Members of the New York City NAACP Chapter urged the City Council on Thursday to pass a bill that would prohibit the sale of flavored cigarettes in New York City.

“Big Tobacco companies should not be allowed to sell their products on the backs of  our children,” said Lorraine Braithwaite-Harte

the state health chairwoman of the NAACP. 

The proposed law was set for a committee vote last year after the full council passed a law banning flavored vaping. It was passed by the Committee on Health but has yet to be picked up by the full council.

The NAACP members said that they want to get such cigarettes out of neighborhoods populated by many black children, arguing that the kids are attracted to flavored cigarettes. More than 1600 New Yorkers have  died due to smoking in 2019, according to Flavors Hook Kids NYC Campaign Manager, Andre Richardson.

“We are here to protect the health of the African American communities  and among our children,” said Richardson at a Manhattan news conference.

Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera echoed this pledge. “Public safety is a major concern and we are kids aren’t safe it’s a major issue,” he said.

The movement to ban menthol cigarettes comes in the wake of campaigns for a nationwide ban on flavored E-cigarettes, which several states including New York have banned. The U.S. House of Representatives also banned favored vaping but a companion bill has languished in the Senate.