The FDA itself “has consistently found that the scientific evidence establishes that menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes is harmful to public health.”
“The scientific evidence strongly establishes that the availability of menthol cigarettes both increases the level of smoking initiation and decreases the level of smoking cessation,” wrote the coalition in a November 10 letter to FDA. “There is a growing body of evidence that the elimination of menthol cigarettes would lead a substantial number of current menthol smokers to quit smoking rather than switch to non-menthol cigarettes in response to a prohibition on menthol cigarettes.”
A release by the ADA explained that the letter made the following points:
- “It increases the number of children who experiment with cigarettes and the number who become regular smokers.
- Menthol-flavored cigarettes increase addiction and reduce cessation, disproportionately harm the health of African Americans, and worsen existing health disparities.
- It will potentially cause “significant numbers” of current menthol smokers to quit.”
Most importantly, noted the coalition, the 2011 FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee Report had recommended pulling menthol cigarettes from the market, and the FDA itself “has consistently found that the scientific evidence establishes that menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes is harmful to public health.”
In fact, back in 2018, the former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb himself had referred to the availability of menthol flavours in tobacco products as a major problem. “Menthol is a significant problem,” he said Gottlieb at the time. “I don’t think the tobacco industry should