On September 24, Albany County residents and national experts from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council joined forces to let lawmakers know how tobacco use contributes to health disparities. National experts, Drs. Phil Gardiner and Valerie Yerger, along with Albany NAACP President Debora Brown-Johnson highlighted the predatory practices of the tobacco industry in aggressively marketing menthol-flavored tobacco in African American communities. As a result, African American smokers are 3x as likely to smoke menthol as white smokers. Because menthol makes it easier for people (especially youth) to start and harder for them to quit, the health consequences for people of color who smoke is disproportionately high.

Albany County Local Law “E” restricts the sale of ALL flavors in ALL tobacco product categories, going beyond the provisions of the Governor’s emergency action to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, excepting menthol, for 90 days. Local Law “E” would not only restrict the sale of all flavors of e-cigarettes including menthol, but it would also restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, cigarillos and chew tobacco.

Local Law “E” was unanimously passed out of the Albany County Legislature’s Health Committee on September 25 and heads to the Law Committee in late October.  The proposed law could be up for a vote by the Albany County Legislature as early as their November 12 meeting.

For more information on menthol, visit SavingBlackLives.org. For more info on flavored vaping and traditional tobacco products, visit FlavorsHookKidsNY.org.

For additional information and resources, contact Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities, 518-459-2388 or contact@SmokeFreeCapital.org.