Biden's ban on menthol cigarettes could cost him support in black community

"Instead of banning menthol cigarettes, President Biden should: Stop the flow of illegal drugs in our country; make groceries more affordable; make college more affordable," the mailer read.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
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A conservative non-profit group is attempting to dissuade black voters from supporting Joe Biden by highlighting the president's push to ban menthol cigarettes, which he opted to delay after strategists warned that it could negatively impact his support among the demographic.

Building America's Future tested out its plan earlier this month ahead of the Democratic primary in South Carolina which took place on February 3, and said it hopes to target black voters in other states in the coming weeks.

According to NBC News, in the lead-up to the South Carolina primary, BAF sent mailers to around 75,000 likely Democratic voters in the state, a large number of whom are black. While Biden won with 96 percent of the vote, the group is analyzing what effect, if any, its mailers had on the outcome.

The mailers were green and black and depicted a smiling black man and woman in a supermarket next to a smaller image of Joe Biden screaming into a microphone.
 

"Leadership is about setting priorities," the text read. "Instead of banning menthol cigarettes, President Biden should: Stop the flow of illegal drugs in our country; make groceries more affordable; make college more affordable."

"Tell President Biden to do what he promised," it added.

BAF said it plans on spending over $1 million to draw mostly black voters away from the Democratic Party in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin via television and radio advertisements, as well as mailers.

According to a study cited by the Food and Drug Administration, menthol cigarettes are more likely to be consumed by black Americans. As a result, the Biden administration's proposed ban has been met with mixed reactions.

While some have lauded the ban as a necessary step away from the harmful habit of smoking, others have questioned why menthol cigarettes in particular have been targeted.

As The Hill reports, Virginia Commonwealth University associate professor Mignonne Guy argued that the fact that 85 percent of Black people who smoke cigarettes smoke menthol cigarettes was "not a mistake."

"It's not happenstance," she explained. "It's not culture. It's not a preference for the taste. It is a concerted marketing effort by industry that infiltrated these communities to peddle these drugs, and they've done so successfully."

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