March is Almost Over, and We’re Still Waiting.

Almost two years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed rules that would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. The rules were the result of years of work by FDA staff, a decade of research on these deadly and addictive products, and thousands of comments from the public. But it has been almost two years since the proposed rules were released and the rules are still not finalized.

Each day we wait for the final rules to be released is another day Big Tobacco will hook new users and target communities with menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The Biden administration itself estimates that up to 654,000 lives, including up to 238,000 Black lives, could be saved over the next 40 years if menthol cigarettes are no longer available in the United States.

For decades, the tobacco industry has used menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars to attract and hook new users – aggressively targeting and marketing these products to communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community and youth. Unfortunately, the results of these predatory tactics are clear. Today, 85% of all Black people who smoke use menthol, and menthol use is high in Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian/Alaska Native and LGBTQ+ communities. Youth and young adults are also more likely to smoke menthol than any other age group.

It is the end of March and we are still waiting for the White House to finalize and release these lifesaving rules. Call on President Biden to stand up to Big Tobacco and save lives. Tell the President that two years is too long to wait.

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