Latest White House Delay in Issuing… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Latest White House Delay in Issuing Final Menthol Rule is Unacceptable and Benefits Big Tobacco at the Expense of Black Lives

Statement of Yolonda C. Richardson, President and CEO, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
April 26, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – It is unacceptable and deeply harmful to public health that the Biden Administration today has once again delayed issuing the final rule to prohibit menthol cigarettes. This decision prioritizes politics over lives, especially Black lives. It is especially disturbing to see the Administration parrot the false claims of the tobacco industry about support from the civil rights community. The fact is the menthol rule is overwhelmingly supported by Black civil rights, faith, public health, medical and other organizations – leading organizations like the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women Inc., the National Medical Association, the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, and many others. It is also supported by a majority of the Congressional Black Caucus. The groups opposing the rule are paid by the tobacco industry to spread false, fearmongering messages. It is shocking that the Administration is repeating the claims of a tobacco industry that has repeatedly lied to the public and is willing to say and do anything to protect its profits.

There is absolutely no reason to further study or delay a rule that has been studied for more than 12 years, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence, and will save hundreds of thousands of lives, especially Black lives. Make no mistake: Delays cost lives.

The menthol rule has strong and broad support across the nation. Supporters include members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, other Black civil rights and health organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and over 300 faith leaders from across the country. On March 21, 123 leading civil rights, public health, faith, medical, youth-serving and other organizations placed a full-page ad in The Washington Post and issued a joint statement urging the Biden Administration to immediately issue the final rule.

Eliminating menthol cigarettes also has strong public support. Recent polling shows that voters support the rule by a wide margin, with even stronger support from Black voters.