Dozens of groups are trying to influence the Biden administration’s upcoming proposal on banning menthol cigarettes, the Associated Press reports. The groups include tobacco lobbyists, anti-smoking advocates, civil rights groups and small business owners.
Menthol cigarettes make up more than one-third of the U.S. cigarette market. The ban has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives, while eliminating billions of dollars in tobacco sales, the article notes.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nearly 85% of African American smokers, 47.7% of Hispanic smokers, 41.1% of Asian smokers and 30.3% of white smokers smoke menthol cigarettes. Youth who smoke are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than older smokers. Almost half of cigarette smokers ages 12-17 smoke menthols.
In April 2021, the FDA announced its plans to propose tobacco product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a flavor in cigarettes and ban all flavors (including menthol) in cigars.