Doctors urge FDA to act on new menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

What are the news: WADA and more than a dozen other medical and healthcare advocacy organizations call on the Food and Drug Administration to “prioritize enforcement action” against two new flavored tobacco products: a menthol cigarette called Newport Boost and the White Owl brand of flavored cigars.

The call to action comes after the agency’s long-awaited decision in April to announce that it plans to ban menthol flavors in cigarettes and flavors of all kinds in cigars, which in turn have even follows a lawsuit filed last year by the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, Action on Smoking and Health, AMA and National Medical Association.

These organizations were joined in a letter to the FDA Center for Tobacco Products by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the NAACP and others. In addition to calling for priority application against new products, the organizations said the FDA should “expedite the publication of proposed and final rules to establish product standards for menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars to eliminate these. market products “.

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Why this is important: When the FDA announced in the spring that it would ban menthol flavors, AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD called it “a major step in preventing a new generation from becoming tobacco users.” noting that “for too long, tobacco companies have been allowed to promote menthol cigarettes to the black community, particularly targeting black youth. “

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Smoking-related illnesses are the leading killer of blacks, and 85% of African Americans who smoke use menthol cigarettes.

In the joint letter, WADA and its co-signing organizations said Newport Boost cigarettes (promoted as increasing “menthol to more menthol”) appeared “to be a new addition to Reynolds’ line of menthol pod cigarettes,” introduced well after the 2007 date before which tobacco products were protected and exempt from obtaining marketing authorization from the FDA.

White Owl flavored cigars, meanwhile, are also new and have been promoted in “particularly blatantly” fashion, such as an advertisement in January for its appealing “Limited Edition Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl” flavor to young people.

“The longer the FDA takes to act, the more opportunities tobacco companies have to introduce even more new menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars to increase the appeal of these deadly and addictive products,” the joint letter sent in. August.

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Why the FDA’s decision to ban menthol flavors is long overdue

Learn more: The AMA has long-standing policies in favor of banning menthol in combustible tobacco products and calling on the FDA to ban the use of flavoring agents in all tobacco products.

This opposition to flavoring agents extends to e-cigarettes and vaping, which WADA has declared a public health epidemic.

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