Ally Turns on Biden Admin After Planned Ban

( – The administration has floated banning menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars almost since President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Yet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved forward slowly and cautiously. Now, the FDA is ready to move forward with the prohibitions, hoping to save American lives. Surprisingly, the administration is meeting resistance from an utterly unexpected opponent.

Why Ban Menthol-Flavored Tobacco Products?

According to the American Lung Association (ALA), researchers found people started smoking more readily with menthol cigarettes. They promoted nicotine addiction more quickly, provided increased sales, and made quitting more difficult. While only 34% of all smokers choose menthol cigarettes, 81% of Black smokers in the US choose menthol, according to the CDC.

Each year, more Black Americans die from using tobacco, 45,000 annually, than any other preventable cause. Lung cancer rates nationwide run highest among Black men. Tobacco companies aimed decades of targeted marketing at Black communities.

The ALA cited research indicating that a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes could result in up to a million people quitting smoking within 17 months after menthol sales end. Additionally, advocates of the ban estimate it might save over 650,000 lives over four decades as a result, including nearly 220,000 Black lives.

A Surprising Opponent Steps Forward

Despite the data on how menthol tobacco products have affected the health and longevity of Blacks, Rev. Al Sharpton has called on the Biden administration to abandon its efforts to halt the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. In a protest letter to the Office of Management and Budget, Sharpton wrote that a ban would only “create illicit markets and more police interactions,” creating more harm than good to minority communities in the short term.

As an example, he pointed to the case of Eric Garner. Gwen Carr, Eric’s mother, described how police used an illegal chokehold, killing her son while trying to detain him for selling loose cigarettes in the community in July 2014. Carr said she doesn’t advocate smoking, but she believes prohibiting items creates black market demand and leads to an increased police presence in low-income areas, increased confrontations, and more criminal penalties for minorities disproportionately.

However, the NAACP supports the menthol ban, stating tobacco companies targeted Black consumers with flavored products, hoping to addict them to their products. The controversy has split the Black community, and some have reframed the arguments along political lines, claiming the Biden administration is targeting a product favored by Black consumers while leaving products preferred by Caucasians alone.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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