Letters to the editor

Menthol ban

The op-ed “Menthol ban would boost $$ incentive for cartels” omits recognizing the unprecedented scientific evidence-based facts favoring the FDA’s pending menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars ban. A nationwide menthol ban would be the most aggressive and impactful development to diminish the leading cause of preventable death, smoking, in the world.

It is misleading not to mention that the FDA mission is to save millions of lives and the pending menthol ban is expected to have an offramp for smokers by also focusing on nicotine addiction. Reports have suggested that FDA authorized modified risk tobacco products may be exempt from the ban.

A plant biotech company named 22nd Century Group has FDA authorization for the first nearly nonaddictive cigarettes in history, called VLN (Very Low Nicotine) and the FDA requires “Helps You Smoke Less” to be on all their packs.

The immeasurable mortality and enormous public health costs of not banning menthol cigarettes and addressing nicotine addiction makes drug cartel profits miniscule in comparison. The FDA has put a lot of scientific research and resources into the menthol ban decision and evaluated input from a wide range of professionals and the public. Politics and preserving tobacco industry profits shouldn’t play a key role in the decision.

Devender Coleman


Biden on world stage

During these perilous times, with the world becoming increasingly destabilized, American civilians being killed and U.S. soldiers under attack in the Middle East, people are sharpening their scrutiny of President Biden, particularly given his overt weakness, timidity, and unsettling vacillations in response to ominous global developments. Many political observers can’t help but remember what Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary for the Obama administration, famously said about Biden some years ago: “I think he’s been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

And many Beltway observers are also uncomfortably remembering something that former president Barack Obama, in a moment of brutal candor, privately said of Biden: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to (expletive) things up.”

By all accounts, as evinced through Biden’s unsteady presidency, and particularly through his handling of the unnerving world events of today, it would appear that Gates and Obama were uncannily accurate in their assessment of Biden.

Michael J. DiStefano

Jamestown, RI

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