A conservative nonprofit organization called the Liberty Policy Foundation is planning to target President Biden and vulnerable Democratic lawmakers in crucial swing states over the administration’s proposed menthol cigarette ban, according to Courtesy News Digital.
The group, which was launched by senior GOP operatives, is specifically focusing on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed rules that would prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
The FDA’s director of the Center for Tobacco Products, Brian King, confirmed to Courtesy News Digital that they are in the final stages of reviewing the regulatory documents after getting approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The Liberty Policy Foundation plans to launch a campaign to educate Americans about Biden’s tobacco and crime policies. A spokesperson for the organization stated, “When Americans realize Biden is criminalizing tobacco while the border is open, and heroin injection sites are being decriminalized, they’re going to ask their senators some questions,” adding, “This is just the start.”
The group intends to send out mailers in key states, calling out Biden and vulnerable politicians, such as Senators Jacky Rosen, Bob Casey, Tammy Baldwin, Jon Tester, and Rep. Elissa Slotkin.
In addition to the Liberty Policy Foundation’s efforts, other groups, including the New England Convenience Store & Energy Marketers Association and conservative advocacy group Building Americas Future, have also intensified their public awareness campaigns against the proposed ban.
They argue that previous bans on menthol cigarettes, like the one in Massachusetts, have led to an increase in illicit sales and organized crime involvement. They warn that Mexican cartels could take advantage of the black market if the federal menthol ban is implemented.
Critics of the proposed ban, including former law enforcement officials and Black leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, have expressed concerns about potential unintended consequences.
They fear the ban could create opportunities for Mexican cartels and organized crime to thrive in the illegal tobacco trade. Sharpton also highlights the potential for racial profiling if the ban were to be enforced, stating, “Imagine some cop pulling a kid over saying, ‘Where did you buy or get that Kool cigarette?'”
Meanwhile, proponents of the FDA’s proposal argue that it will protect children and benefit adult smokers. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra explained that the proposed rules aim to prevent children from becoming smokers and assist current smokers in quitting.
Supporters believe that ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars would have a significant impact on reducing tobacco-related health disparities and saving lives.
Read More: Yale Economist Predicts Close Economy-Driven Contest in 2024 Election
Organizations such as the American Lung Association, the NAACP, 100 Black Men of America Inc., U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have expressed support for the FDA’s proposal, emphasizing the potential for positive health outcomes and the reduction of tobacco use disparities among different communities.
As discussions around the proposed ban continue, the Liberty Policy Foundation and other groups will continue their efforts to influence public opinion and shape the outcome of this controversial issue.