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Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) issued the following statement in response to recent FDA Action to ban menthol that will have disproportionately negative impacts on Black and brown tobacco consumers.

“The tobacco industry has a documented history of disproportionately targeting Black and brown communities – specifically as it pertains to menthol flavoring. I applaud the FDA for their efforts to reduce the harms facilitated by the tobacco industry. However, I am very concerned with the unintended consequences that will result from this action”, said Clarke. “I wrestle with how banning menthol —  predominantly present with Black and brown consumers — will exacerbate stop-and-frisk culture.  It is no secret that our country is facing a reckoning against harmful policing practices that target Black and brown communities disproportionately. This is a poignant fact of which we all must be cognizant when we introduce policies. We must advance equitable public health policies that protect all communities, especially the historically marginalized and most vulnerable. I will continue to discuss my concerns with my colleagues and the leadership at the FDA to ensure the voices of all impacted communities are heard. I encourage continued engagement surrounding this issue as the FDA calls for public comment and will remain vigilant against the menthol ban. Our health and safety are of equal importance, and while it may not be the most popular decision to make, I stand firm in my resolve to protect the people I was elected to represent.” 

116th Congress Statement: Clarke Statement on Vote Against the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act and its Included Menthol Ban 


Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce on Immigration,  a Senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and a Senior Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security.


Media contact: Remmington Belford c: 202.480.5737

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