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 October 24, 2023

Biden administration planning to ban flavored and menthol cigarettes

President Joe Biden's Food and Drug Administration is seeking to ban flavored and menthol cigarettes in another crackdown on the tobacco industry, Breitbart reported. Meanwhile, other agencies in the administration are distributing crack pipes and liberalizing laws on other drugs.

The FDA is attempting to outlaw menthol cigarettes under the guise that they are more addictive than plain tobacco. The companies that make these cigarettes claim there is no such evidence that's the case.

While this ban is supposed to target public health among minorities, the American Civil Liberties Union and black leaders believe this will do nothing but provide more excuses to police them. CATO Institute Senior Fellow Jeffrey Singer further pointed out that it would create a black market for menthol cigarettes, adding to the problems already in those communities.

"In my comments, I stated that, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2020, 81 percent of Black and 51 percent of Hispanic smokers preferred menthol-flavored cigarettes," Singer wrote Tuesday. He asserted that experience elsewhere indicates "that the proposed product standard will not work, and will likely foster a black market," he said, citing the European Union's difficulty with this issue.

"Perhaps even worse, the ban might further aggravate criminal justice inequities," Singer added. He said research indicates that menthol tobacco products "are no more, and perhaps less, harmful than non-menthol cigarettes."

Singer also cited studies that show people who use menthol cigarettes "have a lower cancer mortality risk than non-menthol cigarette smokers." He believes it won't have an impact on young smokers since "60 percent of teen smokers smoke non-menthol cigarettes."

"Sadly, it appears the menthol‐​ban train has already left the station. This means more business opportunities for purveyors of black market products—ranging from illicit drugs to cigars and cigarettes," Singer said. Regardless of the merits of either side of the argument, the fact remains that they're bringing up this issue at a time when the administration is facilitating the use of serious and addictive substances elsewhere.

Thanks to a grant from Biden's Department of Health and Human Services, Brown University and New York University set up "safe injection sites" to study whether doing so would prevent overdoses. Rather than being relegated to crack dens and dark alleys, they rolled out the red carpet for drug users and provided staff to revive anyone who took too much of it.

Another program implemented in fiscal year 2022 provided addicts with drug paraphernalia to the tune of $30 million. This money, distributed in grants, was for the purpose of giving users pipes to smoke "any illicit substance," including crystal methamphetamine and crack cocaine.

Probably the most absurd aspect of attempting to criminalize cigarettes is that Biden is simultaneously pushing to decriminalize marijuana. In remarks made last October, Biden criticized laws that imprisoned people who possessed the substance.

"As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.  Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit," Biden said.

"Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.  And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates."

The president went on to promise to pardon federal marijuana offenders and urged states to do the same, ultimately with an eye toward changing federal law. "Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana.  It’s time that we right these wrongs," Biden claimed.

It's absurd that Biden would criminalize tobacco while ensuring that other mind-altering and addictive substances hold a privileged place under the law. This makes no sense, but that kind of mindlessness is on-brand for this incompetent administration.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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