Overall, we disagree with Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn in her role as head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and hope she will continue in the future, but today we stand 100% behind her position that New York State should ban menthol and other preferred tobaccos, as expounded by .
Tobacco is deadly and addictive and the more it is used, the worse for the smoker and society. The menthol additive makes it easier to start smoking, easier to get hooked, and easier to smoke more. Of course, it should be banned as Gov. Hochul proposes, following statewide bans in California and Massachusetts.
The US Food and Drug Administration is working on a national ban on menthol and all favored tobaccos that could come this fall, so New York should start now.
Bichotte Hermelyn is correct that Big Tobacco has targeted the black community with menthol products, including her late father, who died of lung cancer. Getting rid of the menthol will stop this. The main opponent of the ban is, naturally, Big Tobacco, which has disguised its lobbying and advocacy behind front groups.
Due to an outside mix-up, an op-ed against the menthol ban appeared briefly on the Daily News website over the weekend attributed to Frankie Miranda, president of the Hispanic Federation. The essay passed through many hands before reaching The News, but not Miranda or anyone else in the federation. Everyone involved regrets the mistake, including the Daily News.
In fact, Miranda and the Hispanic Federation are part of a large coalition supporting Hochul, including the NAACP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, hospitals and physicians.
While the pro-prohibition side has correctly listed all of its spending on advocacy and lobbying with state authorities, there is nothing from the anti-banners, likely funded by Big Tobacco. While they have the right to make their case, they must disclose themselves to meet the state’s disclosure and lobbying requirements. The pro-tobacco message cannot be hidden in a cloud of smoke.
The daily news flash
Catch up on the top five stories of the day every weekday afternoon.