Durbin Issues Statement Following FDA, White House Delay in Implementation of Menthol Cigarette Rule

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement expressing his frustration that the White House has announced the delay of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation to prohibit the production and retail sale of menthol cigarettes until spring 2024:

“With each additional day that menthol cigarettes remain on the market, Big Tobacco profits off the addiction and suffering in America.  For too long, communities of color have been aggressively targeted by Big Tobacco’s lies and deadly products.

“Lives are at stake.  I urge the Biden Administration, in keeping with its stated commitment to end cancer as we know it, to revisit this unacceptable delay and to do what is right for the health of Americans.”

Earlier today, Durbin delivered a speech on the Senate floor calling on the FDA and Biden Administration to swiftly implement a proposed public health regulation to prohibit the production and sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.  Durbin spoke about his own family’s grief after losing his father to lung cancer, reiterating that a ban on menthol cigarettes could save an estimated 650,000 American lives from tobacco-related deaths and eliminate the racial disparity in lung cancer deaths between Black and White Americans.  In his remarks, Durbin emphasized that communities of color bear the brunt of the addiction, disease, and death from menthol cigarettes as Big Tobacco has intentionally targeted Black Americans in advertising and marketing.