FDA Proposes new Regulations on Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars
Over half of the smokers targeted are under 18 and more than half of those individuals smoking cigars use flavors...
Today the FDA proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in an attempt to target products used by more than a third of smokers. The FDA estimates that 18.5 Million people use menthol cigarettes and three out of four Black smokers report the use of menthol products.
Over half of the smokers targeted are under 18 and more than half of those individuals smoking cigars use flavors according to the proposed rule the ban would take effect just one year after the final rule is published.
“Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars will save lives. It will also help reduce the unjust disparities in tobacco use, primarily caused by the tobacco companies targeting vulnerable communities with menthol cigarettes. When finalized, we believe this will be the single most significant action taken by FDA in its almost 13-year history of regulating tobacco products.”
American Lung Association’s National CEO Harold Wimmer said in a statement.
The menthol ban has been framed as an equity issue and individuals have raised concerns about discrimination against Black smokers and potential excuses for heavier policing of use. The NAACP supports the ban and the National Action Network opposes the ban. The proposal for the ban, first introduced in April 2021, is the most recent move to tighten restrictions on the tobacco industry. In 2020, Congress raised the eligibility age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.
There are also more updated regulations coming for vaping products with synthetic nicotine after a loophole was closed in the 2022 omnibus. The FDA commissioner Robert Califf today said the FDA should have control of the synthetic market around sometime in mid-May but he also emphasized the importance of Congress passing a $100 Million user fee from the vaping industry to help fund newly proposed efforts.
“Because we still got a lot of work to do. Two million, at least two million teenagers are currently vaping. Knowing what we know about nicotine addiction, it’s safe to assume the majority of those are already seriously addicted to nicotine.”
Robert Califf testified to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
The deadline to rule on e-cig applications for some of the largest manufacturers is also behind. The court order was submitted for September 9, 2021. The agency is expected to publish a review schedule with the court next week. In September 2021, the agency completed a review of 93% of applications, mostly from smaller manufacturers, following a crackdown on flavored products deemed too attractive to teens.