession or use of menthol cigarettes a criminal offense nor change enforcement requirements.”
FDA MOVES TO BAN MENTHOL CIGARETTES, FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS
The ACLU stated a ban would “disproportionately influence folks of shade.”
In a letter despatched to Becerra and different officers, the ACLU together with dozens of others, together with the Drug Coverage Alliance, stated whereas such a ban is “little question well-intentioned,” it will have “severe racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will set off prison penalties, which is able to disproportionately influence folks of shade, in addition to prioritize criminalization over public well being and hurt discount,” the letter said. “A ban may even result in unconstitutional policing and different unfavourable interactions with native regulation enforcement.”
The letter referenced the current police-involved deaths of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Ma’Khia Bryant and Eric Garner.
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“Quite a few police encounters leading to tragic deaths are linked to police enforcement of tobacco legal guidelines: Eric Garner, killed by a police chokehold, was illegally promoting ‘loosie’ cigarettes, and Michael Brown was killed after being suspected of stealing a field of cigarillos,” the letter said. “Even within the case of George Floyd, police had been referred to as to analyze a counterfeit invoice used to buy cigarettes.”
The letter referred to as for an method that may “keep away from options that can create but another excuse for armed police to interact residents on the road based mostly on the pretext or conduct that doesn’t pose a risk to public security.”
Fox Information’ Alexandra Hein contributed to this report.