The FDA is preparing to come down hard on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, sharing the official proposal for its ban.
Last year the Biden administration announced it was looking to make the move, which would effectively prohibit the sale of popular offerings from brands like Swisher Sweets, Backwoods, and King Palm (which are also used as blunt wraps) by rejecting—per a new statement—“all characterizing flavors (other than tobacco) in cigars.”
Eliminating menthol cigarettes could prevent 300,000 and 650,000 smoking deaths over 40 years, the FDA states. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra shared in a statement that the ban would help reduce tobacco-use disparities.
“The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit,” Becerra said. “Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step to advance health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities.”
The ban would build on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and, with tobacco use being a leading cause of cancer, aim to help Biden’s Cancer Moonshot plan in reducing cancer death rates by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.
“The authority to adopt tobacco product standards is one of the most powerful tools Congress gave the FDA and the actions we are proposing can help significantly reduce youth initiation and increase the chances that current smokers quit. It is clear that these efforts will help save lives,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said. “Through the rulemaking process, there’s an important opportunity for the public to make their voices heard and help shape the FDA’s ongoing efforts to improve public health.”
The proposed regulations—which are aimed to reduce the appeal of the products—don’t include a “prohibition on individual consumer possession or use,” per the FDA, but rather will be addressed with manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and retailers.
For those interested, the FDA will also hold public listening sessions on June 13 and June 15 to discuss the proposed rules with the public, including “affected communities,” and as it currently seeks feedback.