FDA To Propose Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
The move would help address health disparities experienced by communities of color.
Under guidance from the Biden administration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and cigars, tobacco products that long been marketed to Black communities in the U.S.
In a press release issued this morning, the agency announced that it will take steps to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars “within the next year.” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock noted that the move would help address health disparities experienced by those the tobacco industry has targeted and disproportionately affected, naming “communities of color, low-income populations and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far ore likely to use these tobacco products.”
“Despite the tremendous progress we’ve made in getting people to stop smoking over the past 55 years, that progress hasn’t been experienced by everyone equally,” added Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center of Tobacco Products. According to CDC statistics cited by CNN, more than 85 percent of mentholated cigarette users are Black. Black smokers are also more likely to die of heart attacks, strokes and other tobacco-related complications than their white counterparts.
The New York Times reports that e-cigarettes, including the ever-popular Juul, will not be included in the FDA’s menthol ban. The FDA is reportedly conducting a review to determine whether e-cigarettes are beneficial enough to be allowed to remain on the market (devices such as the Juul are used by some as a means to quit smoking tobacco).
Head to the FDA website to read its full statement on menthol cigarettes.