Small Business Committee Speaks Out on Menthol Ban

A letter to the White House expressed concern for the industry if the ban is implemented.

November 17, 2023

NACS recently shared the economic impact a menthol ban would have on smaller co-store operators with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. Upon hearing the concerns, the Committee sent a letter to the White House further sharing those concerns.

"If implemented, this Rule would cause a single convenience store to lose $72,285 a year in non-tobacco sundry sales (nearly 4% of inside sales) on top of the $160,107 lost due to the reduction in sales of tobacco products. Small operators in the convenience industry would collectively lose $2.16 billion in sales, representing $232,392 in lost sales per store,” the letter communicated.

The letter also cited a potential boom in illicit sales: “Menthols make up 37% of all retail cigarette sales in this country. Disallowing the legal sale of menthol cigarettes will only incentivize the illicit tobacco market.”

The Committee noted that a coalition of about 700,000 law enforcement officers commented on the proposed Rule, saying that the ban “will increase multiple categories of crimes in our communities. The data is clear that illicit tobacco attracts gangs and organized crime.”

Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams stated, "Banning menthol cigarettes would result in an estimated loss of $2 billion dollars in sales at convenience stores across the country and would simply create a black market for these products.” He continued, "It is my hope that Director Young and Administrator Revesz reject this rule and allow small business to operate without government interference."

Fox News reported that a menthol ban “would lead to a reduction of $72,285 a year in non-tobacco sundry sales and $160,107 a year in tobacco product sales for the average convenience store nationwide. Overall, the convenience industry would collectively lose $2.16 billion in sales.”

"Prohibition has never worked," said Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Business Council (USHBC). This group opposes a menthol ban, noting that it “flies in the face of American voters and is poised to dismantle a sizable portion of our economy as tax-paying, law-abiding and job-creating convenience stores rely on these products for 30% of their sales."

Retailers can use the NACS Grassroots portal to send a message to the White House voicing concerns for your business and the industry at large if a menthol ban goes into effect. A text box allows you to send a personalized message to the White House, or you can send the prewritten message NACS provides.