Experts say banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars could save hundreds of thousands of lives 2022-04-27 18:12:34


“To see an issue that disproportionately affects African American smokers, disproportionately affects women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who smoke, and low-income individuals. And to say these lives are just as important as any other life and death can Preventing it, it really gives me real hope.”

Menthol is a property rights issue that the Food and Drug Administration has been studying for more than a decade.

on 18.6 million people smoke menthol in the United States. That’s about 36% of all smokers, according to the Food and Drug Administration, and a disproportionate number are people of color.
About 30% of white smokers choose menthol, but it is by far the cigarette of choice for nearly 85% of black smokers. on 40% of women They smoke menthol, compared to 31% of men, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
LGBTQ people also noticeably more like To smoke menthol. a Study 2013 That looked at data from the 2009-10 National Adult Tobacco Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 36% of LGBTQ smokers chose menthol, compared to 29.3% of direct smokers.
More than half of children who smoke use menthol cigarettes, According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A survey of adults who smoke found that the majority started using menthol. else studies He said children who smoked menthol cigarettes were more likely to become regular smokers than occasional smokers.
Smoking rates in the United States reached an all-time low in 2018, According to the Center for Disease Control and PreventionHowever, smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death, disease and disability in the country. Overall, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths annually in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke.
Vaping loophole closed as FDA can now regulate all forms of nicotine
The Food and Drug Administration said cutting out menthol in cigarettes and cigars could have a significant impact on the number of smokers. By one estimate, it can prevent up to 650,000 . premature deaths over the next forty years.
else study Elimination of menthol as a cigarette flavoring is expected to cause 923,000 people to quit smoking, including 230,000 African Americans in the first year and a half.

The long way to ban menthol

Menthol is the last special flavor allowed in cigarettes in the United States.

It is a chemical compound found naturally in mint and can also be made in a laboratory. This mint flavor creates a cooling sensation in the throat and relieves the harsh taste of tobacco. Studies show it’s a trait that makes smoking more addictive and more acceptable in children and new smokers.

“Like a drop of menthol coughing up when you have a sore throat, it soothes,” he said. Erica SwardCo-Vice President for National Advocacy of the American Lung Association.
In part to prevent children from smoking, Congress banned flavored cigarettes in 2009 Tobacco Control LawExcept for menthol. The same law gave the FDA the power to regulate the tobacco industry to protect public health.
FDA moves to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

This regulation allows the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enact standards for products to reduce tobacco toxicity, attractiveness, and addiction. The law also requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct and fund research on menthol and gives the agency the power to ban it if appropriate.

In the more than a decade the Food and Drug Administration has been looking into this problem, there have been several slow steps toward ban.

“This is long overdue,” said Robin Koval. “The evidence has been there for years.” CEO and President of The Truth Initiativean organization dedicated to getting young people to refuse smoking and nicotine.
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Tobacco Products issued a report Based on its review of the evidence for menthol and cigarettes. She concluded that the ban would benefit public health, but said there are gaps in its understanding and more research is needed.
In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration issued Advance notice of proposed rules, or ANPRM, to collect additional data and research on menthol that you may use to report further action. The agency got “unusually large” number of comments, According to the US Government Accountability Office. Weighing more than 174,000 people, Food and Drug Administration She said.
San Francisco moves to ban sale of flavored vaping and menthol cigarettes

In 2018, when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released another ANPRM on menthol, it was flooded with even more comments: About 520,000 people took the topic.

However, nothing happened.

The Center for Public Health Law and other groups provided a Citizen petition Agency claim to ban menthol in cigarettes. And in 2020, he filed a lawsuit Allegedly, the FDA unreasonably delayed the issuance of the final response.

“Ultimately, the American Medical Association joined the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council and others to sue the Food and Drug Administration, saying it had ignored the citizens’ petition for far too long,” Sward said. “The judge stood by them and gave the FDA a deadline last April to basically say what they’re going to do.”

In April 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration said it would continue to set rules to ban menthol in cigarettes, as well as all cigar flavors.

