Inspired by Kamala Harris’s crusade against pot-smoking White House staffers, the Biden administration now seems determined to stop the rest of the country from having fun.
The administration is expected to announce this week a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, according to the Washington Post. Supporters claim the ban will help curb youth tobacco use and boost public health.
As is often the case, the lofty rhetoric obscures a more dangerous encroachment of government on individual freedom. Plus, it’s racist, at least based on the standard of "equity" embraced by this administration.
Poor diet and inactivity kill upwards of 600,000 people each year, nearly a third more than smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Only 30 percent of those smokers smoke menthols. Why not ban fast-food restaurants and mandate 10,000 steps for every American if we accept the government’s right to force Americans to live healthy lives.
This White House has made clear through executive orders and presidential rhetoric that equity trumps equality, and presumably they take issue with facially neutral policies that have a disparate impact on minority groups. In fact, the Post writes, the menthol ban is intended to reduce racial disparities in the health care system.
Pick your poison. African Americans are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than any other group, which also means they will be disproportionately impacted by the forthcoming ban.
There’s nothing less American than bureaucrats telling adults how to consume legal substances. Perhaps President Biden can learn from his former boss, known cigarette-lover Barack Obama, and let smokers light up in peace—even the black ones.