FIRST ON FOX: Home Republicans introduced Thursday that they’re probing the Biden administration over its proposed menthol cigarette ban, which is predicted to be finalized within the coming weeks.

In a letter to senior White Home officers, Home Small Enterprise Committee Chairman Roger Williams, R-Texas, and Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa., expressed concern concerning the proposed rules and listed a sequence of questions concerning the rulemaking course of. They urged the administration to contemplate the proposal’s “important financial impacts on small entities” and potential “fueling of illicit markets” that may consequence.

“Sadly, the Biden administration has proposed one other rule that may disproportionally hurt our nation’s small companies,” Williams — who led the letter to Workplace of Administration & Price range Director Shalanda Younger and Workplace of Data & Regulatory Affairs Administrator Richard Revesz — instructed Fox Information Digital in an announcement. 

“Banning menthol cigarettes would end in an estimated lack of $2 billion {dollars} in gross sales at comfort shops throughout the nation and would merely create a black marketplace for these merchandise,” he continued. “It’s my hope that Director Younger and Administrator Revesz reject this rule and permit small enterprise to function with out authorities interference.”


Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, is photographed on Oct. 24.

Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, chairman of the Home Small Enterprise Committee, is photographed on Oct. 24. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Name, Inc by way of Getty Photographs)

Williams and Meuser famous of their letter that, underneath the Regulatory Flexibility Act, businesses are required to investigate proposed guidelines and assess whether or not they may have a major financial influence on a considerable variety of small companies. They added that the federal authorities’s evaluation confirmed such a major influence, supporting information launched by the Nationwide Affiliation of Comfort Shops (NACS).

In keeping with the NACS, which despatched a letter to President Biden opposing the proposal on Nov. 8, the rule would result in a discount of $72,285 a yr in non-tobacco sundry gross sales and $160,107 a yr in tobacco product gross sales for the typical comfort retailer nationwide. Total, the comfort trade would collectively lose $2.16 billion in gross sales.


“Prohibition has by no means labored,” Javier Palomarez, the president and CEO of the US Hispanic Enterprise Council (USHBC), one other group opposing the proposal, stated in an announcement this week. “The proposed menthol ban flies within the face of American voters and is poised to dismantle a large portion of our financial system as tax-paying, law-abiding and job-creating comfort shops depend on these merchandise for 30% of their gross sales.”

“Additional, the tobacco trade as an entire helps over 600,000 jobs and $40 billion in wages. This financial exercise contributes over $45 billion yearly in federal and state taxes, a major quantity of which fits to fund our public colleges,” stated Palomarez. “The ban will even create an unlawful market, shifting gross sales and income away from harmless, small companies and hand Mexican cartels a brand new income supply.”

The White Home is predicted to quickly finalize its ban on menthol cigarettes. (Getty Photographs)

In April 2022, the FDA issued product requirements to ban menthol as a characterizing taste in cigarettes and prohibit all characterizing flavors apart from tobacco in cigars. The company stated the transfer would cut back illness and demise from tobacco product use by lowering youth experimentation and dependancy, and growing the variety of people who smoke that give up.

Tobacco smoking stays the lead reason for preventable demise nationwide, in line with the FDA. In proposing the foundations, the FDA cited its congressional authority to undertake tobacco product requirements.


Final month, the FDA despatched the proposed rules to the White Home Workplace of Administration and Price range for overview, a ultimate step in finalizing and finally implementing the menthol cigarette ban. Brian King, the director of the FDA’s Middle for Tobacco Merchandise, beforehand instructed Fox Information Digital that the transfer means the proposal reached its “ultimate step of overview for regulatory paperwork.”

“The proposed guidelines would assist forestall kids from changing into the subsequent era of people who smoke and assist grownup people who smoke give up,” Well being and Human Companies Secretary Xavier Becerra stated after the rule was proposed. “Moreover, the proposed guidelines symbolize an essential step to advance well being fairness by considerably lowering tobacco-related well being disparities.” 

Along with NACS and USHBC, regional organizations representing comfort retailer operators, and different nationwide enterprise teams just like the Comfort Distribution Affiliation have lined up in opposition to the proposal. Lawmakers together with Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., have additionally pushed again on the rules.


The proposed federal ban would value comfort shops billions of {dollars} in gross sales and native governments billions of {dollars} extra in tax income. (Oli Scarff/Getty Photographs)

Menthol cigarettes symbolize 34% of whole cigarette gross sales, and flavored cigars account for 51% of cigar gross sales in comfort shops, NACS information confirmed. As well as, customers who bought menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars additionally bought $10.7 billion in different non-tobacco merchandise throughout visits to comfort shops final yr.

Moreover, a Tax Basis evaluation carried out in 2022 concluded the restriction would value the federal authorities $1.9 billion and state governments a complete of $4.7 billion, given the excessive tax charges on cigarettes.

Nonetheless, proponents of the proposed motion stated it may result in diminished tobacco use and guarantee optimistic well being outcomes.


“As soon as finalized, guidelines to finish the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars rule would be the most vital actions that the FDA’s Middle for Tobacco Merchandise has taken in its 14-year historical past. The American Lung Affiliation is raring for these lifesaving guidelines to be applied and urges the White Home to finalize these guidelines earlier than the top of the yr,” American Lung Affiliation CEO and President Harold Wimmer stated final month.

“The science and information are clear. Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars will save lives,” Wimmer continued. “It would additionally assist scale back the unjust disparities in tobacco use brought on by the tobacco firms concentrating on sure communities with menthol cigarettes.”

The NAACP, 100 Black Males of America Inc., U.S. Convention of Mayors and Marketing campaign for Tobacco-Free Youngsters have additionally signaled assist for the FDA’s proposal.

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