The FDA, like other banned flavored cigarettes, is facing a court deadline on Thursday to respond to a 2013 citizen’s petition for a ban on menthol.
The African-American Tobacco Control Leadership Council and smoking and health actions have sued the FDA when it first missed the petition.
If the ban is approved, it will not take effect immediately. However, the FDA will begin the process of changing the rules for menthol tobacco. This can take several years to complete.
Federal agencies can also ask the court for more time and delay that decision.
Black Americans are much less likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer at an earlier treatable stage than white Americans, and black men have the highest lung cancer mortality rate in the country.
The FDA was set to ban menthol flavors in 2018, but couldn’t do that under then commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
“The wind is definitely in our favor,” said Del Monte Jefferson, executive director of the Black Health & Equity Center.
“Covid-19 and the racial awakening that happened last summer exposed the inequality of our system.”
“It’s just another example of health inequality that has plagued African Americans for generations,” he added.
The proceedings only mention cigarettes, and it is unclear whether the ban applies to e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
According to one study, a menthol ban was introduced in Canada between 2016 and 2017, causing 20% of users to quit smoking and a significant number of users repeatedly trying to quit smoking.
“The great success of Canada’s ban on menthol has made it even clearer that the United States should ultimately ban menthol,” said Jeffrey Fon, author of a study published in the journal. .. Tobacco management.
“Our findings estimate that a ban on menthol tobacco in the United States would result in 923,000 smokers, including 230,000 African-American smokers.”
Fong is a professor of psychology, public health and healthcare systems at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.