The FDA is taking steps to ban menthol flavored cigarettes and all flavored cigars, including menthol flavor, within the next year, according to an agency announcement Today. That’s right TODAY.More than a third of all the cigarettes sold in the United States in 2018 — the last year for which statistics were available — were menthol flavored, according to the CDC.More than 85 percent of Black smokers use menthol cigarettes, according to federal data, as do more than half of all smokers aged 12 to 17.

Congress banned flavored cigarettes as part of the 2009 law giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, but a loophole negotiated by industry lobbyists exempted menthol. Instead, lawmakers at the time directed the FDA to determine whether continued sale of menthol cigarettes was “appropriate for public health.”Thursday’s announcement was met with praise from anti-smoking and medical groups, who said it was long overdue.”This proposal will do more to reduce youth tobacco use and health disparities in the African American community than any set of actions the federal government has ever taken,” said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “What’s critical is that the FDA not take a year to get this proposal off the ground, and not take years to finalize it.”Past federal efforts at banning menthol have stalled out, but Myers said he thinks this time is different because the entire Biden administration is behind the effort.

Historical efforts at banning menthol have faced opposition not just from tobacco-friendly states, but also from Black leaders and members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).Some opponents of the ban, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), believe it will lead to an illicit market of menthol products and result in even more police actions against Black communities,because 85 percent of Black smokers use menthol cigarettes, academic and civil rights leaders warned that such a ban could empower local law enforcement to target Black people.

“We’re being liberated from the harm of mentholated tobacco products. This is the beginning of that,” Jefferson said, acknowledging that there is a long rule-making process ahead. “The Food and Drug Administration has stood up for the health of Black people. It should have been done over a decade ago. But this says, ‘We’re starting to take our foot off of the necks of Black people.’”The battle has been in full swing since the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act banned the use of all artificial or natural flavors — except menthol — in an effort to curb youth smoking. Experts have referred to Canada’s menthol ban as proof that prohibiting the flavor could lead to people quitting smoking. But the concern for many hasn’t been whether the ban will improve health outcomes, but whether an underground market for menthol products will emerge and result in police aggressively targeting Black neighborhoods

Kaelan Hollon, a spokeswoman for Reynolds American, which makes Newport, the most popular menthol cigarette, said the company will submit “robust, science-based evidence” as part of the rule making process(can’t wait to see that, LoL!). The company contends there’s no scientific basis for FDA to regulate menthol cigarettes any differently than non-menthol cigarettes.

So long story short,menthol cigarettes got banned today. Ban should go in effect in 1yr……Stack up on ya Newdies,or quit!!But you got a decision to make……. We’ll be hitting the streets on this soon!! #KillDaEcho

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