Biden's planned ban on menthols hurts Black and Brown communities most

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If you flip through the pages of our history books, you’ll find chapter after chapter of our government trying to help communities of color and coming up terribly short. Often, trying to help one group has come at the expense of another – a trade-off with which the Black community is too familiar. And amid the nationwide movement to eradicate this information from our curriculum, the powers that be still haven’t learned their lesson.

At the end of April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its proposal to ban menthol tobacco products. The target of the proposal is menthol cigarettes which are the most common choice of Black smokers. 

As such, this federal government move would affect Black and Brown communities more than any others. Have we learned nothing from banning other substances? If you’re going to ban one product, why not ban them all? 


We’re seemingly doomed to repeat the unfortunate history of past prohibitions. When the federal government outlawed the possession of cannabis, it unwittingly opened the door to Black and Brown over-incarceration. 

Today, just over 50 years since the beginning of the “war on drugs,” our communities are still reeling from the ripple effects of such misguided policing. As

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