A local reverend said he was offered thousands of dollars to oppose a ban on menthol cigarettes.
Rev. Horace Sheffield told Local4 that he has never smoked a cigarette in his life, which is only part of why he has spoken out in favor of the FDA’s ban on menthol cigarettes.
When Sheffield was 16, he said he stood over his mother, who would not stop smoking and had emphysema. Sheffield witnessed her last breath.
But even though Sheffield has this personal experience, he said he had been offered up to $250,000 to change his stance.
“I do know there are several prominent organizations that got $4 million. Some people locally have gotten $200,00 and $300,000. The conversation was, ‘man, I was just about to get you some money.’ Money for what? You know, to oppose the ban,” said Sheffield.
The reverend said there is not enough money in the world for this one. “There’s no rationale, justification, imperial information of data that can say why all the others were banned, but the only one that affects African Americans wasn’t.”
Local4 reached out to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company but did not answer questions about opposing the ban.
Related: FDA issues plan to ban menthol in cigarettes, cigars