Delaying a ban on menthol cigarettes has sparked controversy among US government officials

The White House has delayed the implementation of a ban on menthol cigarettes, causing concern in the public health community. The delay in the FDA’s ban on menthol cigarettes has raised questions among public health groups. The nation’s top public health officials have met with civic community leaders about the menthol cigarette ban.

Recently, according to Thehill, U.S. government officials met with public health leaders following the administration’s decision to delay the sale of menthol tobacco.


The unannounced meeting is not officially on the public agenda, but last month administration officials held a pre-agenda meeting with tobacco industry lobbyists, including some former lawmakers, all of whom oppose the proposed ban. Two weeks later, the White House officially announced that the ban would be delayed until March.


Tuesday’s online meeting, sponsored by the “Tobacco-Free Teens” campaign, will include U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner RobertCaliff, Health and Human Services Secretary Javier Becerra Neera Tanden, White House domestic policy adviser (NeeraTanden).


According to people who attended the meeting, it was organized after the ban was delayed and public health groups asked why industry lobbyists were meeting with senior government officials.


Public health and civil rights leaders involved in the National Association of Colored People’s President and Center Executive Derek Johnson, David Setchell Setchell, who worked on disease control and later became the nation’s first colored attorney general (DavidSatcher), Louis Sullivan, HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan, American Medical Association President YolandaLawson, and board leaders of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association.


The Office of Management and Budget is responsible for regulatory action. (OMB) Meeting with anyone interested in the discussion is necessary. Such meetings are used for listening and are generally not allowed for senior officials.


Beginning in October, OMB held multiple meetings with outside teams on policies that included retailers, civil rights groups, and law enforcement officials. According to the records, most of the meetings were related to groups opposing the ban.


Especially with Biden running for president again, public health groups have been warning that the White House could come under pressure to decide to permanently delay the rule.


In the plan, the release date of the new regulations should be in August and then delayed until the end of the year. In the White House’s regulatory plan, the new target date is March 2024.


The menthol tobacco ban has been more than a decade in the making. If it goes into effect, it will be one of the FDA’s most influential tobacco control policies since 2009. Health authorities and tobacco control advocates say it could save thousands of lives, especially among black smokers.


According to the FDA, about 85 percent of black smokers smoke menthol tobacco, compared to 30 percent of white smokers.


However, some prominent black members and community members have expressed ambivalence about the proposed ban, with critics claiming it heralds a longstanding industry practice that black communities and alliances with leaders will create chaos.