Why the New York Metropolis Council proposal to ban menthol cigarettes is unsuitable

I devoted 34 years of my life to public security, imposing the legal guidelines that our legislators positioned earlier than me. That’s what cops do, and we belief that these legal guidelines are properly thought out, studied and primarily based upon sound knowledge and proof. Later in my profession, I spotted that this isn’t all the time the case, as a few of our legal guidelines have little to do with sound proof and are emotionally pushed by feel-good politics. That’s why I hung up my badge to advocate for sound public coverage because the Govt Director of the Regulation Enforcement Motion Partnership.

Not too long ago, the emotional tobacco matter has drawn my consideration. As cigarette taxes soar, like these from California’s Proposition 56 the place taxes rose from 87 cents to $2 per pack, so do black markets that fund felony gangs and crews. Previous to the passing of Proposition 56, a 3rd of California’s cigarette gross sales got here by means of the black market. Now with a $2 per pack tax, that share will definitely improve and the localized banning of menthol-flavored cigarettes will assist to drive this quantity even increased.

The elevating of taxes and banning of menthol-flavored smokes begins a really harmful transfer to the times of alcohol prohibition, when it wasn’t unlawful to drink alcohol, however it was felony to fabricate, transport and promote it. Pushed underground, the alcohol trade fueled violent crime and corruption whereas making little or no distinction within the consumption of alcohol. As we start to reflect the times of alcohol prohibition with tobacco bans, count on the violence and corruption that comes with the black market and add one thing else, the over criminalization of the black group.

Seventy-eight p.c of the cigarettes consumed within the Black group are menthol-flavored. Because the promoting of menthol merchandise change into prohibited inside Black communities, can we truthfully consider that individuals will give up smoking them? It doesn’t take the brilliance of Albert Einstein to acknowledge the monetary alternative of smuggling in a brand new provide of menthol merchandise from one other state or nation. The right smuggling mannequin is already in place that of smuggling lower-taxed cigarettes.

Due to excessive cigarette taxes in New York Metropolis, smuggled cigarettes make up 58% of all cigarette gross sales and the New York Metropolis Sheriff’s Workplace has created a particular taskforce to combat the unwinnable battle of crushing this smuggling market. Because the black market expands in California, count on the same enforcement motion by California legislation enforcement. Their orders will probably be to arrest the smugglers and get rid of the black market. Will it’s carried out in prosperous California, or will battle be waged in poor Black communities?

I used to be as soon as on the entrance traces of the same battle the place the Black group caught the brunt of enforcement. We all know it because the failed battle on medication. Will this be a 3rd try of the twice-failed public coverage of prohibition, or will we defeat the harms of tobacco consumption with the confirmed strategies of training and remedy? I vote for the latter.