Concerns about over-policing threaten to stall a ban on menthol cigarettes and undermine a major tobacco regulation a decade in the making.
On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration released two proposed rules that would prohibit the sale of flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes, which make up roughly a third of all cigarette sales, and are predominantly used by Black smokers.
While the FDA insists that this rule would save thousands of lives and curb rates of chronic disease, it has divided public figures in the Black community — some of whom are pressuring Congress to intervene and stop the regulation from taking effect.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and relatives of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in 2020, have argued that the rules, should they take effect, would give law enforcement another reason to target Black people — potentially endangering Black lives.