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The White House has pushed back on previous plans to ban menthol cigarettes, citing the need for further discussions. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “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. It’s clear that there are still more conversations to have, and that will take significantly more time.”


This comes as a ban on menthol cigarettes has been in the works for over a decade but has faced continuous delays. Originally targeted for implementation last August, the rule’s publication was postponed to March. Currently, there is no set deadline for the rule’s publication, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not indicated any plans to withdraw the rule.

Public health groups expressed their disappointment, insinuating that lobbyists and those in the tobacco industry have sucesssfully been able to prevent the ban. In a statement, Carol McGruder, who is with the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, said, “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. Hundreds of thousands of Black Americans will die in the years to come because of today’s inaction. Shame on you, President Biden!” 


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