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Biden Administration Moves to Ban Menthol

by Sam Leibowitz-Lord

The Biden administration, in response to ongoing calls from health regulators and racial justice advocates, has moved to ban menthol flavoring in tobacco products as part of an aggressive new harm reduction strategy. 

As reported by the New York Times, African-Americans are more likely to die of heart attacks, strokes, and cancers related to tobacco usage despite consuming less tobacco overall.. The reason,, according to community  leaders and healthcare  advocates, is because African-Americans are 85% more likely to consume more addictive, lower-quality, and menthol-based tobacco brands, such as Newport and Kool brand cigarettes.  There has been long standing universal availability and aggressive advertising of these menthol products in Black neighborhoods. The African-American Tobacco Control Leadership Council has aggressively pushed for a ban on menthol flavoring.

There is bipartisan support to ban menthol outright. The FDA is under a court order to respond to a citizen petition to ban menthol by April 29. Representative Karen Bass of California, the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus during the Trump administration and the emergence of the e-cigarette crisis, told the New York Times she   is confident a  menthol ban is coming by year’s end.

The original New York Times article can be found here.

Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies