Biden’s Menthol Cigarette Ban Set to Open up a Vacuum for Cartels, Law Enforcement Warns

Former law enforcement agents have shared that Biden’s plans to ban menthol cigarettes will only create further problems for the US, opening a vacuum for Mexican cartels to start selling them on the black market instead.

FDA’s push against menthol

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Plans began for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars back in April 2022, aiming to prevent children from ever starting to smoke and to benefit adult smokers.

Ban nears final review

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This October, it was announced that the proposed rules had made their way to the White House Office of Management and Budget and were in “the final step of review,” according to the FDA’s director of the Center for Tobacco Products, Brian King.

Concerns of cartel infiltration

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According to several former law enforcement officials, however, the proposed ban will cause a multitude of problems, including opening the door up for cartels to enter the market. Speaking to Fox News Digital, ex-officers criticized the Biden administration for not consulting law enforcement for advice on the matter.

Former officer’s warning

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Jorge Colina, former City of Miami chief of police, shared, “This is essentially a prohibition, and we know what happens when you remove a current market. Organized crime and/or cartels move in.”

Unintended consequences

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Colina explained that the “unfunded mandate” would create a vacuum ripe for cartels to move in on, allowing them to take advantage of what will likely be a multi-billion dollar market. He also said that he doesn’t think the administration has considered all of the consequences, stating, “Law enforcement should have been allowed at the table to talk about this.”

Voices going unheard

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Pete Forcelli, a former ATF special agent and deputy assistant director, agreed with Colina’s comments. “To me, it makes no sense why the Biden administration wouldn’t have consulted with law enforcement.”

Opportunities for organized crime

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He continued, “With any sort of ban, you open up opportunities for organized crime, for drug cartels, and truthfully—given the nature of what’s going on now—even folks funding terrorist activities in the Middle East to profit from that black market that you’re then going to create.”

Delayed plans

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A ban on menthol cigarettes has been in the works for quite some time, but plans have now been delayed until at least March. This is due to critics claiming that the ban will unfairly target black smokers and, as such, could potentially harm the president’s re-election chances.

Blacks are targeted

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According to Mignonne Guy, associate professor and former chair of the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, 85% of black people who smoke cigarettes smoke menthol. He claims that this isn’t by coincidence and that the tobacco industry purposely targets black people to ‘peddle these drugs’.

Meeting with tobacco industry lobbyists

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Many also noted the timing of the delay after top officials from the Biden administration met with members of the tobacco industry, industry-adjacent organizations, and other top executives.

Influence of the tobacco industry

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Micah Berman, a professor at Ohio State University’s College of Public Health told the Hill, “It’s hard to be surprised by another delay. But I certainly was surprised that here the delay was following so close on the heels of tobacco industry and industry-funded groups meeting with OMB [the White House Office of Management and Budget].”

“And then having the delay announced right after that—the fact that they still apparently have that much direct influence in 2023 is a bit shocking,” he said.

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