The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued a series of regulations – first announced a year ago – to ban menthol and flavored cigarettes.
“The proposed guidelines will help prevent children from becoming the offspring of smokers and help adult smokers quit,” U.S. Secretary of Health and Public Works Xavier Becerra said in a FDA statement.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf discussed the ban on Thursday as he appeared before a congressional committee, Washington Post reported.
The Califf told the committee that the proposed ban would “reduce the current death toll for smokers menthol tobacco or flavored cigarettes by reducing their use and increasing the likelihood of quitting, “he said. Print reported.
The Califf statement comes almost a year to the day after its predecessor, FDA acting commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, has announced a ban on the consumption of menthol cigarettes and the taste of small cigarettes.
The ban will address the health disparities faced by ethnic minorities, minorities and LGBTQ + individuals, all of whom are more likely to use these. tobacco productsWoodcock said at the time.
Menthol cigarettes have been sold to Black Americans for many years. About 85% of black smokers use menthol products compared to 30% of smokers, the FDA says, and research shows that menthol cigarettes are harder to quit than traditional tobacco products.
Anti-smoking activists and human rights activists have praised the ban.
“This is a major step forward in reducing the health disparities caused by smoking,” said Carol McGruder, president of the African Smoking Commission. Print.
In 2019, there will be over 18.5 million 12-year-old menthol smokers in the United States, with high rates of use among young people especially blacks and other minorities, according to the FDA. The product study estimated a 15 percent reduction in smoking in 40 years without menthol smoking, the agency said, and these findings estimate that 324,000 to 654,000 smoking-related deaths will be avoided altogether. (92,000 to 238,000 among Black Americans) over 40 years of age.
Experts agree that the public health impact of law enforcement on the ban could be significant. Black men are more likely to develop lung cancer in the United States, especially because of smoking, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.
“The actions of the FDA today send a clear message that Big Tobacco’s strategy of exploiting black Americans will no longer be tolerated,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Action Network. notice. “Currently, the incidence of lung cancer in black men is 15% higher than in white Americans if we address these real issues. health differencesWe must take serious action to end the industry’s attacks on black communities. “
Dr. Raja Flores is the director of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City. He said, “It is unfortunate that this has been going on for so long – they are focused on the majority of the population, like the African American community …. Black because of menthol smoking.They are not the same as patients suffering from lung cancer, it is time we do something to stop this.
Geoffrey Fong, chief research officer of the International Tobacco Control Initiative, said nearly 1.3 million people could quit smoking and hundreds of thousands of undiagnosed deaths could be eliminated if the U.S. experienced it looked like Canada after her suspension. menthol tobacco cigarettes.
“This is something that could be a big surprise, a significant intervention to reduce the number 1 that can prevent death and disease,” Fong said. New York Times.
U.S. Lung Association President and President Harold Wimmer said the proposed ban could “be the most significant step the FDA has taken in the nearly 13-year history of tobacco control.”
“Smoking is the leading cause of death for black Americans, with 45,000 blacks devouring each year,” Wimmer said in a statement. “Black men are the most likely to suffer from lung cancer in the United States, and high school and black high school students smoke more cigarettes than cigarettes. These statistics did not happen by accident. The results of decades of advertising “The ban on the sale of these flavored cigarettes has paved the way for the return of decades of smoking, disease and death in black and brown communities.”
However, anti-smoking activists predict that the effective date of the ban will be reduced by at least two years.
“The FDA is responsible for public safety and has absolutely no obligation to stop the sale of any cigarette butts,” the American Heart Association said in a statement. “The American Heart Association and our national network will work with the FDA to ensure that the final guidelines are as robust and complete as possible. We call on the agency to expedite the release. final regulations and remove these harmful products from the market. “
Public information on the proposed guidelines will begin on May 4, and the FDA will also hold a public meeting on June 13 and June 15.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more to say about menthol and flavored cigarettes.
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