Chicago City Council 
Sept. 9, 2020 - Opposing O2020-3388
Javette C. Orgain, MD, MPH, FAAFP

As a past president of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) and past chair of the Illinois State Board of Health who has practiced family medicine for decades on Chicago’s South side, I am voicing IAFP’s opposition to the proposed ordinance O2020-3388, that only bans flavored e-cigarettes and will leave other products, including menthol, on the market to continue their damage to the health of our city. 

We stand against physical violence, as well as societal, economic and racist injustices against marginalized communities. We therefore cannot allow the tobacco industry to continue to “hit” minorities as an easy target. One of the most impactful policies we can enact now is a total ban on all flavors, including mint and menthol, across all products – in order to remove any attraction for these harmful and addictive products.

Earlier this summer, Ald. Matt O’Shea and Ald. Roderick Sawyer introduced an ordinance that would end the sale of all flavored tobacco products – including menthol cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookah, little cigars, and smokeless tobacco. The IAFP strongly supports the ordinance as introduced, and we are vehemently opposed to any proposals that exempt menthol cigarettes.

For decades, mint and menthol products have been specifically marketed to the Black community. Our physician members in those communities will tell you – menthol got their patients started and keeps them addicted.  Remember those ads for Kool (with a K) and Newport cigarettes!