Biden Delays Banning Of Menthol Cigarettes

Intense lobbying from tobacco firms, convenience shops, and industry-backed organizations has caused the Biden administration to postpone a decision on whether to prohibit menthol cigarettes. Opponents of the plan say it would lead to the loss of billions of dollars in sales and employment and that police will aggressively target Black smokers. Nearly 9 in 10 Black smokers buy menthol cigarettes, according to data cited by the Food and Drug Administration in its formal regulation proposal last year to reduce health inequalities. Smoking causes a disproportionately high incidence of lung cancer and mortality among black males.

The National Action Network, which the Rev. Al Sharpton established, is advancing the claim that police officers may engage in racial profiling; in their campaign against the ban, tobacco businesses and convenience store organizations have joined forces with this organization. The majority of the Congressional Black Caucus and several other Black groups have criticized the police argument, claiming that it is an effort to divert attention from the dangers of cigarettes by capitalizing on trauma.

It is anticipated that on Wednesday, the government will unveil its regulatory agenda, including a strategy to eliminate menthol cigarettes from sale in the market by March via the finalization of federal regulations. Those who are trying to have the ban delayed are citing concerns that it would have a disproportionate impact on Black neighborhoods. They also want to avoid alienating Black voters who use these items, which might undermine President Joe Biden’s prospects of being reelected.

Opponents of the prohibition reportedly voiced concerns that it would unfairly affect Black people and make them vulnerable to imprisonment for using the goods. When the regulation was being considered in 2021, the liberal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed concern about the “severe racial justice consequences” it would have.

By March, the Biden administration will likely unveil its proposal to eliminate menthol cigarettes from sale in the United States by implementing new federal regulations. A ban on flavored cigars and further limitations on nicotine present in cigarettes are among the proposals being considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which the White House has been quietly reviewing.