EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Jim Banks Presses FDA Over Menthol Ban, Says It Would Enrich Terrorists

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks and a group of House Republicans sent a letter Tuesday to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressing their opposition to a proposed rule that would ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the letter, in which Banks and the other House Republicans urge the FDA to pause its rulemaking, saying it will enrich Hamas and other terrorist organizations that traffic in black market tobacco. In 2013, the New York Daily News reported that one Hamas-tied ring in New York City made $55 million in just 17 months selling illegal tobacco.

Banks said the Biden administration should be more focused on the fentanyl flooding across the border than on trying to ban menthol cigarettes. (RELATED: Biden May Reportedly Delay Menthol Ban After Concerns Of Political Implications)

“A ban on menthol cigarettes risks significantly enlarging this illicit market and driving millions in new revenue to state sponsors of terrorism and foreign terrorist organizations,” Banks wrote in the letter. “I urge you to pause all rulemaking on menthol cigarettes until the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies can weigh in on this decision and force the administration to seriously consider the harm this rule will cause to our national security. The perpetrators of the October 7th attacks and their closest terrorist allies should not be rewarded by misguided and paternalistic policies.”


(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — 02.06.24 – Hezbollah Hamas Menthol Ban Letter FINAL by Henry Rodgers on Scribd

Republican Reps. Ronny Jackson and August Pfluger of Texas, Lisa McClain of Michigan, Rob Wittman of Virginia and David Kustoff of Tennessee also signed the letter. (RELATED: STROUD: The FDA’s Menthol And Flavored Cigar Ban Would Hurt The Economy And Benefit Criminals)

“Fentanyl, the leading killer of working age Americans, continues to flow across our wide open southern border at a record pace and this administration is focused on banning mint flavored tobacco,” Banks told the Caller before sending the letter. “Joe Biden’s public health malfeasance has already been disastrous within our borders and it may well end up enriching terrorists abroad too.”