PresidentJoe Biden’s administration is expected to announce a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes, as well as menthol and flavored cigars
- The move would set off a process with the Food and Drug Administration that could take years and would likely be challenged in court
- It would be applauded by antismoking and civil rights groups angered by tobacco companies aggressively targeting black people with the product
The Washington Post reported the anticipated move Wednesday, which would set off a process with the Food and Drug Administration that could take years, but would be applauded by antismoking and civil rights groups.
They have pressured the federal government to make the move because they say the tobacco industry has aggressively targeted black communities when pushing the mint flavored smokes.
The Post also reported that the Biden administration is also looking to include menthol and other flavored, mass-produced cigars as well, including the smaller cigars that are popular with young people.
The Biden administration can unilaterally ban flavored cigarettes and cigars without the help of Congress.
The FDA must put out proposed rules and receive public comments.
There will likely be court challenges brought by the tobacco industry against the move as well.
Biden has made racial equity part of his agenda, including on health outcomes.
Health groups point to studies that show menthol cigarettes are harder to quit than the non-flavored versions and point to numbers showing that black Americans smoke them at three times the rate of white Americans.
The Post reported that 85 per cent of cigarettes smoked by black Americans are menthol.
‘The predatory marketing of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products must be stopped and we should all recognize this as a social justice issue, and one that disproportionately impacts youth and communities of color,’ said a letter written to Biden’s Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra signed by representatives from 10 civil rights and black health organizatios, the Post said.
The letter spoke of moves made by the tobacco industry including menthol giveaways at gatherings in black neighborhoods.
Biden, like his predecessor President Donald Trump, doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol.
The administration is also reportedly planning to push tobacco manufacturers to decrease the amount of nicotine in cigarettes, according to The Wall Street Journal.