FDA takes ‘momentous step’ to prohibit menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars
WASHINGTON, DC, April 28, 2022 — The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) today 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:
“In a long-awaited action, the FDA has taken a momentous step toward prohibiting menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars, which have been shown to increase the number of youth and adults who become regular smokers and boost tobacco use and nicotine addiction. The American Heart Association commends the agency for taking decisive action to improve health equity by removing some of the tobacco industry’s most sinister tools from its toolbox.
“For decades, the tobacco industry has relentlessly targeted communities of color, underserved populations and youth with menthol products and other appealing flavors, putting them on the path to a lifetime of nicotine addiction, serious illness and premature death. Black smokers are disproportionally impacted, suffering the greatest burden of tobacco-related death in the United States.
“The science is clear: Menthol cigarettes have an adverse effect on public health and a devastating impact on communities the tobacco industry has targeted with these products. They make it easier to start smoking, increase the likelihood and degree of addiction and make it harder to quit, elevating the number of premature deaths from tobacco use. Taking these products off the market would have enormous benefits for public health, as research has shown that if menthol cigarettes are removed from the market, many smokers would attempt to quit.
“After the Tobacco Control Act banned flavored cigarettes other than menthol in 2009, tobacco companies quickly rolled out numerous new flavors in cigars, sales of flavored cigars nearly doubled, and youth cigar use increased, especially among Black youth and young adults. Because the vast majority of tobacco users begin the habit before age 18, it is critical that we keep these dangerous products away from our kids. Removing these products from the market will be key to reducing health disparities.
“The FDA has a duty to protect public health with nothing short of ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products. The American Heart Association and our nationwide network of advocates will relentlessly work with FDA to ensure the final rules are as strong and comprehensive as possible. We urge the agency to quickly issue final rules and remove these harmful products from the market.”
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.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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