Biden Pushing Menthol Cigarette Ban, Could Devastate Jobs In Convenience Industry

Could also affect a core constituency of Biden's
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of workers allegedly might be affected and a core constituency might be disgruntled, the Biden administration is insistent on imposing a ban on menthol cigarettes.

In April 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced “proposed product standards to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and prohibit all characterizing flavors (other than tobacco) in cigars.”

“Menthol is a flavor additive with a minty taste and aroma that reduces the irritation and harshness of smoking,” the FDA continued. “This increases appeal and makes menthol cigarettes easier to use, particularly for youth and young adults. Menthol also interacts with nicotine in the brain to enhance nicotine’s addictive effects. The combination of menthol’s flavor, sensory effects and interaction with nicotine in the brain increases the likelihood that youth who start using menthol cigarettes will progress to regular use. Menthol also makes it more difficult for people to quit smoking.”

“The FDA remains committed to issuing the tobacco product standards for menthol in cigarettes and characterizing flavors in cigars as expeditiously as possible; these rules have been submitted to the [Office of Management and Budget] for review, which is the final step in the rulemaking process,” an FDA spokesperson stated. “As we’ve made clear, these product standards remain at the top of our priorities.”

The black community, one of Biden’s core constituencies, could be profoundly affected; “Menthol is especially popular among Black smokers due to tobacco companies’ aggressive marketing in Black neighborhoods and sponsorship of events like jazz concerts,” Bloomberg noted, adding that the FDA “set a deadline for publishing its final ruling on menthol by August 2023. That was delayed in December and then rescheduled for March 2024.”

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), banning menthol cigarettes would reduce non-tobacco sundry sales $72,285 a year and tobacco sales $160,107 for the average convenience store; the convenience industry could lose $2.16 billion in sales.


“The proposed ban, while well-intentioned, could have had far-reaching economic consequences for convenience stores by cutting 30% of sales and the livelihoods of over 600,000 workers,” Javier Palomarez, the president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Business Council (USHBC), told Fox News Digital.

“Unfortunately, the Biden administration has proposed another rule that would disproportionally harm our nation’s small businesses,” House Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX) has stated. “Banning menthol cigarettes would result in an estimated loss of $2 billion dollars in sales at convenience stores across the country and would simply create a black market for these products.”

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