Despite the fact that every American has access to a safe, effective Coronavirus vaccine, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has re-instituted a mask mandate in the District- including for vaccinated individuals. This action is in direct contrast to the words of the leader of Bowser’s party, Joe Biden, who said: “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in an ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.” Bowser’s mandate demonstrates a mistrust in the effectiveness of the vaccine which is contrary to settled science. This is just one of many anti-science actions taken during Muriel Bowser’s tenure. On July 21, 2021, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser officially banned the sale of flavored Tobacco. Bowser’s mandate and ban call into question the Mayor’s priories, as murders and crime ravage the District at record rates.    

Bowser has attempted to paint the ban as a victory for communities of color.  However, her actions will have the opposite effect. They will actually harm communities of color, as “smokers who use sweet-flavored vapor products were 43% more likely to quit smoking than those who used unflavored or tobacco flavored vapor products.” Reduced risk tobacco alternatives, such as personal vaporisers, have been overwhelmingly proven to be 95% safer than combustible cigarettes, and at least twice as effective as more traditional nicotine replacement therapies, leading to the sharpest declines in both adult and youth smoking on record. So, by banning flavored tobacco products, Bowser is eliminating a commonly used and effective pathway to overcoming nicotine addiction. 

Overregulation of tobacco products creates black market demand, causing smokers to use riskier, totally unregulated forms of tobacco.  For example, in Minnesota, where tobacco taxes are 7 times higher than neighboring states, 35% of all tobacco consumed comes from illicit sources.  Bowser’s ban will likely create a similar effect, putting her constituents at rick of consuming harmful, unregulated tobacco products.  Furthermore, most tobacco smuggling is operated by multi-million dollar organized crime syndicates that also engage in human trafficking, money laundering, and have been shown to use their profits to fund terrorism.  As a result, the US State Department has explicitly labeled tobacco smuggling as “a threat to national security”.   

By giving her attention to ineffective tobacco policies, Bowser has proven herself derelict in her duty to protect the people of her city. So far in 2021, there have been 234 homicides in and around Washington DC, with the vast majority of victims being people of color. If Bowser were serious about protecting communities of color, she would focus on stopping the record-setting crime in her city instead of banning life-saving products. 

Bowser’s priorities are obviously out of whack. The Mayor’s anti-science policies are costing her constituents their lives.