Editorial: Up in smoke: Good riddance of flavored menthol cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration is set to ban the manufacture and sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes, the only remaining flavored cigarette still legally permitted. To borrow from an unintentionally dark advertising slogan used by the leading menthol brand, the movement makes us come alive with pleasure.

The first reason is also the second, the third and the last: smoking is highly addictive and kills.

After the publication of a multitude of studies conclusively demonstrating the mortality and addiction of the toxic carcinogens packed in every box, after sweeping public smoking bans in New York and across the country, after years of increases from taxes on cigarettes, far fewer Americans smoke than did in the middle of the last century.

Yet this terrible habit is still responsible for more than 480,000 American deaths a year and immeasurable agony. This is largely because, when the FDA banned flavored cigarettes, the gateway to cancer persists for many young people, in 2009 it left a deadly asterisk carving out which flavor was most aggressively marketed and popular among black Americans. He did this despite the fact that black Americans currently die at higher rates of tobacco-related illnesses like cancer and heart disease than others, and despite the fact that the minty aroma helps attract smokers more. young people by masking the irritation of the throat caused by regular cigarettes.

So, congratulations on the Biden administration for taking this step, which neither the Trump administration nor the Obama administration was prepared to enact. At this point, we’d like to blow a puff of smoke in the face of Reverend Al Sharpton, who lobbied against the “unfair” ban even though his National Action Network accepted money from tobacco giant RJ Reynolds. Boo.

The Biden administration estimates that the ban, which must be enforced in a strict but sensitive manner, will cause nearly a million people to quit smoking in the first 17 months after its enactment and could save the lives of 633,000 Americans. That’s the people of Memphis.

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