(FreedomBeacon.com)- Last Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was issuing a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, a move anti-smoking advocates have been seeking for years.
The Biden administration, already losing support among black voters, will probably bleed even more black support over the decision as blacks account for a large percentage of the market for both menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
In 2019, more than 18.5 million Americans smoked menthols, with particularly high rates among young people, blacks, and other racial and ethnic groups. And in one decision, the Biden administration may have pissed off the very people Democrats rely on for votes.
Anti-smoking groups have been targeting menthol cigarettes specifically because they are widely used within the black community where smoking remains high despite rates of smoking steadily declining throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with some other groups have opposed the ban on menthols primarily because such a ban would disproportionately impact minority communities.
Currently, the sale of menthol cigarettes is already banned in several states including California and Massachusetts. They account for over a third of sales of cigarettes in the United States.
In banning menthol smokes, the FDA said studies indicate smoking rates would decline by 15 percent in 40 years if menthol cigarettes are banned.
The public will be given the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed ban from May 5 until July 5, then the FDA will review public comments and issue its final ruling.
Spoiler alert: The public comments will likely have no impact on the FDA’s decision. Though, if polling shows a significant blowback among black voters, don’t rule out the Biden administration asking the FDA to wait until after the midterms to make its final decision.
The FDA’s announcement has no immediate bearing on cigarette manufacturers’ ability to produce, market, or sell menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Manufacturers anticipate the FDA’s final implementation, if it happens at all, is still several years away.