Following a September 22 ban on the manufacturer and sale of all candy and fruit flavored cigarettes, today the American Legacy Foundation® urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take their legislation one step further and ban all flavored tobacco products, including menthol in cigarettes.
According to Legacy, menthol products account for one-fifth of the US cigarette market, while approximately 80% of African-American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes.
The comments submitted by Legacy state, “The success of menthol cigarettes is hardly an accident. Literally many hundreds of tobacco industry documents conclusively establish that the tobacco industry has for decades systematically developed and marketed menthol products to attract and keep as long-term customers millions of ‘starter’ and youth smokers; racial minorities and African-Americans in particular; and smokers seeking health reassurances. One study demonstrated a 17.5% increase in youth menthol cigarette use between 2000 ¬ 2002. Despite a 22% decline in overall packs of cigarettes sold in the United States between 2000 and 2005, menthol sales remained stable.”
Additionally, Legacy urged the FDA to extend its ban of flavored cigarettes to flavored cigars, especially little cigars and cigarillos, crediting their appeal to youth.
The Foundation strongly encouraged the FDA to directly support counter-marketing and public health campaigns to the full extent of its authority, with a particular emphasis on campaigns targeted at youth.