Expert’s Prediction On FDA’s Plan To Put A Ban On Menthol Cigarettes

The FDA has put forward a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes. According to experts smoking menthol cigarettes is bad for health, and it has a negative impact, especially on Black American’s health.

Expert’s Prediction On FDA’s Plan To Put A Ban On Menthol Cigarettes

Although the decision of banning menthol smokes as suggested by the Food and Drug Administration, would not be in effect immediately, but it is like kick-starting the process towards making it successful, and that might take quite a long time.

Delmonte Jefferson, the executive director of the Center for Black health and Equity, expressed that this decision is favorable for black lives. He showed his data for the past 20 years, which said that smoking rates had gone higher with these menthol smokes as this makes smoking easier at the beginning. This is because the flavor of the cigarette produces a cooling and soothing feel on the throat, and therefore the strong taste of the cigarette is reduced, making it easy for novice smokers.

Almost eighty-five percent of Black smokers smoke menthol-flavored cigarettes. Black men and women also are found to be suffering more from lung cancer and die out of the same than the white population in the U.S.

The national assistant vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association, Erika Sward, remarked that when the data showing rates of racism and smoking are compared, the high rates of health inequality becomes very prominent. There have been announcements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health about their programs to take action against racism in the health sector. 

In 2013, the FDA received a court order to respond to citizens who had sent a petition to them requesting to ban menthol cigarettes. FDA did not take action back then, and therefore, two groups- the African American Tobacco control leadership Council and Action on Smoking and Health were prosecuted.

This decision might come by Thursday. It is not yet clear that if the other products like menthol e-cigarettes and tobacco items that are of menthol flavor would also fall under this as according to the lawsuit, it says only menthol cigarettes.

FDA intended to ban menthol flavor in 2018 when Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb led them. But they failed because Gottlieb was unresponsive to this appeal.

With the movement of Black Lives Matter, the agencies might be more conscious about taking action towards this. This is what some of the supporters of the menthol ban think.

Jefferson commented that with the pandemic and the racial awakening taking place in 2020, the health disparities have been more visible that have been affecting black Americans badly for ages.

Sward mentioned that he has been more optimistic about FDA taking the right action on menthol than he was before.

But some others think that FDA might delay in responding and ask for more time from the court. One of these people was Pebbles Fagan, the director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She mentioned that she doubts that even though the process of the ban might start this week, it won’t be very much affected by the social issues of 2020 in terms of quick implementation. She also remarks that FDA only responded after getting a lawsuit.

The decision of the FDA to move forward to implement this ban is not going to happen at the snap of fingers. The announcement would first inform people and the tobacco farms about the intention of the ban on flavored cigarettes. The process of rulemaking and finalization of implementing it actually would take many years. This time can be used in an effective manner to discourage menthol smokers by some smoking termination agendas.

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