A coalition of criminal justice reform groups is urging the federal government to reconsider the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed ban on flavored tobacco products, The Hill reports. The groups warn the ban would lead to more overpolicing in communities of color.
In a letter to President Biden, the coalition of more than 50 groups said banning the legal sale of menthol cigarettes through licensed businesses will lead to illegal, unlicensed distribution in communities of color, while triggering criminal laws in all states. This would increase the incidence of negative interactions with police, and ultimately increasing incarceration rates, they warned.
The groups called for a focus on harm reduction instead, providing smokers with less harmful options and information to help accelerate reductions in smoking.
The NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus are supporting the FDA’s proposal, the article notes.