Strong Opposition to FDA Flavor Bans

    Image: nosyrevy

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received more than 110,000 comments on the proposed rule that would end the sale of menthol cigarettes and nearly 60,000 comments on the proposed rule that would prohibit characterizing flavors in cigars.

    Many wrote to oppose the ban, including business owners who said it would force them to cut jobs.

    “If implemented, this proposal could hurt retailers and wholesalers in the U.S. and directly impact my bottom line,” wrote a tobacco retailer in Florida. “This ban targets a significant portion of my revenue; menthol cigarettes alone make up 36 percent of all cigarette sales in the United States. Additionally, adult customers who purchase menthol cigarettes also purchase gas, food and other items that my store depends on.”

    Thousands of letters submitted online came from menthol cigarette smokers who perceived the proposed restrictions as an unfair attack on personal liberty.

    “This regulation far beyond overreaches the authority that the government should have over the American people,” wrote one respondent. “We have age restrictions for a reason, and once you reach that age you should be able to make the choice to use any legal product that you wish.”

    Others supported the proposal, saying removing menthol and other flavors would improve health and help rectify racial injustices.

    “The ban on menthol in cigarettes is a necessary step toward health equity and health promotion,” wrote Kaelor Gordon. “This substance unjustly and unfortunately places the burden of tobacco use and death on Black individuals and communities of color at higher and disproportionate rates, so to ban menthol would be in tune with the anti-racist and health equitable culture we are strongly cultivating today.”

    The FDA recently extended the comment period from July 5 to Aug. 2, 2022.