The Biden administration is eager to get the Food and Drug Administration back to being the nation’s nanny-in-chief.

The administration’s new crusade: mandating tobacco makers reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes and to ban menthols outright. According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s all for your own good:

The nicotine-reduction policy under consideration would lower the chemical in cigarettes to nonaddictive or minimally addictive levels, aiming to push millions of smokers to either quit or switch to less harmful alternatives such as nicotine gums, lozenges or e-cigarettes. A menthol ban, meanwhile, would aim to curb smoking initiation among young people, many of whom start with menthols. Both policies would take years to implement and would likely face legal challenges.

That’s one way to think about it. Of course, there’s also the possibility smokers decided they need to smoke even more to get the same nicotine effect. There’s also the possibility a robust black market in regular strength nicotine products could develop. The folks in organized crime will thank the Biden administration for that one!

Or course, people could shift to other products not specifically mentioned – say, cigars, chewing tobacco, which would also then have to be put on the low-nicotine list.

People could also turn to vapeing, but that’s the object of moral panic from anti-tobacco activists, the CDC, and others. 

In the end, governments and busybodies alike tend toward tobacco prohibition. Except state and local governments really do count on tobacco tax revenues to help balance their budgets. Maybe full prohibition, then, isn’t in the cards. But more hectoring from a government nanny most certainly is.