D.C. Council votes to ban sale of flavored tobacco, including menthol cigarettes

A divided D.C. Council voted Tuesday to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in the District, including menthol cigarettes.

The 8-to-5 vote came after a lengthy debate in which legislators who opposed the ban — and even some who favored it — raised concerns that the law could create opportunities for Black smokers to be harassed by police, and that the city would be unfairly targeting a smoking choice preferred by Black residents.

It was the council’s second vote in favor of the legislation, meaning that it now heads to the desk of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who supports the ban for health reasons and is expected to sign it into law.

The District joins the state of Massachusetts and some other cities across the country in banning menthol cigarettes, which are popular with Black smokers of all ages, alongside other flavored tobacco products such as the candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes that critics say are targeted toward inducing teenagers to smoke.

Source: Washington Post