(ConservativeSense.com) – The Food and Drug Administration’s ban on menthol cigarettes could pave the way for criminal cartels to create a black market for the product, former law enforcement officials warned last week.
The FDA announced in April that it planned to move ahead with a proposed ban on flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes to “significantly reduce disease and death” as well as “youth experimentation and addiction.”
Last month, the FDA took the final step in enacting the ban when it sent the proposed rules to the Office of Management and Budget for a final review.
CNN reported in October that the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, which represents more than 66,000 retailers, warned that the ban would take the supply of these products from “responsible, licensed, and regulated retailers” and place them in an “illicit marketplace.”
According to Fox News, many former law enforcement officials agree.
Former Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina told Fox that the FDA’s ban is effectively a prohibition, which means that if the product is removed from the current market, organized crime and criminal cartels will move in and fill the void.
Colina said the ban will “create a vacuum” in a multi-billion-dollar industry that China, Mexico, or even the Mexican cartels will exploit.
Former ATF special agent Pete Forcelli told Fox that the FDA should have involved law enforcement in the decision-making. He pointed out that every ban opens up an opportunity for criminal cartels and organized crime.
Forcelli said there could also be the risk that terrorist organizations could try to profit from a black market created by the FDA’s ban. He suggested that the ban could inadvertently help fund terrorist activities in the Middle East.
The FDA’s push to ban menthol cigarettes is aimed primarily at reducing smoking-related illness and death in the black community. Studies have shown that in marketing methol products, tobacco companies aggressively targeted black communities.
A study in 2020 found that, while just 43% of all adult smokers used menthol cigarettes, among black smokers, an overwhelming 83% preferred menthol.
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