FDA commits to campaign to prevent future smokers

April 29, 2021
Lois Levine

The FDA announces 2 standards to reduce disease and death from tobacco products.

Today, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced 2 new tobacco product standards to decrease disease and death due to smoking and hopefully discourage nonsmokers from becoming future smokers.

The first proposed product standard, which will be issued within the next year, will be to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and cigars. The decision is a result of evidence-based science that shows menthol as both harmful and addictive. "With these actions, the FDA wil help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals...whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products," said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD.

Studies show that menthol increases the appeal of tobacco and masks unpleasant flavors and the harsh taste of tobacco, which entices more people to smoke. Furthermore, tobacco products with menthol can be more addictive.

If implemented, the FDA enforcement of a ban on menthol tobacco products will only address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers. It cannot and will not enforce against individual consumer possession.

Secondly, the FDA continues to provide oversight in an attempt to end the selling of illegal e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). To that end, the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products issued warning letters to ENDS product manufacturers and retailers who continue to sell products that are illegally on the market. Finally, the FDA's public education campaign targets nearly 10.7 million young people aged 12 to 17 years who have never used e-cigarettes or might consider trying them, highlighting information about the potential risk of e-cigarette use.

Reference
1. US Food & Drug Administration. FDA commits to evidence-based actions aimed at saving lives and preventing future generations of smokers. April 29, 2021.
https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-commits-evidence-based-actions-aimed-saving-lives-and-preventing-future-generations-smokers?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery