American Lung Association: Any Delay in the Rules to End Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars Will Cost U.S. Lives

Based on recent media reports, today, the Biden administration will release its semiannual regulatory roadmap, called the Fall 2023 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which will show the release of the lifesaving rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars may be delayed. The American Lung Association’s President and CEO Harold Wimmer issued the following statement: 

“The American Lung Association is extremely disappointed that the White House may bow to tobacco industry pressure and delay the release of the lifesaving rules to end menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars until March 2024. The Lung Association strongly urges the White House to finalize these lifesaving rules by the end of the year.

“In the last few weeks, the tobacco industry has increased pressure on the White House to delay or stop the advancement of these rules. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of public health. The White House should not fall to the tobacco lobby’s campaign to spread false narratives. Delaying the promulgation of these rules will result in more death and disease from tobacco use.

“We expect the White House to stand with families against the tobacco industry and honor President Biden’s commitment to ending cancer as we know it through the Cancer Moonshot. The Cancer Moonshot cannot be achieved without ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. 

“Ending menthol cigarettes is pivotal to eliminating the dramatic health inequities in who uses tobacco products in the United States and who is most affected by tobacco-caused disease and death. Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars will save lives.

“Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. and claims 45,000 lives every year among Black Americans alone. A recent study quantified the disproportionate harms from menthol cigarettes to Black Americans, finding that menthol cigarettes were responsible for 1.5 million new smokers, 157,000 smoking-related premature deaths and 1.5 million life-years lost among Black Americans from 1980-2018. Halting the sale of menthol cigarettes lays the groundwork for reversing decades of disparities in tobacco use, disease and death in Black and Brown communities.

“The time is now for President Biden to stand up to the tobacco industry and finalize the rules to end menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Families are counting on the President to act. These rules must be finalized in 2023.”

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For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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