Statement: President Biden expected to propose ban on menthol cigarettes

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

The move would help combat youth tobacco addiction


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is set to announce a proposed ban on the sale of menthol flavored cigarettes and some flavored cigars, according to news reports. Menthol is a minty flavoring that limits the harsh sensations of nicotine and cigarette smoke. The news comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration faces an April 29 deadline to respond to a citizen petition that calls for a prohibition on the sale of menthol flavored cigarettes.

The agency forced all other flavored cigarettes off the market in 2009, because, as the FDA itself said, they “are known to appeal to youth and young adults.”

In response, Matthew Wellington, U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns director, released the following statement:

“For decades, tobacco companies have used menthol to make their toxic products more enticing to try, easier to smoke, and harder to quit. Generations of young people, especially Black people, have lost their health, bright futures, and eventually, their lives, to menthol cigarettes. We’re glad to hear that the Biden administration plans to take significant action to remedy that avoidable tragedy, and we urge them to do so quickly. 

“President Biden’s next move should be prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes. Millions of middle schoolers and high schoolers currently use e-cigarettes, and eight in ten of them report using flavored products. Without a comprehensive flavor ban across all products, millions of kids will continue to use tobacco and get trapped into a potentially life-long struggle with addiction.”