President Joe Biden’s administration has decided to postpone the potential ban on menthol cigarettes due to concerns regarding the political consequences leading up to the 2024 election.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the administration was set to announce on Friday that it would be delaying the decision on the rule. The administration is expected to justify the delay by stating the need for further consultation with external groups to fully understand the implications of the ban. However, there is currently no specific timeline for when the issue will be revisited, as per the sources.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra confirmed the news in a statement released on Friday afternoon, mentioning that the potential ban will require a significantly longer period of time for consideration. The Wall Street Journal highlighted that the administration’s potential decision was influenced by a careful evaluation of the health effects versus the political repercussions, particularly concerning the impact on Black voters ahead of the 2024 election.

During the deliberation process, Republican strategists and retired law enforcement officials had previously warned the Daily Caller that proceeding with the ban could have negative political consequences for President Biden. These experts suggested that the ban might lead to a loss of support from a significant number of Black voters. Initial polling conducted in April 2022 indicated that the ban was widely unpopular in key swing states such as Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada.

“Black voters overwhelmingly backed Joe Biden in 2020, but polls show they aren’t nearly as excited to back him in 2024,” a national Republican strategist told the Daily Caller. “The data shows menthol cigarettes are overwhelmingly preferred by Black smokers, so some may perceive this ban as an unfair attack on them. At a time when polls show Biden is in an incredibly tight race, I’m surprised he would risk upsetting such a key constituency by banning menthol cigarettes.”

The Biden administration had initially been anticipated to reveal its future plans regarding the ban in December 2023, but three administration officials informed the Washington Post that the decision would be postponed due to “election year pressure.”