Biden’s Menthol Cigarette Ban Delay Raises Questions About Political Motives

The Biden administration’s decision to indefinitely delay its proposed ban on menthol cigarettes has raised questions about the political motives behind the move. Some analysts speculate that the delay may be related to concerns over President Joe Biden’s decreasing popularity among Black voters a key constituency that overwhelmingly supported him in the 2020 election.

“Black voters overwhelmingly backed Joe Biden in 2020 but polls show they aren’t nearly as excited to back him in 2024,” a national Republican strategist told the Daily Caller. “The data shows menthol cigarettes are overwhelmingly preferred by Black smokers so some may perceive this ban as an unfair attack on them. At a time when polls show Biden is in an incredibly tight race I’m surprised he would risk upsetting such a key constituency by banning menthol cigarettes.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had previously announced plans to add mint-flavored cigarettes to its list of banned flavors setting a deadline of March 2024 for the administration to take action. However, the proposed ban has faced opposition from within the Black community with leaders arguing that it could lead to an expansion of the illicit cigarette market and increased racial profiling of Black individuals.

In a statement explaining the delay U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra cited the “historic attention” the rule has garnered during the public comment period particularly from “various elements of the civil rights and criminal justice movement.”

Despite the potential political implications data from the CDC shows that smoking cigarettes remains the biggest preventable cause of death for Americans with nearly half a million people dying from illnesses related to smoking and over 41,000 dying from issues related to second-hand smoke each year.