New FDA Proposed Rules on Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars Will Save Lives
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed new rules that would prohibit the production of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Eliminating menthol cigarettes could prevent between 300,000 and 650,000 smoking deaths over the next 40 years. This is a huge win in the fight to protect our communities from the forces and impacts of nicotine addiction.
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These proposed rules on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars are a huge step in the right direction. Show that this change has the support of the people by sharing your thoughts publicly:
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Comment on FDA Proposal To Remove Menthol Cigarettes
Dear FDA Commissioner Califf,
I am raising my voice for my community and my generation to support removing menthol cigarettes from the market. This action has been a long time coming. The tobacco industry has flooded Black communities, other minority communities, and young people like me with ads for menthol cigarettes for too long. They adjusted the amount of menthol in cigarettes to appeal to new smokers and make them more appealing. I stand up today to say no more.
I fully support FDA’s proposed rule to take menthol cigarettes off the market. By doing this, FDA will help ensure that menthol cigarettes that appeal to youth, make it harder to quit and contribute significantly to health disparities, are no longer available. The FDA needs to go one step further and ensure that all menthol smokers have the tools to quit smoking for good. We will not be bullied and manipulated by the tobacco industry any longer. FDA, finalize this rule as quickly as possible and work to provide appropriate cessation interventions for menthol smokers today.
FDA Proposal to Remove Flavored Cigars
Dear FDA Commissioner Califf:
The Food & Drug Administration must remove flavors in all cigars. I see the effects of these products in my everyday life. The industry markets these cheap, colorful products in my community and to my peers, addicting my generation to these deadly products. 74% of cigar smokers my age report that they smoke cigars because they come in flavors. The latest NYTS data shows that cigars are the second most popular tobacco product among all high school students.
The FDA should remove flavors in cigars and all combustible tobacco products like hookah and pipe tobacco to prevent the tobacco industry from exploiting any loopholes left out in the regulations. Eight hundred sixty thousand middle and high school students in the U.S. report current use of combustible tobacco products. Hookah, especially, is smoked widely by my peers because of the appealing fruit, mint, and alcohol flavors. I’ve seen the tobacco industry exploit loopholes before. Flavored cigarettes were banned in 2009 because they appealed to kids. Since then, the number of flavored cigars on the market has more than doubled and Big Tobacco has manipulated flavored cigarettes so that they could market them as little cigars. Coincidence? I think not.
Time is of the essence, and the FDA should act quickly to take flavored cigars and other combustible tobacco products like hookah and pipe tobacco off the market. Because removing flavors in combustible tobacco products means saving lives.
A History of Targeting and Addicting Vulnerable Communities
Big Tobacco has a long extensive history of marketing to the Black community using tactics like increasing menthol advertising in Black neighborhoods (including handing out free cigarettes), placing ads in Black publications like Ebony and Jet, showing up at Black music festivals and events, and fostering close relationships with Black civil rights organizations. Today, approximately 85%% of Black smokers use menthol, which is easier to start and harder to quit. Black Americans disproportionately suffer from heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
The minty flavor of menthol masks the harshness of cigarettes, making it easier for young people to start smoking. It’s time to protect young people from becoming the next generation of smokers.
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