President Biden just ain’t Joe Kool. And if you need proof, the new administration is moving to ban menthol cigarettes.
The Biden Food and Drug Administration is reportedly planning to issue new rules this week that would eventually bar the sale mint and other flavored cigarettes that are often marketed to young people and Black Americans.
The move would not immediately force iconic brands like Newport and Kool off store shelves. But it would start a lengthy process that would likely lead to their being outlawed.
Biden is taking the step in response to a longstanding push by Black health advocates, who say the African-American community has borne a heavy toll from the minty-tasting puffs, the Washington Post reported.
Menthol cigarettes are believed to be more addictive, making it easier to pick up the habit and harder to quit.
Some 85% of all Black smokers light up menthol cigarettes, a rate three times that of whites.
The disparities may contribute to outsized rates of heart disease, stroke and cancer among Black smokers compared to white smokers, doctors say.
The new rules may also target small flavored cigars, marketed as “cigarillos,” which are gaining popularity among young people.
The FDA is acting this week in response to a deadline set by a federal court in North Carolina in a case aimed at banning mint-flavored cigarettes.
Once the FDA issues the proposed rules, a long period of public comment will start. Big Tobacco and its allies among lawmakers in both parties may push back hard against the ban, which would cut a lucrative revenue stream.