Prominent cardiologist highlights toll of menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars on family, patients

DALLAS, October 30, 2023 — Urgent action is needed from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars to halt the damage being done to families and communities, according to cardiologist Jorge F. Saucedo, MD, MBA, FAHA.

Saucedo, a member of the American Heart Association’s Board of Directors, published an opinion column in La Opinión urging the FDA to finalize strong regulations to prevent the sale of these deadly products.

“Tobacco companies have spent millions of dollars to build trust and confidence within the Hispanic/Latino community so they can sell hazardous products that threaten the health of our families and communities,” said Saucedo in his column. “As a result, too many families like mine have been devastated by tobacco use and nicotine addiction. Menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars have done untold damage to the health of our families and communities – the FDA should remove these products from the market without delay.”

Last month, the FDA sent rules that would end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars to the White House for final regulatory review. This followed a lengthy rulemaking process during which the American Heart Association and numerous other public health groups strongly urged the agency to quickly issue final rules and remove these harmful products from the market.

Big Tobacco has long targeted communities of color and youth with menthol and other flavored products. In the column, Saucedo notes the history of tobacco companies seeking out Hispanic/Latino populations saying, “The tobacco industry began targeting Hispanic/Latino communities with marketing initiatives as early as the 1970s. Internal tobacco company documents noted that the Hispanic/Latino market was ‘brand loyal,’ ‘lucrative,’ ‘easy to reach’ and ‘undermarketed.’” He also outlines other sinister tactics in the industry’s toolbox, such as academic scholarships for young Latinos, corporate sponsorships of cultural events and financial contributions to political causes to “position themselves as allies of Hispanic/Latino people.”

Saucedo writes, “We can’t bring back the people we’ve lost, but we can fight to prevent further suffering and death” if the administration delivers on its promise to take menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars off the market once and for all.

Spanish News Release


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