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'I wonder why?' The White House banned menthol cigarettes

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The White House just delayed the planned ban on menthol cigarettes, and speculation is rampant about what's really behind the decision.

While the decision to ban specific cigarettes is not new, the Food and Drug Administration only formally proposed regulation of them last year. But in the months since, the Biden administration has faced “intense lobbying from tobacco companies, convenience stores and industry-backed groups that say billions of dollars in sales and jobs will be lost “, The New York Times. reported.

“The proposal has also raised concerns that black smokers will become targets of aggressive police tactics, though some black leaders, top lawmakers and government officials dispute that and say tobacco companies are funding and fueling those fears.” , the paper continued.

While the ban continues to be pushed out, some believe legal challenges may prevent it from seeing the light of day.

Concerns about President Joe Biden's re-election prospects in 2024 are reportedly a factor, with The Times noting that “the policy of banning menthol cigarettes is a sensitive one for Mr. Biden.”

“It cannot afford to appear condescending to black voters, who have long been a key Democratic constituency. Recent polls show that black voters are increasingly disconnected from the Democratic Party, and even some allies of Mr. Biden have expressed concern that a lack of enthusiasm among African-Americans is keeping them from the polls,” the article continued.

In remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, the Democratic majority whip of Illinois, argued that fears about voter turnout were “grossly exaggerated.”

“And I want to make it clear,” he said, “they sell stories — Big Tobacco is — that we're going to go out and arrest African-Americans if they use menthol cigarettes. But that's not the case at all.”

“Any delay in finalizing the FDA's menthol rule would be a gift to the tobacco industry at the cost of black lives,” said Yolanda Richardson, CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We urge the administration to keep its promise and issue a final rule later this year.”

“An estimated 85 percent of black smokers use menthols, according to the FDA, compared to 30 percent of white smokers. About 40 percent of excess deaths from menthol smoking in the U.S. among 1980 and 2018 were among African Americans,” The Hill reported, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A Nov. 20 meeting with senior Biden administration officials was attended by tobacco companies, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and representatives of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network who lobbied against the ban


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