In a disappointing turn of events, the long-awaited ban on menthol cigarettes may have to be put off even longer. Rumors say that it will not happen until 2024. Anonymized officials from well-known national public health groups have talked about their worries about the possible loss and the effects it could have, especially on vulnerable groups like Black smokers.
Still no official word from the Biden government, which has been at the center of talks about the ban. Two public health officials have hinted that the delay might be made public as early as next week. This has raised concerns that it could last for a long time, maybe even after the November election for president.
One official expressed great worry, pointing out how hard it would be to put these kinds of steps into place during an election year, when people are busy and resources are limited.
A citizen plea from 2013 asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban menthol as a flavor in cigarettes. This started a long process that led to the suggested ban on menthol cigarettes. Even though Brian King, head of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said that the ban would be finalized in 2023, the agency missed the date it set for itself in August.
The FDA says that menthol use affects people of color more than white users. Nearly 85% of black smokers prefer menthols, while only 30% of white smokers do. The delay in enforcing the ban makes people worry about how it might affect differences in lung cancer findings and results.
Well-known public health groups, like the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association, have strongly pushed for the ban, noting scientific proof and strong public support. The American Lung Association wants the White House to keep President Biden’s promise to avoid cancer through the Cancer Moonshot. They stress how important it is to ban menthol goods in order to reach this goal.
In answer to the worries, the FDA said again that finalizing rules to ban menthol tobacco goods is still very important. The Biden administration has been in talks with both the tobacco business and public health groups on a regular basis. They have stressed how important it is to deal with the fact that menthol cigarettes are addicting and make it harder to quit.
As people who work in public health wait for a decision, the possible delay in the menthol cigarette ban makes people wonder how it will affect people’s lives and stresses how important it is to act quickly to take these goods off the market.