Ralliers say proposed menthol ban targets Black, Latino New Yorkers
New York City residents are voicing their opposition to a proposed menthol cigarette ban, saying it directly targets Black and Latino New Yorkers.
Community members are concerned that if a ban on menthol cigarettes is passed, the controversial stop-and-frisk police action could return.
While some say they do not support smoking, they see this ban as another way for the NYPD to unnecessarily stop people, which they believe could potentially create more harm than good.
Ralliers say this ban could increase racial profiling and are asking Gov. Kathy Hochul to reverse her stance on tobacco use.
The call to ban menthol came shortly after the legalization of marijuana, creating some confusion.
Along with raising the state tax by $1 to $5.35, Hochul also plans to ban flavored vaping products as a part of her state budget proposal.
Ralliers tell News 12 it's easier for gangs to sell illegal cigarettes, so this proposal could potentially increase gang activity throughout the state.
Rather, they would like to see an investment in counseling and therapy services to help neighbors make safer choices. They're also asking elected officials to consult the community before passing the ban.