The FDA decides to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes

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Public health advocates have long called for a ban on menthol. When the landmark Tobacco Control Act was passed in 2009, giving the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products, menthol was exempted from tobacco flavors that would be banned.

The exception angered public health groups and a group of former US cabinet health secretaries, who noted the 47,000 black lives lost each year to smoking-related illnesses. Allowing menthol cigarettes to remain on the market “gives in to the financial interests of tobacco companies and discriminates against African Americans”, the health secretaries wrote in a letter to the Senate, when the smoke-free law was in force. congressional review course.

The law left the matter in the hands of the FDA and its advisers, who moved forward. In 2011, agency advisers said removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health, but did not call for a ban. Two years later, the FDA said menthol made it easier to start smoking and made it harder to quit, seeking comment on “potential regulation.”

Half a decade passed before Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner at the time, announced his intention to seek a ban on menthol cigarettes in 2018. He left the agency before reach this goal. Last year, the agency said it would pursue the ban again, along with eliminating flavors in mass-produced little cigars that are popular with black and Latino teenagers.

White House records show recent meetings with supporters of a ban, including the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Public Law Health Center and others have left officials with a review of Canada’s experience with a menthol cigarette ban in 2017, which led to 59% of menthol smokers buying unflavored cigarettes , 20% of menthol smokers to quit and almost the same proportion to continue buying on native reserves, where they can still be sold.

Business groups including Americans for Tax Reform and the Tax Foundation have warned White House officials of the loss of federal and state tax money – up to $6.6 billion during the first year of banning menthol cigarettes.

Although proponents of the ban say it’s an important step toward reducing disease inequities in the United States, the step has, to some extent, divided black communities. The Reverend Al Sharpton strongly criticized him and recently secured a meeting with White House officials as well as King & Spalding, a lobbying firm with a long record of defending RAI Services Company, the cigarette maker formerly known as the name of RJ Reynolds.

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