President Joe Biden plans on making a huge announcement this week banning menthol cigarettes.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned him that a move like this could fuel racial injustice and would have “serious racial justice implications” for people of color and more “negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
“Banning menthol cigarettes risks massive setbacks to our criminal justice system at precisely the moment we should be advancing reform,” read the letter obtained by CBS News.
However, other public health organizations support banning those cigarettes because it does target the black community.
American Medical President Susan R. Bailey, MD said, “For generations, tobacco companies have promoted menthol cigarettes to the African American community, preying especially on African American youth. The results are clear and grim.”
Over 20 million Americans smoke menthol cigarettes, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but a ban would not go into effect immediately.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Biden administration was also considering a requirement for all tobacco companies to lower the amount of nicotine in all cigarettes.
The White House has declined to comment on the record about their plans for new cigarette regulations.
“We will review a range of policy options in line with the President’s public health goals,” stated White House press secretary Jen Psaki.