FDA proposes to ban sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed rules banning the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in a bid to reduce the number of young people who smoke tobacco. File photo courtesy of Pixabay

If passed, the agency says the rules would “significantly reduce illness and death from the use of burnt tobacco products”, and help deter young people from experimenting with smoking and developing addiction to tobacco. nicotine.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

“The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said.

“Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step in advancing health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities.”

FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf made the remarks during a Senate Subcommittee Meeting looking at the agency’s 2023 fiscal budget.

“These actions are appropriate for the protection of public health,” he told committee members.

Menthol is an aromatic additive and reduces the irritation and harshness of smoking, increasing appeal and making cigarettes more accessible, especially to young people, according to the FDA’s website.

Menthol also interacts with nicotine in the brain to enhance the addictive effects of nicotine.

In 2019, there were more than 18.5 million smokers of menthol cigarettes aged 12 and older in the United States, according to FDA statistics.

According to the FDA, more than 500,000 young adults and young people have used flavored cigars in recent years. Flavors like Strawberry, Grape, Cocoa, and Fruit Punch make them appealing to younger kids and make cigars easier to use.

“The power to enact tobacco product standards is one of the most powerful tools Congress has given the FDA, and the actions we propose can help dramatically reduce youth initiation and increase chance that current smokers will quit. It is clear that these efforts will help save lives,” Califf said in a statement.

“Through the rulemaking process, the public has an important opportunity to have their voices heard and help shape the FDA’s ongoing efforts to improve public health.”

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