Continued Delay of Rules to End the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes is Costing Lives; Lung Association Supports Recent Legal Action

In December 2023, the White House announced it would delay the finalization of the lifesaving rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. until March 2024. The final rules have not been released. 

Today, Action on Smoking & Health (ASH), the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) and the National Medical Association (NMA) filed a lawsuit to compel the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finalize the pending rule to end the sale of menthol cigarettes. In reaction to the continued delay of the final rules and this new lawsuit, 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 has not finalized the lifesaving rules to stop the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The science is clear: these rules will save lives. The longer President Biden waits, the more people we will lose to the death and disease associated with tobacco use. The Lung Association strongly urges the President to finalize these lifesaving rules immediately.

“The Lung Association supports the lawsuit by Action on Smoking & Health, the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council and the National Medical Association to compel the administration to act to remove menthol cigarettes from the marketplace. The FDA’s findings show that menthol cigarettes are not appropriate for the protection of public health. It is frustrating that the continued delay of the menthol rules compelled our partners to go back to court.  

Menthol cigarettes make it easier to start smoking and harder to quit. That is why flavors, including menthol, are one of the primary reasons kids and teens start using tobacco products. Close to half of all youth who start to smoke begin with menthol cigarettes, leading to nearly 40% of all youth who smoke using menthol cigarettes. 

“Menthol cigarettes remain a key factor for tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities. More than 81% of Black individuals in America who smoke use menthol cigarettes, and a study released in 2021 found 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 individuals nationally from 1980–2018.
“Families across the U.S. are counting on President Biden to do the right thing. The time is now for the president to stand up, protect public health and finalize these rules today.”

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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