The Biden Administration on Thursday announced plans to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, the government’s most aggressive action in decades to regulate the sale of tobacco, and one likely to face strong opposition from industry groups.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf told a Senate committee on Thursday the ban would reduce mortality risk for current smokers of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars by “substantially decreasing their consumption and increasing the likelihood of cessation.”
The ban—which could take at least a year to go into effect—is expected to have the largest impact on Black smokers, the majority of whom smoke menthol cigarettes and whom the tobacco industry has targeted aggressively in marketing the products, according to to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The proposal, which could be finalized after 60 days but may also face legal challenges, comes a year after the Food and Drug Administration announced it would aim to ban the product within 12 months.
The mint-flavored cigarettes account for more than a third of all US tobacco sales.