The war on menthol tobacco continues as more city’s prepare to implement either a partial or full ban on the sale of menthol related tobacco products. Cities should look at the city of Compton for guidance on allowing residents the continued right to choose.
2UrbanGirls agrees with the good folks over at Tobacco Free CA that the health effects of smoking any form of tobacco is harmful to your health. However, the component where we disagree is the social justice aspect of taking away a person’s right to choose.
Leaders in the Black community continue to bear the brunt of disproportionate law enforcement encounters as it relates to “enforcing” bans on communities.
In the city of Los Angeles, the HENPAR Committee, with one of our distinguished black council leaders, Vice Chair Curren D. Price (9th District), Chair – Mitch O’Farrell (District 13) and, Councilmember, David Ryu (4th District) have an opportunity to pledge more resources towards educating the public on the risks of tobacco use. Our council has made great strides in educating residents on a wide range of topics, of importance to their citizens, and with their assistance, we can continue to make Los Angeles the forefront of how elected officials educate as opposed to criminalize a product used by thousands of their constituents.
Black leaders are justified in wanting to stop the criminalization of menthol flavored tobacco because it leads to unintended consequences of delaying social justice reform that the state and local governments are implementing.
Prop 47 created a tool to reduce penalties and jail time for misdemeanor offenses. The elimination of cash bails under Senate Bill 10, was scheduled to take effect last Fall but will instead come before voters this November which will give judges greater discretion, on certain offenses, to eliminate bail as a condition of a release from jail.
With reform taking place across the justice system, who really gains from a ban on the sale of menthol related products?
Despite the influx of commercials and literature related to the health effects of smoking any tobacco products people still have THE RIGHT to choose and that right should be preserved.
Again, this is a social justice issue for the freedom of choice, but education is the way instead of banning menthol cigarettes. Let’s put our resources into educating our black and brown communities – not taking away the freedom of choice