Biden’s Attack on Menthol Cigars

Few causes can unify Grover Norquist, George Floyd’s brother, Al Sharpton, and Americans for Tax Reform.

However, Joe Biden discovered one and galvanized yet another wide-ranging coalition against him.

To the outrage of civil rights campaigners, anti-police brutality activists, budget hawks, and neo-liberals, the president declared the FDA would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes.

Previous Failings

As a senator, Biden was a substantial part of the shameful and disgraced war on drugs.

As VP, his boss broke with tradition and signed the Family Smoking Control and Cigarette Power Act into law, giving the FDA regulatory authority over the tobacco business.

However, with inflation approaching double digits, Biden’s judgment to crack down on menthols, while simultaneously offering a regressive college debt termination package to hugely disproportionate white voters, no less, is a political puzzle, as well as a moral travesty.

The most apparent argument against Biden’s menthol prohibition is it will undoubtedly have a disparate racial impact.

Menthol smokers make up slightly more than a third of the total cigarette market, but they make up 85 percent of black smokers.

Because more than two-thirds of the United States bans the simple possession of cigarettes that haven’t been taxed, the consequences for police departments who didn’t follow the FDA statement are terrible.

When it comes to politics, we have to figure out what Biden is thinking.

Polling confirms the voters’ mandate: the No. 1 problem, the single issue that will truly determine the Senate’s swing in November, is inflation, which directly results from reckless financial expansion.

Yet, Biden is going to great lengths to please the white, well-off middle class with politically risky student loan debt forgiveness while alienating black voters, his base, with a ban that no one but public health Karens asked for.

Then, there are those Karens: the public’s interest in public health officials, in particular, has taken a massive hit throughout the epidemic; the FDA has not been spared. 

The FDA and CDC

The FDA’s revolving door relationship with Big Pharma has always fostered public distrust.

However, the FDA’s public spat with the CDC over the COVID vaccine boost and its disastrous decision to halt the government’s single-dose Johnson & Johnson inoculations, based on the silliest of data, sowed public distrust. 

While more than two-thirds of the public continues to trust physicians, nurses, and healthcare authorities they know, just 37% of participants in a Harvard study last year expressed a great deal or a fair amount of faith in the FDA.

According to new polling from Echelon, Biden’s prohibition is unlikely to be a Faustian deal.

Most people in the swing states of Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina say they don’t like the idea of a menthol ban. More than twice as many say they’d vote against a candidate who supported one.

The prohibition of menthol does nothing.

Traditional cigarettes, which are no safer than menthols, will continue to be sold, but black market menthols will remain untaxed and perhaps criminalized.

The restriction has little impact on inflation and unfairly affects black voters, to whom Biden owes the most politically.

It is unpopular in purple states. It strengthens an unreliable and undemocratic federal bureaucracy. For no reason at all, Biden is subjecting his whole party to political humiliation.