Biden Admin Bans Menthol Cigarettes — Gets Accused of Racism Against Black Americans


The Biden administration’s anticipated ban on menthol cigarettes is igniting fierce backlash from critics concerned about the racial implications of the action.

The facts: The Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce this week a proposal to ban menthol and other flavors from mass produced tobacco products, The Washington Post reported.

  • The proposal comes amid pressure from civil rights group and activists, who blame predatory tobacco industry marketing practices for the popularity of menthol-flavored cigarettes in the black community, which is disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of smoking.
  • According to the Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco non-profit, “nearly 90% of all African American smokers use menthol cigarettes.”
  • Full implementation of the ban would not take place for years, experts say.

The backlash: But while some racial justice advocates, including Black Lives Matter, support anticipated ban, others view it as patronizing and racist.

  • In a letter to Xavier Becerra, the Health and Human Services secretary, the ACLU argued the ban would have “serious racial justice implications.”
  • Michelle Minton, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, tweeted that while she didn’t “doubt that those who support a menthol ban have good intentions,” such a ban was “still inherently racist.”
  • In a piece for Reason Magazine, writer Jacob Grier argued that a ban on menthol cigarettes would lead to more confrontations between police and black Americans.
By We'll Do It Live