Biden Admin Scraps Menthol Cigarette Ban Amid Fear Of ‘Angering’ Black Voters

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden’s administration is delaying its potential plan to ban menthol cigarettes after concerns about the political implications ahead of the 2024 election.

The administration planned to announce Friday that it will delay its decision on the rule, people familiar with the matter told the WSJ. While the administration plans to argue that it needs to consult more outside groups on the implications of the rule, there is no current timeline to revisit the issue, the sources told the WSJ. (RELATED: Forget Carjackings: The Chocolate City Needs To Rise Up Against The Menthol Ban)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 28: In this photo illustration, menthol cigarettes sit on a table on April 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to ban both menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars in a move hailed by public health experts which could potentially lead to 1.3 million people quitting smoking. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Health and Human Services (HHS) Sec. Xavier Becerra confirmed the news in a statement Friday afternoon, saying the potential ban “will take significantly more time.”

The WSJ noted that the potential decision comes after the White House weighed the health impacts versus the political implications of “angering” Black voters before the 2024 election.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on how the CHIPS and Science Act and his investing in America agenda are growing the economy and creating jobs in Central New York and communities across the country, during a visit to the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, New York, U.S., April 25, 2024. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

While the Biden administration was weighing the rule, GOP strategists and retired law enforcement professionals previously told the Daily Caller that moving forward with such a decision could hurt Biden politically. The experts told the Daily Caller that the ban could cost the president a number of black Americans’ votes. Once the ban was first suggested in April 2022, it polled as widely unpopular in several swing states, including Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada.

“Black voters overwhelmingly backed Joe Biden in 2020, but polls show they aren’t nearly as excited to back him in 2024,” a national Republican strategist told the Daily Caller. “The data shows menthol cigarettes are overwhelmingly preferred by Black smokers, so some may perceive this ban as an unfair attack on them. At a time when polls show Biden is in an incredibly tight race, I’m surprised he would risk upsetting such a key constituency by banning menthol cigarettes.”

Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, speaks during a rally for the George Floyd Policing Act on the steps of City Hall on March 09, 2023 in New York City. Members of Mothers of the Movement, a group of women whose African American children have been killed by police officers or by gun violence, held a rally against racism, inequality, and policies targeting people of color. The members are also calling on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and asked that New York legislators not support a ban on Menthol cigarettes. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, speaks during a rally for the George Floyd Policing Act on the steps of City Hall on March 09, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The Biden administration was previously expected to announce its plans moving forward for the ban in December 2023, though three administration officials told the Washington Post that the rule be delayed because of the “pressure during an election year.”

“This would be devastating,” David Margolius, director of public health for Cleveland, previously told the Washington Post about the potential delay in the ban.