(RepublicanJournal.org) – The Biden administration has its sights set on a new ban, this time targeting menthol cigarettes. Proponents say the change will drastically reduce the number of new smokers while saving the lives of many long-term users who will quit as a result of the new law. Critics worry the change will only create a new black market and might even cause some voters to turn on the current president at the polls.
According to the CDC, 37% of all cigarette sales in 2021 were menthol. Officials have been working on a ban for over a decade, which they claim could save American lives in the hundreds of thousands. The greatest benefit would likely occur in black communities, which have the highest ratio of menthol smokers because tobacco companies allegedly targeted them for the product throughout the recent decades. Roughly 70% of black adults prefer the flavored cigarette over its plain counterpart, whereas only about 39% of white smokers choose mentholated varieties.
Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009, giving the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. A ban on flavored cigarettes emerged from the law but a loophole allowed menthol flavor to remain on the market. The new ban would only affect manufacturers and retailers, but opponents fear it could open the doors to bigger issues. Fox News shares that fears are mounting over the possibility that Mexican cartels will move in to profit off the new black market, which they believe menthol cigarette prohibition is sure to create. Others are likely to see an opportunity in political ads, which may target President Joe Biden for allegedly misplacing his priorities and wanting to turn “law-abiding citizens” into “criminals.”
California and Massachusetts have already banned menthols in their states, but officials are still uncertain whether the changes have reduced actual consumption. Issues, such as confusion about the rules, lax enforcement, and black-market sales could allow the flavored cigarettes to remain as popular as ever.
Whether voters turn their backs on Biden over the change will become clearer once citizens have gone to the polls.
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