What Happened When Smoking Was Banned in American Indian Casinos
“Our decision is based on clear science and evidence that these products are addictive and harmful,” said Kathy Crosby, director of the Office of Health Communication and Education at the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, in February. FDA webinar.
Last week, the proposal passed one regulatory hurdle with the US Office of Management and Budget. This executive branch is an agency Responsible for ensuring that the FDA follows the rules in creating the policy. It’s also where policy can be relaxed when industry, retailers, public health associations and government agencies pressure the organization about what the rule should state.

“The strongest rule of all, with a very rare exception, is when the FDA finally sends the White House to the FDA office for review,” Sward said. She said that pressure groups and other interested parties had held dozens of meetings with the Office of Management and Budget on the subject.

What the final menthol base will look like is anyone’s guess, but public health officials hope it will be as strong a ban as the Food and Drug Administration initially proposed.

Switch to flavored cigars

After the 2009 Tobacco Control Act banned flavored cigarettes, many flavored smokers—especially children—may have switched to flavored cigars, including menthol.

The US Food and Drug Administration said the use of flavored cigars has “significantly increased” and that public health goals have been “undermined” by the availability of these products.

How to Help Struggling New Boys in College Who Hide Failure, According to an Expert

Flavored cigars and cigars are especially popular among children, especially black and Latino children, who are twice as likely to smoke them as their white peers.

Food and Drug Administration Note that one survey found that nearly 74% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 said they smoke cigars because they come with flavors they enjoy.

In 2020, more young people said they tried cigars daily than they did a cigarette.

“We’ve seen in the past, that there are restrictions on one product but not on another,” said Koval of the Truth Initiative. “The business attracts quickly, and it’s very important that these rules happen together.”

A “healthy” cigarette?

Menthol cigarettes were initially sold on the basis that they were smoother even more healthy Than regular tobacco, but no type of cigarette smoking can be healthy.
It also appears that menthol increases the odds of a regular smoker becoming more regular. a 2009 دراسة study I found that menthol cigarettes were more addictive than tobacco flavored cigarettes, and Study 2015 I found that the flavor may make smokers want to smoke more.
How to quit smoking: 5 actions you can take now
For black smokers and other people of color, part of the appeal may also lie in marketing. Tobacco industry aim hard The CDC notes that these communities place large signs for menthol products in predominantly black neighborhoods and advertisements in black newspapers.

The same is true of the LGBTQ community, which was targeted with gifts and advertisements in LGBTQ publications at least as early as the 1990s. Big tobacco companies have also been prominent supporters of Pride parades and other community events.

Support and opposition from human rights groups

Some activists, such as Reverend Al Sharpton and Movement mothersthey warned that a ban on menthol products could lead to more violent confrontations with police as they enforce the rule.
Anti-smoking advocates Found Sharpton and some other civil rights organizations have received money from cigarette makers for decades. Sharpton Admit it to the New York Times In 2019, Reynolds American was a longtime donor to his National Action Network, but said, “It’s not about the money.”

Other groups, such as the NAACP and the Black Caucus in Congress, support bans.

Food and Drug Administration keen to say Its enforcement of the ban would only “address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and retailers. The US Food and Drug Administration cannot and will not require an individual consumer to possess or use menthol cigarettes or any tobacco product.”

What could happen next

The US Food and Drug Administration’s ban on menthol and flavored cigars will not take effect immediately.

The next step will be the suspension period, and the agency will take time to review the comments before finalizing the rule. The FDA said it could not predict when this would happen.

“That’s supposed to be about a year, and we hope the FDA sticks to that schedule. They’ve missed a lot of the other timelines,” Koval She said.

Public health experts believe that tobacco companies will also try to stop the ban.

“We fully expect the tobacco industry, as they have done in the past, to try to further delay the lawsuits,” Koval said. “We still have a long way to go, but this is a very important first step.”

Public health experts say that if the rule continues, the decision could go a long way toward protecting the health of Americans.

“Menthol was a way in the tobacco industry to associate young people with tobacco and to target black Americans,” Besser said. “It was intentional. It was very intentional and successful and effective.” “So, to take that off the table and say ‘no menthol’, menthol is just another flavor. And it’s a really dangerous flavor because it makes it easier for first-time smokers to smoke and hard for people to quit. So getting that out of there would be great.” .