Chicago: Controversial Ban on Menthol and Flavored Tobacco

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In Chicago, a ban on flavored tobacco products (including menthol) leaves the city in an uproar on why doing so seems unjustifiable. While the city’s Alderman, Matt O’Shea uses “the clear distinctive link between Covid-19 and pulmonary issues” as his leading argument, others feel its just a more of an excuse for convenience stores to go out of business.

In July of 2016, Chicago became the first major city to ban menthol cigarette sales (Ana Ibarra). With COVID-19 related cases reaching over 150k, pediatric oncologist, Bishop Horace Smith says states an alarming rate of African American and Brown people dying to it is due to their early start of nicotine addiction.

“Things like asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and cardiac disease all attributes to the use of tobacco,” Smith informs. “… it is out to target urban black people.”

Father Micheal Pfleger argues along with the same notion, where he exclaims owners of gas stations, convenience stores, and tobacco stores are out to prey on young people in making them nicotine addicts– feeding into their ego of being invincible. “It must be stopped.”

These types of business owners vouch that it is a “legislative overreach” and that this kind of irrationality is out to further harm their small businesses. However, in order to realize the full effect menthol uses has on young people, O’Shea feels a ban on all uses would be most beneficial.

O’Shea also states he’s open for more suggestions and amendments.


Written By Jakiria M. Williams


Chicago SunTimes: Public Health advocates mount to full-court press to save Chicago ban on flaovred tobacco products

Chicago Tribune: Flavor Bans Multiply, but Menthol Continues to Divide

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gnome Enthusiast-Flickr


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