Sheriffs In New York State Warn About Gov. Hochul’s Menthol Cigarette Ban
A group of sheriffs in NY warns that Governor Kathy Hochul's plan to ban flavored cigarettes will have negative consequences. Gov. Hochul announced her plans to ban them in her 2023 State of the State.
In May 2020, New York State banned the sale of flavored vapor products that do not have an FDA marketing order. Now, Gov. Hochul wants to expand the ban.
New York State Could Ban Flavored Tobacco
In her 2023 State of the State book, Gov. Hochul details her plan to restrict tobacco further,
Solidifying New York’s leadership in ensuring a tobaccofree generation, Governor Hochul will introduce legislation to expand upon the State's ban on the sale of flavored vaping products by prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
This includes menthol-flavored cigarettes. She also announced that she plans on raising the tax that the state collects per pack of cigarettes sold. It's all part of the Governor's efforts to reduce the amount of New Yorkers, especially young New Yorkers, who partake in the deadly habit.
New York State Sheriffs’ Association Warns About Proposed Menthol Cigarette Ban
According to the New York Post, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association sent a letter to Gov. Hochul regarding the unintended consequences of the potential ban. The group says that if menthol and other flavored cigarettes are banned, the black market will surge even more. The group claims that a study says illegal cigarettes cost New York $1 billion in tax revenue and circumvent tobacco regulations. Sheriff’s Association Executive Director, Peter Kehoe, wrote in a letter to the Governor,
We believe the proposed flavored tobacco ban and excise tax increase will only exacerbate this problem and provide hundreds of millions of dollars in additional illicit profit to criminals and criminal organizations. Our long experience has been that there is always adjacent criminal activity to any black market. Any further increase in crime will be a burden on our already strained resources.
In addition to the Sheriff's Association pushing back on the proposed ban, other groups feel as though the ban has racial undertones.
According to the New York State Department of Health, 12 percent of adults in New York State smoke. While the number has decreased from 14.1% in 2017 to 12.0% in 2020, that is still more than a million smokers in the state. Smoking and secondhand smoke kill over 22,000 people each year in New York State. According to the NYS Department of Health,
An estimated 30% of all cancer deaths are related to cigarette smoking, and about 90% of all lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
Personally, I'm a little torn on this. On one side, I feel like people should be able to do what they want to their bodies (as long as it doesn't harm anyone else). But, I'm also old enough to remember groups protesting menthol cigarettes for targeting African-American communities. What do you think?