Op-Ed: Flavor Bans Feel Like the Failed ‘War on Drugs’
Last month, the Biden administration reaffirmed its intent to implement a nationwide ban on menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, a goal first outlined by the president and his team last year.
Since that announcement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been working to finalize its rule to prohibit the sale of these products and says one will be issued “in the coming months,” but the agency is currently behind schedule.
Maine lawmakers attempted their own prohibition in the most recent session but were unsuccessful. Dissension within the ranks of majority Democrats — coupled with the sizable loss in revenue that would come from enactment while trying to finalize a state budget that included record spending — ultimately sank the bill this time around. But it will likely be back again in the future.
Proponents of the flavor ban claim that prohibiting the sale of these products will save lives and reduce disparities in health outcomes. Yet data from other states and our country’s history with prohibitions tell a much different story.