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LaTrisha Vetaw has watched generations of her family suffer after getting hooked on menthol cigarettes. Her father died of a heart attack at 46, with a pack of cigarettes in his pocket alongside a doctor’s note urging him to quit smoking.

Her 45-year-old half sister, who has a cough she can’t shake and loses her breath climbing the stairs, smokes Newports. So do her niece and nephew in their 20s. So while Vetaw supports President Donald Trump’s recent vow to ban almost all flavored e-cigarettes to stop kids from getting hooked on nicotine, she’s exasperated he isn’t going after menthol cigarettes — the only flavored cigarettes still on the market and a decades-old scourge of African-American communities that even the government says are more addictive than unflavored ones, reports the Washington Post.

“When you look at the staggering numbers of African-Americans smoking menthol, it’s so hurtful that no one is taking a stand,” said Vetaw, health policy and advocacy manager at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in Minneapolis. Trump’s unexpected assault on flavored e-cigarettes has resurrected a complicated, years-old debate over tobacco regulation, racial equity and health. Is the government wrongly ignoring another flavored nicotine product that poses particular dangers to African- Americans? Or would it be discriminatory to ban a flavor so popular among Blacks? Some Black leaders say a ban on menthol cigarettes would be paternalistic, robbing African-American smokers of their right to choose which products to use.

Others, including many Black health advocates, counter that it’s racist not to ban a dangerous product pushed for years by what they call predatory, racially targeted marketing. For decades, the tobacco industry peddled menthol cigarettes to Black consumers through billboards, TV ads and magazines such as Jet and Ebony, with African-Americans smoking under slogans such as, “Alive with pleasure!”

Tobacco companies also bought good will by sponsoring high-profile athletic and cultural events and contributing to Black politicians and organizations, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the group’s foundation — contributions that critics say made Black lawmakers more likely to support industry positions. Menthol cigarettes are still popular among African-Americans, 47,000 of whom die every year of smoking-related causes.

But unlike the alarm over underage use of e-cigarettes – fueled in large part by the popularity of Juul among While middleclass teenagers – neither the Trump administration nor the Obama administration have treated the devastation health effects of menthol cigarettes on the Black community as a crisis. When a health threat arises for “young White people, then action is taken really quickly,” said LaTroya Hester, a spokeswoman for the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, based in Durham, N.C. “When it’s African Americans, it just seems that people are slow to move.”

Almost a year ago, then-Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pledged to issue a formal proposal banding menthol cigarettes, saying, they “disproportionately and adversely affect underserved communities.” But with Gottlieb’s departure last spring, the administration appears unlikely to follow through anytime soon, given vociferous opposition by industry and tobacco-state lawmakers, say knowledgeable individuals inside and outside the government.