Biden Sued After Delaying Ban That Angers Black Voters

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Menthol Cigarettes
Photo Credit: Officer, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Anti-smoking groups filed a lawsuit against U.S. government on Tuesday for blowing the deadline to publish a rule that would ban menthol cigarettes.

Biden administration health officials sought to ban menthol cigarettes in August, but intense lobbying by the tobacco industry caused the government to delay the regulatory deadline to March, which has already passed.

According to The Hill, the Biden White House is “seemingly spooked” that enacting a ban on the flavor could harm the president’s chances at getting reelected by alienating black smokers.

AP News reports that while out of the 11% of adult smokers in the nation, the split between black and white smokers is fairly even, But menthol cigarettes are overwhelmingly preferred by 80% of black tobacco users.

Menthol is also the chosen gateway cigarette for teenage smokers, as anti-smoking advocates say the numbing effect associated with the flavor subdues the acridity of new user’s beginning puffs, which makes it an easy habit to pick up and more difficult to quit.

Three nonprofit organizations filed the lawsuit in a California federal court on Tuesday, a day after the deadline passed.

“Because of defendants’ inaction, tobacco companies have continued to use menthol cigarettes to target youth, women, and the Black community — all to the detriment of public health,” the complaint reads.

“If Black lives truly matter, then we must end the sale of menthol cigarettes and do it now,” said Carol McGruder, a co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership, which is one of the three groups involved in the lawsuit.

“We want the Biden administration to know, we want our people to know, that we are continuing to move forward. We’re here. We’re not going anywhere, and we will be vigilant to keep it moving until we get a rule passed.”

Menthol was the only flavor of cigarettes to receive an exemption from the 2009 law that allowed the FDA to regulate tobacco products. The agency was sued by the same three groups that triggered the current lawsuit in 2020, in an effort to force the FDA to outlaw menthol. That lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed in 2022, following a proposed rule in 2022, which was tied to the March deadline.

“We’re extremely disappointed to be forced to file this second lawsuit against the FDA in support of protecting Americans from menthol cigarettes,” Action on Smoking and Health Executive Director Laurent Huber remarked in a statement.

“The FDA’s own research confirms that a menthol ban would save lives; there is no scientific reason to delay finalizing this rule.”

1 Comment

  1. I think Biden and him Democrat minions have proven time and time again that the only thing that matters to them is staying in power.

    Time we resolved that nasty problem by kicking them out of power in 2024!

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