The Biden-Harris administration on Friday announced it is dropping—for now―a plan to ban menthol cigarettes after months of speculation about the proposal’s future. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra did not say when or if the administration would revisit the issue, nor did he mention the fate of a related proposal to ban flavored cigars. 'This rule has garnered historic attention, and the public comment period has yielded an immense amount of feedback, including from various elements of the civil rights and criminal justice movement,' he said. 'It’s clear that there are still more conversations to have, and that will take significantly more time.'

ONS Perspective

Last week’s decision to delay the ban on menthol cigarettes was met with waves of disappointment from ONS and others the cancer advocacy community. As healthcare professionals who witness the consequences of smoking-related cancers daily, oncology nurses understand the critical need to combat the disproportionate impact across different populations. Menthol cigarettes, often marketed towards younger individuals and underrepresented populations. Not only are they a significant contributor to the youth smoking epidemic, but 85% of Black smokers use menthol tobacco. Eliminating those cigarettes is a crucial step forward in promoting health equity and reducing tobacco-related health disparities.

ONS is actively collaborating with the White House to implement the menthol cigarette regulation effectively. Together, we can fight back against the tobacco industry.

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