Public well being specialists, who’ve been pushing for a menthol ban for a few years, celebrated the information.
“We’re thrilled that the F.D.A. is taking this vital step to guard all residents, however particularly African-Individuals, from the lethal impacts of menthol,” stated Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy, managing legal professional for Motion on Smoking and Well being, a tobacco management group and a plaintiff within the lawsuit that helped result in the proposed ban on flavored cigarettes and cigars. The plaintiffs sued the F.D.A. final yr for inaction on menthol.
The opposite plaintiffs within the lawsuit are the African American Tobacco Management Management Council, the American Medical Affiliation and the Nationwide Medical Affiliation. The lawsuit was supposed partially to nudge ahead a citizen petition to ban menthol, filed in 2013 by the Public Well being Regulation Middle and different public well being organizations.
The tobacco business and its allies have been fast to criticize the F.D.A.’s plan. In emailed statements, each R.J. Reynolds, which makes Newport, the top-selling menthol model in the USA, and Altria, which produces a number of menthol varieties, made it clear that they’d not sit again and look ahead to a ban that might devastate a lot of their enterprise in the USA.
“The revealed science doesn’t assist regulating menthol cigarettes otherwise from nonmenthol,” stated Kaelan Hollon, a spokeswoman for R.J. Reynolds. “The scientific proof neither exhibits a distinction in well being dangers between a menthol and a nonmenthol cigarette, nor does it assist that menthol cigarettes adversely have an effect on initiation, dependence or cessation.”
In reality, hours after phrase leaked of the F.D.A. proposal, a corporation calling itself Regulation Enforcement Motion Partnership despatched out a information launch noting its opposition to the menthol ban. The group’s tax kind exhibits its largest donor for 2019 was Reynolds American Inc. Companies Firm, which gave the group $450,000, greater than a 3rd of its reported whole contributions and grants for the yr.
The group invoked an previous and discredited tobacco business argument: that efforts to ban menthol would “be dangerous for police-community belief.”
However the F.D.A.’s plan would tackle solely the manufacturing, distribution, import and sale of menthol cigarettes — not carrying or smoking them.