New York council cannot vote on menthol tobacco ban

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NEW YORK – Word spread quickly among health and community advocates in New York on Friday about the city council’s potential failure to pass a bill to ban menthol-flavored tobacco products.

For community advocate Shanequa Charles, the menthol ban is personal. One of the reasons, she said, is that her daughter “doesn’t have a grandmother” because of the products.

“My mother died at the age of 57 from fourth stage lung cancer with metastases in all four regions of her brain,” she said. “This is something that could have been avoided.”

The menthol bill has the backing of a broad coalition of community support and several sponsors on the council. Yet he has yet to pass.

The New York City Department of Health website has a section on menthol tobacco products, which indicates that two in three young people who smoke in New York City start with menthol or another flavored tobacco product.

Michael Davoli, director of government relations with the American Cancer Society, said the impact is particularly felt in communities of color.

“Over the next two years, more than 300,000 young people of color will become addicted smokers due to the inaction of city council,” he said.


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