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Biden Moves to Ban Another Popular Product Despite Backlash

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Biden administration


The Biden administration is getting ready to officially implement new regulations against menthol cigarettes, despite facing strong opposition from various groups including small businesses, civil rights organizations, law enforcement, and free market advocates.

Ban menthol cigarettes


These regulations, initially suggested by the Food and Drug Administration two years ago, aim to ban menthol cigarettes and have caused a heated debate between those in favor of public health and those concerned about civil liberties and business interests.

Faced delays


The FDA has faced delays in finalizing this ban, missing several target dates, with the most recent one being earlier this week.

Remains committed


“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 told Fox News.



“As we’ve made clear, these product standards remain at the top of our priorities,” the spokesperson said.

Pending approval


The agency’s spokesperson mentioned that they are unable to provide further details about the regulatory process as the proposal is still pending approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget, a step that was taken months ago.

Kelly Scully


White House spokesperson Kelly Scully also refrained from commenting, citing the ongoing nature of the rulemaking process.

Prolonged delays


The prolonged delays by the Biden administration in finalizing these regulations have caused concern among advocates pushing for the ban on menthol cigarettes.

Cancer Moonshot


Many of these advocates believe that such a ban is crucial for meeting the objectives outlined in President Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative. Initially set to be completed in August 2023, the delays have now extended for over seven months.

Shocking deference


“This continued inaction is a shocking deference to the tobacco industry, which has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to profit from products that result in death,” said Karen Knudsen, the CEO of the American Cancer Society.

Against the ban


Those against the ban are hopeful that their efforts to communicate their concerns have been heard by White House officials, leading to a potential reconsideration of the proposed ban on menthol cigarettes. Various groups, including associations representing convenience stores, law enforcement, consumers, and minority communities, have cautioned that such a ban could result in the growth of an illicit market while disproportionately impacting small business owners and minority populations who are the primary consumers of menthol cigarettes.

Numerous meetings


Recent OMB filings reveal that the White House and FDA have held numerous meetings regarding the proposal, engaging with a diverse set of stakeholders.



These stakeholders include supporters of the ban, such as the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network and the American Lung Association, as well as opponents like the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, and the National Action Network.

Opposite results


“The proposed ban would have the exact opposite results that proponents have championed,” NACS said in a statement to Fox News. “We hope that FDA is reconsidering its policy in light of the evidence that these types of bans simply don’t work.”

Economic consequences


“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,” said Javier Palomarez, the president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Business Council (USHBC).

Do not work


Opponents of the menthol cigarette regulations, including NACS, argue that bans do not work based on data from states with existing bans.

Financial losses


NACS predicts significant financial losses for convenience stores if the rule is implemented. Minority groups, such as the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement and the National Action Network, raise concerns about the impact on minority communities and potential escalation of police-minority interactions. These groups, along with others, met with key officials in November to discuss the proposal.

April 2022


In April 2022, the FDA introduced regulations aiming to ban menthol as a defining flavor in cigarettes and all non-tobacco defining flavors in cigars.

Deterring youth


The FDA believes that these measures will help decrease tobacco-related diseases and deaths by deterring youth from trying and becoming addicted to these products, as well as encouraging more smokers to quit.

Preventable deaths


The FDA highlighted tobacco smoking as the primary cause of preventable deaths in the country and justified its proposal based on its legislative mandate to set tobacco product standards.

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