A bipartisan coalition of 23 attorneys general recently sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to immediately ban menthol cigarettes.
“State attorneys general have on numerous occasions commented on tobacco-related topics to the FDA, reported violations to the FDA, and recommended that the FDA take steps to protect their citizens from the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco products,” the letter said. “State attorneys general have also urged the FDA to ban flavored tobacco products…. This letter is a further attempt to urge the FDA to act in the interest of public health by promptly banning menthol cigarettes because the evidence shows these products cause harm to our citizens.”
The attorneys general said that banning the cigarettes would save thousands of lives. Menthol smoking disproportionately impacts youth and minority populations. It has been attributed as the top reason youths become addicted to smoking. In addition, menthol cigarettes are a barrier to smoking cessation and reducing smoking-related health conditions.
An estimated 46.7 percent of middle and high school-aged smokers use menthol cigarettes, according to 2019 data, and 89 percent of African-American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes. Only 26 percent of white smokers use menthol.