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Menthol image cropped
Press Statement April 26, 2024

NAACP Condemns White House on Abandoning Menthol Ban

Menthol image cropped


April 26, 2024

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,


WASHINGTON — Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it has dropped any plans to issue an immediate ban to eliminate menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The Administration delayed issuing the final rule in December and also failed to meet the deadline it set to issue the rule by March 2024. This decision came despite ongoing efforts from the NAACP and numerous civil rights organizations and medical associations urging for a ban to protect targeted communities.

Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO shared the following response:

"In an election year, politicians should be prioritizing people, not profiteers. Today's news from the Biden Administration is a blow to the Black community, who continue to be unfairly targeted and unjustly killed by Big Tobacco. Let's be clear - valuing Black lives should not be used as a pawn to get our people to the polls, but rather a platform that our leaders refuse to step down from. 

It is dehumanizing when our leaders continue to make decisions that bend to a calculus rooted in political projections, reeking of the influence of an industry that has far too often peddled misinformation and disinformation at the cost of Black life and wellbeing. Bowing to Big Tobacco and its lobby is never in the best interest of the people. And unequivocally is not in the pursuit of health equity or racial justice.

The NAACP is outraged and disgusted, but we refuse to be deterred. We will continue to do whatever it takes to protect and advance Black life. This is what standing for community looks like."

Black Americans make up 12% of our nation's population but carry 41% of all menthol-related-smoking deaths across the past four decades. A menthol ban would have saved up to 255,000 Black Americans over the next 40 years. According to the American Lung Association, if a ban went into effect, about 1 million people in the U.S. would quit smoking within 17 months, including approximately 250,000 Black Americans.

The NAACP has, and will continue to advocate for the ban of all menthol smoking products. We call on our elected officials to commit their full support to a ban on menthol. Policies must serve the people of our nation and save lives - menthol cigarettes will continue to disproportionately harm Black Americans until leaders make a difference. We have more than enough evidence. There has been more than enough time. We need more than enough courage.



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund â€" also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.


Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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