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Although supporters of the ban say it is a vital step towards decreasing illness inequities in the US, the step has, to some extent, divided Black communities. The Rev. Al Sharpton has sharply criticized it, and just lately secured a gathering with White Home officers together with King & Spalding, a lobbying agency with an in depth document of advocating for RAI Companies Firm, the cigarette maker previously generally known as R.J. Reynolds.

Mr. Sharpton, president of the Nationwide Motion Community, wrote a letter to Susan Rice, the Home Coverage Council director, saying the ban would lead Black people who smoke to tamper with cigarettes or use unregulated natural menthol varieties, which might “promote felony exercise.” Mr. Sharpton has acknowledged that Reynolds has supported his group for 20 years however wouldn’t say how a lot it contributed.

Reynolds is without doubt one of the world’s largest cigarette firms and maker of Newport menthol cigarettes, which it calls “America’s No. 1-selling menthol cigarette model.”

Reynolds raised related considerations in a letter to White Home officers, suggesting the F.D.A. lengthen the timeline on a ban to make sure native enforcement doesn’t roll out “in a manner that creates detrimental results, akin to disparate impacts on communities of colour.”

“A menthol ban would impose critical dangers,” Mr. Sharpton wrote, “together with growing the unlawful sale of smuggled, black market menthol cigarettes in addition to the road gross sales of particular person menthol cigarettes — ‘loosies’ and in flip place menthol people who smoke at a major danger of coming into the felony justice system.”

Carol McGruder, co-founder of the African American Tobacco Management Management Council, mentioned it’s “shameful” that Mr. Sharpton and others take tobacco funding. She mentioned that the necessity for police reform is actual however that the lives taken early by menthol tobacco are far higher in quantity.

“To cynically use our ache, to say, ‘Oh, we need to shield you from that by leaving these merchandise in the marketplace which are killing you’ is loopy,” Ms. McGruder mentioned.

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