In a rare recognition of reality, the Biden Administration today finally agreed to drop their deeply flawed plans to introduce prohibition for Menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. As Americans for Tax Reform has consistently demonstrated, the evidence is overwhelming that this proposal would have done nothing to reduce smoking rates, but would have created a national black market run by international criminal syndicates, drained much needed resources away from law-enforcement, hurt businesses, and cost state and local governments a staggering $6.6 billion. ATR previously led a coalition of 36 leading national and state-based organizations in opposition to the ban, and joined other organizations in meeting with the Office of Management and Budget explaining in detail why this ban was such poor policy with no positives, but staggering negatives to businesses, taxpayers, and the community.

However, while dropping this proposal is a welcome step in the right direction, it is an insufficient one. The Biden Administration continues to deny Americans the right to make the switch to reduced risk alternatives such as e-cigarettes, heat not burn tobacco, and nicotine pouches, through a dysfunctional Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is consistently blocking almost all applications for reduced risk products to remain on the marketplace in a manner courts have found is “arbitrary and capricious”. Biden’s FDA has so far denied over 26 million products approval for sale, driving countless Americans back to smoking combustible tobacco.

Rather than simply admitting menthol prohibition would be a failure, Washington needs to actively encourage harm reduction, follow the lead of other countries and encourage smokers to make the switch to products proven 95% less harmful than smoking. With over 20 million users of reduced risk products in America, most of whom consider this a vote-moving issue, and millions more willing to make the switch if it regulations would allow it, this isn’t only the morally right thing to do, it is the politically smart thing to do.