Biden Reverses Course On Banning Menthol Cigarettes Over Fear Of Angering Black Voters: Report
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 28: Packs of menthol-flavored and non-menthol cigarettes are displayed for sale in a smoke shop on April 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to ban both menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars in a move hailed by public health experts which could potentially lead to 1.3 million people quitting smoking.
Mario Tama / Getty Images

President Joe Biden has reportedly canceled a plan to ban menthol cigarettes after his administration feared that banning them could cause black voters to revolt against the president ahead of the upcoming election.

The Wall Street Journal reported that menthols account for roughly a third of all cigarette sales in the U.S. and that black people are overwhelmingly the largest consumers of the product.

Activist groups believe that by banning menthol cigarettes, there will be an explosion in black market sales of the product, which they claim will lead to racial profiling by law enforcement.

“This rule has garnered historic attention and the public comment period has yielded an immense amount of feedback, including from various elements of the civil rights and criminal justice movement,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “It’s clear that there are still more conversations to have, and that will take significantly more time.”

The Journal reported that the administration pulled back on its plan as it considered the “political repercussions” of banning the product as Biden is significantly “underperforming with Black voters, especially Black men.”

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the decision by the administration was “a blow to the Black community, who continue to be unfairly targeted and unjustly killed by Big Tobacco. Let’s be clear – valuing Black lives should not be used as a pawn to get our people to the polls, but rather a platform that our leaders refuse to step down from. The NAACP is outraged and disgusted, but we refuse to be deterred.”


The American Lung Association also spoke out against the decision, saying that it was “deeply troubling and does not reflect the science or the response from the civil rights community, including the NAACP, that these rules would save lives and prevent kids from starting to smoke. The Lung Association is deeply disturbed that President Biden has failed to do what he has promised, which is to follow the science and to reduce deaths and cancer.”

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