FDA Moves To Ban Sales Of Menthol Cigarettes, Flavored Cigars

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has begun the process of banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

“Banning menthol — the last allowable flavor — in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products. With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.

It could be a while before the ban on menthol flavored tobacco products goes into effect. The FDA still needs to publish its proposed rules in the Federal Register allowing an opportunity for public comment.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Studies have found that flavors like menthol have increased the appeal of smoking because it masks the unpleasant flavor of tobacco. These products can also become more addictive, making it difficult to quit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it has begun the process to ban these products. It’s a move many say will significantly reduce disease and death linked to tobacco products.

“Banning menthol — the last allowable flavor — in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products. With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.

It could be a while before the ban on menthol flavored tobacco products goes into effect. The FDA still needs to publish its proposed rules in the Federal Register allowing an opportunity for public comment.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Studies have found that flavors like menthol have increased the appeal of smoking because it masks the unpleasant flavor of tobacco. These products can also become more addictive, making it difficult to quit.

In 2019, there were over 18.5 million menthol cigarette smokers aged 12 and older in the United States, with particularly high rates of use by young people, Black people and other minorities, the FDA said. Modeling studies have estimated a 15% reduction in smoking within 40 years if menthol cigarettes are no longer available, the agency said, and those same studies estimate that 324,000 to 654,000 smoking-related deaths overall (92,000 to 238,000 among Black Americans) would be avoided over the course of 40 years.

 

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