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Biden Admin Delays Plans to Ban Menthol Cigarettes As Campaign Season Begins

The Biden administration is now reportedly retracting its decision to prohibit menthol cigarettes, following a careful evaluation by the White House of the possible public-health advantages of prohibiting mint-flavored cigarettes in comparison to the political hazard of upsetting certain Black voters during an election year.

The administration announced on Friday that it will postpone making a decision regarding the implementation of a ban.

The reason for the delay is the administration’s need for more time to engage in consultations with external organizations regarding this issue.

There is currently no specific schedule for the administration to reconsider the decision, as President Biden is in a competition with former President Donald Trump for votes in November.

Menthols constitute about 33% of the total cigarette sales in the United States annually and are primarily favored by Black and Hispanic smokers.

An examination of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that in 2020, 81% of Black smokers, 30% of white smokers, and 51% of Hispanic smokers used menthols.

Several Black community leaders opposed the bill, arguing that a ban would increase the illegal cigarette industry and result in racial profiling of Black smokers by the police.

The American Civil Liberties Union and certain members of the Congressional Black Caucus shared such apprehensions.

In 2021, the Biden administration initiated efforts to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes.

This policy decision aims to decrease the number of young people starting to smoke, improve the chances of success for smokers attempting to quit, and tackle health inequalities among individuals of different races.

The plan was a component of the administration’s Cancer Moonshot project aimed at diminishing the mortality rate caused by cancer.

The implementation of a new regulation prohibiting the use of menthols was anticipated by the Food and Drug Administration last year.

However, the plan was postponed while the White House considered its potential political consequences, including among black voters who the Biden campaign will need to show up at the polls if it wants a chance of prevailing in November.

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