Apr 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration to announce ban on menthol cigarettes

Photo of Joe Biden in a mask and sunglasses walking
Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration is expected to announce a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes this week, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Tobacco opponents and civil rights groups have said the industry disproportionately targets and hurts Black communities. Tobacco use remains a contributor to the leading causes of illness and death, especially among people of color.

  • Though the ban could take years to implement, antismoking advocates will likely hail the announcement as a necessary and long overdue move toward boosting public health.
  • The administration is also set to propose a ban on menthol and other flavors in mass-produced cigars, including "small cigars popular with young people," according to the Post.

The big picture: This type of ban does not require congressional approval, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must first take public comment on the proposed rule before finalizing regulation.

  • The industry is likely to challenge a ban in court, having repeatedly sued the FDA in the past over anti-tobacco regulation.
  • The administration is also considering a mandate for tobacco companies to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes to nonaddictive levels, though no announcement is planned, per the Post.
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