NORTH CAROLINA ALLIANCE FOR HEALTH STATEMENT ON FDA DECISION TO BAN MENTHOL CIGARETTES AND FLAVORED CIGARS
The Decision Will Advance Health Equity and Save Lives
Today’s announcement that the FDA will begin rulemaking to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars is a historic action that will advance health equity and save lives. While this ban will not solve the disparities in health outcomes for Black Americans, it is a critical step toward doing so.
Menthol numbs the throat and masks the harshness of tobacco smoke, making menthol products easier to use. Menthol products are also more addictive, making them harder to quit. The tobacco industry has used predatory tactics to target menthol products to Black communities, which has resulted in a devastating and disproportionate impact on the health and lives in Black Americans. Menthol cigarettes are a major reason why tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death among Black Americans, claiming 45,000 Black lives every year. Black smokers are more likely to try to quit than other groups, but because of their disproportionate use of menthol, they are less likely to successfully quit.
The decision to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars is backed by overwhelming scientific evidence. The FDA itself has issued a comprehensive report that concluded banning menthol cigarettes in the United States would benefit public health, especially among Black Americans. We urge the FDA to expedite the rulemaking process to save lives. And, we ask the FDA to mitigate interference from the tobacco industry or their front groups, who will attempt to weaken the regulation.
The North Carolina Alliance for Health applauds the FDA for standing up to the tobacco industry by taking this critical step toward saving lives and reducing health disparities.
About the North Carolina Alliance for Health
The North Carolina Alliance for Health is an independent, nonpartisan, statewide coalition of individuals and organizations that convenes, mobilizes, supports, and empowers partners to advance equitable policies that reduce health disparities, prevent chronic disease, and promote health.
You can read the FDA’s announcement here.