Senator Markey directs colleagues to voice support for FDA’s proposed ‘saving’ ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

Washington (July 22, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) led 18 of his colleagues to send a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today in support of the FDA rules proposed earlier this year that would ban menthol in flavored cigarettes and cigars. Menthol numbs the throat and lessens the harshness of tobacco smoke, making menthol cigarettes more appealing to young people and people who are new to smoking.

“By increasing youth smoking and making quitting more difficult, menthol cigarettes have amplified the public health harms of smoking. Between 1980 and 2018, menthol cigarettes were responsible for 10.1 million additional smokers and 378,000 premature deaths in the United States,” write the Senators. “We commend the FDA for issuing these proposed rules, and we are excited to see the agency use the regulatory authority granted to it by Congress to reduce deaths and illnesses caused by tobacco products.”

“This cautious approach is why a broad coalition, including leading civil rights and public health groups, supports FDA action to remove menthol tobacco products from the market,” the Senators continued. “We urge you to move quickly to consider public comments, finalize the rule and implement it so that these vital requirements can take effect as soon as possible.”

Senator Markey was joined by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md . ), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (DN.M.), Maggie Hassan (DN.H.), Jack Reed (DR.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) , Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Alex Padilla (D-California) signing the letter.

The FDA has clear evidence of the harmful effects of menthol cigarettes on public health. In 2011, the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) released a report concluding that “removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health.” Menthol cigarettes, which the tobacco industry has marketed directly to communities of color, are also more addictive and harder to quit. Senator Markey is a champion in addressing the dangers of smoking, especially among young people. In 2021, Senator Markey led a group of colleagues to ask the FDA to ban menthol cigarettes and cigars, which followed a previous effort in 2018. Senator Markey also led efforts to hold companies technologies responsible for tobacco advertising aimed at young people. on online platforms.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

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