WASHINGTON, D.C., December 6, 2023 — Lifesaving final rules to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars will be further delayed, according to the Biden administration’s Fall 2023 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions released today. 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 administration to issue strong final rules without delay:

“We are deeply disheartened to learn the administration will continue to delay the release of lifesaving rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released two proposed rules more than a year ago that were strongly supported by scientific evidence and hundreds of thousands of public comments.

“We should not have to wait any longer. The FDA has already been examining this issue for more than a decade. In 2011, the agency’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee concluded that ending the sale of menthol cigarettes would improve public health. Then in 2013, the FDA conducted an internal review that found menthol enhances the addictiveness and dependence of tobacco and increases the likelihood that people will start smoking and become regular users.

“The administration is delaying a landmark moment that would stop the sale of these addictive products that for decades have increased tobacco use and smoking-related illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Each day we wait for the final rules to be released is another day Big Tobacco will hook new users and target communities with menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

“This administration has an opportunity for a defining achievement to prevent disease and death from tobacco use. The administration itself estimates that up to 654,000 lives, including up to 238,000 Black lives, could be saved over the next 40 years if menthol cigarettes are no longer available in the United States. It also estimates that 9,000 premature deaths can be attributed to regular cigar smoking, defined as smoking cigars on 15 or more of the past 30 days; approximately 5,200 of these premature deaths occur in regular cigar smokers who did not also smoke cigarettes.

“Last month, the American Heart Association joined with 79 other national groups to voice our full support for strong final rules in a full-page Washington Post advertisement. Our message to the administration remains clear: Issue strong final rules now that will save lives.

“By prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, the administration would take historic action to protect the health of families and communities across the country. The administration must urgently finalize these rules, help secure its public health legacy and save lives now and for generations to come.”


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.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:
Arielle Beer: 202-785-7902; arielle.beer@heart.org  
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
heart.org and stroke.org