Biden Drops Plan to Prohibit Menthol Cigarettes After Facing Criticism From Black Community

The Biden administration is reversing its plan to ban menthol cigarettes after facing harsh criticism from the Black community.

“This rule has garnered historic attention and the public comment period has yielded an immense amount of feedback, including from various elements of the civil rights and criminal justice movement,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said this week.

“It’s clear that there are still more conversations to have, and that will take significantly more time,” he added.

Public health groups criticized the decision, saying many Black Americans will “die in the years to come” as a result of the decision.

“If the Biden administration believed that Black lives matter, they would have ended the sale of menthol flavored cigarettes. Instead, they appear to be caving to Big Tobacco which has racistly targeted our community for decades,” Carol McGruder, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, said.

“Hundreds of thousands of Black Americans will die in the years to come because of today’s inaction. Shame on you, President Biden!” 

The original ban on menthol cigarettes was proposed over two years ago, after extensive research on the effects was conducted.

“This decision prioritizes politics over lives, especially Black lives,” said Yolanda Richardson, President and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement. “It is especially disturbing to see the administration parrot the false claims of the tobacco industry about support from the civil rights community.”