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Cigar-Makers Contest Biden’s Proposed Menthol Ban

Cigar-Makers Contest Biden’s Proposed Menthol Ban

Cigar-Makers Contest Biden’s Proposed Menthol Ban

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The Biden administration is contemplating a substantial action to prohibit menthol cigarettes, a choice with wider ramifications for the tobacco industry. Consequently, the cigar sector faces uncertainty, vehemently opposing a potential ban on flavored cigars. 

Their stance rests on the assertion that flavored cigars are unjustly lumped together with menthol cigarettes in regulatory discussions.

The FDA's Proposal on Flavored Tobacco

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has introduced a proposal aimed at flavored cigars, which the agency argues are especially attractive to young people.

The FDA believes that removing flavors from cigars could significantly reduce their appeal and, thus, the likelihood of young people experimenting with tobacco.

Health Advocates Push for Comprehensive Bans

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Health advocates are worried about the delay in enforcing the proposed ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, according to Axios. 

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids stresses the significance of relying on scientific evidence to guide regulatory decisions. CEO Yolonda Richardson asserts, “Science should inform us of the regulatory pathway we should pursue.”

The FDA's Final Steps and Industry Response

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With the FDA’s proposed tobacco bans under final review at the White House, the cigar industry prepares for potential repercussions. The proposal implies that prohibiting flavored cigars could greatly diminish youth tobacco consumption. 

However, the Cigar Association of America has not offered a statement on the issue.

The Growing Popularity of Flavored Cigars

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Research in Tobacco Regulatory Science highlights a notable rise in the demand for flavored cigars, with sales soaring over 50% in the ten years following the initiation of the ban on flavored cigarettes in 2009. 

This trend underscores the tobacco industry’s ability to adjust to regulatory shifts and discover alternative methods to sustain and expand its market share.

The Debate Over Premium Flavored Cigars

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Critics of the ban argue that premium flavored cigars, often enjoyed infrequently and alongside luxury spirits, pose different considerations compared to cigarettes. 

They highlight the unique usage patterns of cigar smokers, referencing a 2022 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The Biden Administration's Deliberation on Menthol Cigarettes

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The Biden administration’s decision to ban menthol cigarettes carries significant public health implications, particularly due to the disproportionate impact of these products on Black Americans. 

Internal deliberations reveal a tension between the potential health benefits of such a ban and its political ramifications, especially regarding support from the Black community.

Deadline Approaches for Regulatory Decision

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According to The Washington Post, as the deadline approaches, the administration faces mounting pressure to solidify its position on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. 

The FDA has reaffirmed its dedication to these bans, emphasizing their status as top priorities.

Support Within the Administration for a Ban

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Prominent figures within the administration, such as Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and White House domestic policy chief Neera Tanden, advocate for the menthol cigarette ban.

They cite the urgent need to address the health impacts of these products. Particularly the estimated 45,000 Black lives lost annually due to menthol cigarette consumption.

The Potential Impact of a Menthol Cigarette Ban

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The ongoing debate regarding the ban on menthol cigarettes underscores a crucial public health concern. Officials deliberate the potential to save lives while considering potential political ramifications. 

The administration’s pending decision holds implications for the forthcoming election and broader tobacco control endeavors.

Internal Opposition and Support for the Ban

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While some within the White House expressed concerns over the potential political fallout of a menthol cigarette ban, others, including Danielle Carnival of the administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative. 

This internal divide illustrates the challenging balance between public health goals and political considerations.

The Future of Tobacco Regulation

Source: X

As the Biden administration approaches its decision on tobacco regulation, the future of flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes remains uncertain. 

With the issuance of the final rule anticipated by March, stakeholders across the spectrum are eagerly awaiting a decision.