Killjoys, freaks https://t.co/DYInGAN8yB
— Matthew Walther (@matthewwalther) April 28, 2022
“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing proposed product standards to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and prohibit all characterizing flavors (other than tobacco) in cigars,” the FDA announced in a press release.
The “politically tricky” ban has been proposed in the past, but stalled in part because of the disparate impact it would have on minority smokers.
According to Allahpundit, “85 percent of African-American smokers preferring menthols versus 29 percent of whites [and] 51 percent of Hispanic smokers also prefer menthols.”
The FDA hoped to mitigate this controversial aspect of its plan by refusing to enforce the ban against individual consumers.
“Importantly, the FDA cannot and will not enforce against individual consumers for possession or use of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars,” a bolded portion of its press release read.
“FDA enforcement will only address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers who manufacture, distribute, or sell such products,” the statement informed.
“It is clear that these efforts will help save lives,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “We know the majority of smokers want to quit [and this prohibition] will give them a better shot.”
According to the FDA the “minty taste and aroma” of the menthol cigarette “reduces the irritation and harshness of smoking,” which “increases appeal . . . for youth and young adults.”
“The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step to advance health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities.”
A Wall Street Journal analysis of smoking data showed that “the share of U.S. smokers who use menthols has risen continuously, from 30.5% in 2005 to 43% in 2020.”