Rutgers health experts who study the negative effects of tobacco and advocate for stronger policies and regulations on flavored combustible tobacco products are available to discuss the new proposed ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars by U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- Cristine Delnevo, director of the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies and a professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health
“The FDA is working toward issuing proposed product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and to ban all characterizing flavors (including menthol) in cigars. The authority to adopt product standards is one of the most powerful tobacco regulatory tools Congress gave the agency,” said Delnevo. “This decision is based on clear science and evidence establishing the addictiveness and harm of these products and builds on important, previous actions that banned other flavored cigarettes in 2009.”
- Kevin Schroth, a public health attorney and researcher at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco and an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health
“After more than a decade, the FDA’s statement is long overdue but still incredibly consequential,” said Schroth. “This is a first step in the rulemaking process. Rules have yet to be proposed and finalized, and then tobacco industry lawsuits will follow. But in this case, the science and the law are on the FDA’s side.”
- Ollie Ganz, an instructor at the Rutgers School of Public Health and a researcher at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco.
“The FDA’s decision is a huge step forward in addressing tobacco-related inequalities,” said Ganz. “Menthol cigarettes are disproportionately appealing to young people and are used by nearly 90 percent of African American cigarette smokers, after decades of predatory marketing practices by the tobacco industry. Furthermore, the cigar industry has been very innovative in recent years with the release and promotion of a variety of cigar flavors, which have been found to be appealing to young people, like Banana Daiquiri and Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl. All in all, these product standards will likely have a huge impact on preventing initiation and lifelong tobacco use among young people, African Americans and other populations that use these products.”
Delnevo, Schroth and Ganz have published recent research studies around menthols cigarettes and flavored cigars including research demonstrating that menthol makes it hard to quit smoking, and the process of implementing a FDA rule.
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