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ADA, others urge FDA to ban menthol cigarettes, other nontobacco-flavored tobacco products

March 04, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and dozens of likeminded stakeholders are urging the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit menthol cigarettes and other nontobacco-flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars.

“The public health and medical community have long been united in calling on FDA to use its authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to issue product standards ending the manufacture and sale of flavored tobacco products,” the groups wrote in a March 3 letter to the agency.

“There is no question that flavored products are particularly attractive to young people, leading to increased tobacco initiation,” the letter continued, citing a 2015 study by the FDA and National Institutes of Health that found flavored tobacco products “may result in lifelong use” of tobacco.

The coalition also urged FDA to grant the citizen petition the groups filed in 2013 and to quickly issue a proposed rule to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes.

“Menthol in cigarettes leads to greater initiation of smoking among youth, makes it harder to quit smoking and has a disproportionate adverse impact on the health of Black Americans,” the groups wrote.

“If FDA is to adhere to its longstanding commitment to entirely science-based decision-making, it must grant the citizen petition and inaugurate a regulatory process to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes,” the letter concluded. “Moreover, to prevent the industry from selling menthol cigarettes masquerading as cigars, FDA’s menthol rule should apply to menthol in cigars as well.”

The letter said the FDA is expected to rule on the citizen petition before April 29 and described it as a “first step toward a broader set of product standards prohibiting all non-tobacco flavors in all tobacco products.”

Read the letter in full at ADA.org.

For more information about the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/Advocacy.