Advocates urge administration to ‘finish the job’ on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2023 — One year ago today, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released proposed rules for the regulation of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, issued the following statement urging the agency to finalize strong rules:

“One year ago, the FDA issued a bold proposal to prohibit tobacco companies from selling menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. Removing these products from the market would reduce their appeal, prevent young people from starting to smoke and help people who currently smoke quit. It would also reduce health disparities, lower health care costs and most importantly, save lives.

“For decades, the tobacco industry has used menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars to attract and hook new users – aggressively targeting and marketing these products to communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community and youth. The results of these predatory tactics are tragically clear. Today, 85% of all Black people who smoke use menthol, and menthol use is high in Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian/Alaska Native and LGBTQ+ communities. Black youth are also more likely to smoke cigars than cigarettes and smoke cigars at a higher rate than other racial and ethnic groups. Youth and young adults are more likely to smoke menthol than any other age group and 75% of young people who smoke cigars report that they use the products because they come in flavors they like, such as strawberry, chocolate brownie and banana split.

“Advocates across the country including Minou Jones of Detroit, Michigan and DJ Yearwood of Independence, Missouri have shared their stories about the devastating impact of these and other tobacco products on their families and communities. We urge the administration to finish the job by finalizing strong rules that take these highly addictive, deadly products off the shelves.”

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About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

For Media Inquiries:

Arielle Beer: 202-785-7902; arielle.beer@heart.org  

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