Now that the war to make human lives in America as unpleasant as possible is fairly obvious, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking to strip perfectly legal tobacco products from the shelves. Specifically, they are looking to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars with the argument that the artificial flavorings lure young African-Americans into joining the ranks of smokers.
The proposal, which comes a year after the agency announced the plan, still needs to be finalized and could take years to implement as it is likely to face stiff opposition from big tobacco.
For decades, menthol cigarettes have been in the crosshairs of anti-smoking groups who have argued that they contribute to disproportionate health burdens on Black communities and play a role in luring young people into smoking.
Menthol cigarettes, banned in many states including California and Massachusetts, account for more than a third of the industry’s overall market share in the United States, even as overall smoking rates have been declining in the country.
In 2019, there were more than 18.5m menthol cigarette smokers ages 12 and older in the country, with particularly high rates of use by youth, young adults, and African American and other racial and ethnic groups, the agency said.
“We believe harm reduction, not prohibition, is the better path forward,” Altria said in a statement.
“Taking these products out of the legal marketplace will push them into unregulated, criminal markets that don’t follow any regulations and ignore minimum age laws.”