Tri-State Area

Eric Garner & George Floyd’s Family Demand Gov. Hochul Withdraw Racist Menthol Ban From NYS 2024 Budget

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Eric Garner and George Floyd’s families, the National Action Network, and community leaders rallied against the menthol ban proposed by NYS Govenor Kathy Hochul‘s fiscal 2024 budget. Because the flavor is popular in the Black community, this group is concerned that a ban will lead to police officers abusing their authority and targeting members of the black community.

“We don’t need more interaction by police enforcement; we had enough,” Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said at the demonstration outside City Hall. “Why aren’t we addressing all the cigarettes? It’s discriminatory.”

Data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services shows that 85% of non-Hispanic Black smokers use menthol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the smoking rate among non-Hispanic Black adults is 14.4%.

Gallup reports that the rate has fallen from 35% to 12% in the past two decades; young adults are more likely to smoke e-cigarettes and marijuana than tobacco, and smoking among young adults may be shifting from tobacco to e-cigarette.

Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a flavored tobacco ban, 11-6 on Monday, November 28, 2022, that had the potential to send menthol cigarettes, mint smokeless and vape sales into an already existing black market. Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced his disapproval and veto of proposed menthol and flavor tobacco ban – Local Law Intro. No 461-2022 – and announces a Westchester Tabacco Free Program, Monday, December 12, 2022.

Others who have spoken out against this ban on county and state legislation, including the Grand Council of Guardians, the National Action NetworkEric Garner’s mom Gwen CarrNYS Assemblyman Nadar Sayegh (Dist. 90), Damon K. Jones of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America (BLEA), Reverend Dr. Carl L. Washington, Jr., Mount Vernon resident and Pastor of the New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Harlem, the Teamsters Union, Sylvia T. Miranda of The National Latino Officers Assoc. (NLOA), Andre Wallace Former Mayor of Mount Vernon, George Brown Vice Chair of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee, Jesse Van Lew, co-founder of Save Mount Vernon, James Nolan Westchester County Legislator District 15 and others.

Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story. To see all our extensive coverage of the Menthol Ban, click here.

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