There has been some buzz about the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pushing to pull menthol cigarettes from shelves. While the FDA’s plan was still making its way to becoming law, and cigarette companies were lobbying against the idea, there hasn’t been much movement in the matter – until now.
The Agency announced an official proposal to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and all flavored cigars. Flavored tobacco is still considered safe, most likely due to the working of the proposal, and flavored tobacco also encompasses chewing tobacco.
The FDA is pushing this agenda to reduce the likelihood of young people becoming addicted and reduce the rates of smoking-related deaths and illnesses. While that has always been the angle in tobacco regulation, the evidence has only mounted in recent years.
In a publication titled A Systematic Review of Neighborhood Disparities in Point-of-Sale Tobacco Marketing, The National Library of Medicine reports menthol cigarettes as the most easily accessible in low-income communities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also correlates the consumption of menthol in cigarettes to the types of smoking-related illnesses afflicting these same communities.
The FDA’s brazen move to make menthol illegal is a monumental stance against tobacco companies. Resistance from them is inevitable since linking specific health issues and targeted areas.
In a statement, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said, “The authority to adopt tobacco product standards is one of the most powerful tools Congress gave the FDA, and the actions we are proposing can help significantly reduce youth initiation and increase the chances that current smokers quit.”