Mount Vernon weighs eliminating sales of flavor tobacco products
The City of Mount Vernon held a meeting on Friday discussing eliminating sales of flavored tobacco products.
Westchester County lawmakers have been debating legislation that would remove the sale of all flavored tobacco.
Proponents say the bill aims to protect the health of the black community. 85% of black smokers smoke menthol cigarettes -- which is just as addictive as regular cigarettes -- and 45,000 African Americans die from flavored tobacco health issues every year.
"There's a lot of things we can do instead of passing a law that's going to punish black people and cause a black market because now weed is legal," said community member Damon Jones. "So what's the next hustle? It's going to be menthol cigarettes."
Officials added they are trying to prevent another senseless death over loose cigarettes. Eric Garner was killed back in 2014 when the NYPD put him in a prohibited choke hold. The officers first approached him on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes.
"Why would you pass something that's going to have more engagement with police and the black and brown community?," said Corey Begues.
Legislators acknowledged police wouldn't even be involved, but that the only people being penalized would be the business owners who would be cited by the health department.