President Biden’s administration is clearing out the smoke when it comes to the sale of menthol flavored cigarettes. This nicotine product accounts for more than one-third of all cigarettes sold in the U.S. each year. Menthol cigarettes have been historically heavily marketed toward Black Americans, and the FDA specifically noted that the move to ban them would save the lives of 92,000 to 238,000 African Americans.
The Breakdown You Need To Know:
CultureBanx reported the FDA intends to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes in the U.S., as well as all flavored cigars. In the U.S., 81% of Black smokers and 51% of Hispanic smokers used menthols in 2020, compared with 30% of white smokers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In 2013, the FDA found that menthols are harder to quit and likely pose a greater health risk than regular cigarettes. Tobacco use leads to more than 480,000 deathsa year in the U.S. and approximately 45,000 African Americans die from smoking-related diseases every year.
Addiction To Money:
Addiction to menthol flavored nicotine is one thing, being addicted to making money is much harder to quit. Case and point; In 2017, British American Tobacco shelled out nearly $50 billion to buy Newport maker Reynolds American, which is the top U.S. menthol-cigarette brand. Menthols account for roughly 30% of British American Tobacco’s U.S. cigarette global profits, according to Morgan StanleyMS -1.2%.
Stopping the sale of menthol cigarettes would be a huge hit to these companies' bottom line. Shares of British American Tobacco are up 8.7% over the past year.
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