When Big Tobacco Invoked Eric Garner to Fight a Menthol Cigarette Ban - The New York Times
Le cynisme sans fin des lobbies...
With San Francisco banning menthol cigarettes last year, and the Food and Drug Administration considering a nationwide ban, it seemed like the time was ripe for New York to follow suit.
Then Reynolds American, the tobacco giant, got to work. It enlisted the Rev. Al Sharpton and his group, the National Action Network, as well as the boss of the Manhattan Democratic Party, Keith L.T. Wright, a former 12-term assemblyman from Harlem, to fight the ban proposed by the City Council.
In closed-door meetings with Council members in May, they argued that a ban would disproportionately affect black New Yorkers. They invoked Eric Garner, who was killed on Staten Island by police officers enforcing cigarette regulations, and suggested such encounters could increase if menthol cigarettes were to go underground.
The bill has since been set aside.
The effort to stop the menthol ban was centered on a longstanding but increasingly prominent and effective strategy for waging political warfare in New York: Deploy the concerns of black residents as a weapon to sway the Democrat-heavy Council toward a stance favored by corporate clients.