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Elected officials, community members call for end of menthol tobacco product sales

The current proposal that looks to end the sale of menthol cigarettes would be an expansion of the state's ban on flavored vaping products.

News 12 Staff

Mar 28, 2023, 1:18 AM

Updated 448 days ago

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Community members rallied alongside Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson and advocates from Tobacco Kills NY to urge state and city lawmakers to end the sale of menthol-flavored tobacco products.  
Many of those in attendance on Monday have lost friends and family members due to the health defects that come with smoking cigarettes. For Marion Frampton, CEO and founder of TBS New Direction, expanding the ban on flavored vaping products to all tobacco products would help the community and prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes.  
“We wanted to hang out with the girls, we wanted to look cool… with our cigarettes in our mouths, not knowing that we were killing ourselves,” said Frampton. "There's so many in my generation that are gone. So now the only thing we can do now is fight for our children and our grandchildren." 
Menthol is often added to cigarettes to give off a minty flavor and numbing effect on the throat, which is supposed to making smoking feel less harsh.  
“Big tobacco has spent decades exasperating systemic racism,” said Gibson. “It has been the source of high rates of asthma, heart disease, obesity, and so many other ailments that are completely preventable in our communities.” 
The legislature that would put this menthol ban into effect, Intro 577, has some members of the community divided. Earlier in March, people expressed their concerns of a menthol cigarette ban possibly leading to more negative interactions with police. 
Ralliers on Monday said the ban isn’t to criminalize the use of menthol cigarettes, but target those who continue to sell after the ban is in effect.  
The future of Intro 577 depends on the scheduling of a hearing with the City Council’s health committee. That committee will vote on the bill and send it to the City Council, where another vote will take place. 


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