The Prevention Institute Says: Make Your Voice Heard As FDA Considers a Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Institute Says…Make Your Voice Heard As FDA Considers a Ban on Menthol
What do you call a substance that makes
a deadly product taste more pleasant, helps attract and hook new users and is
largely marketed at African-Americans and other people of color, contributing
to their reduced life expectancy? The answer is menthol.
That's how the Prevention Institute
began a blog that appears
today in Forbes.com, written with Phillip Gardiner, a public health
researcher at the University of California, longtime tobacco control activist
and the co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.
Menthols are the cigarettes used by 83
percent of African American smokers, 51 percent of Asian smokers and 47 percent
of Latino smokers. Just 24 percent of white smokers use menthols. Young people
often make menthols their first cigarette.
Public health advocates have been
pushing for years to ban menthol in cigarettes. In 2009, Congress banned the
addition of flavorings to cigarettes—with the sole exception of menthol. The
Food and Drug Administration has been considering a menthol ban since then, but
hasn’t taken any action. A scientific advisory committee to the FDA urged in
2011 that menthol be banned. Yet the tobacco industry keeps pushing for delays
and the FDA keeps granting them.
The agency is accepting public comments
on the proposal to ban menthol until Nov. 22 here.
DHPE urges you to submit comments to the agency to counter the continuing
efforts of the tobacco industry to block or delay a menthol ban. Here’s an
excerpt of comments submitted by the Prevention Institute:
Menthol cigarettes are unequal-opportunity killers that
disproportionately hook young people, African-Americans and other people of
color, harming their health and reducing their life expectancy. We urge the FDA
to ban menthol in cigarettes and help reduce the vast, avoidable differences in
health that separate Americans by race and wealth.