VTA: Give Menthol Smokers Alternatives

    Photo: Andrey Popov

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to a menthol flavored cigarettes will improve public health only if there are viable menthol and flavored vapor products on the market, according to the Vapor Technology Association (VTA).

    In April, the FDA announced a plan to ban the sale mentholated cigarettes, which account for about one-third of the U.S. market. The public was invited to share its thoughts on the measures and the official comment period ended Aug. 2.

    In its official comment submission to the agency’s proposed product standards, the VTA urges the FDA to continue to build an “offramp” to menthol and flavored vaping products for smokers to access effective smoking alternatives.  

    “The menthol cigarette rule “has the potential to dramatically reducing cigarette smoking—the leading cause of death and disease of Americans—but only if the agency heeds the warning of scientists that menthol smokers must have access to less harmful vaping and other alternative nicotine products,” the VTA wrote in a statement.

    “These limitations threaten to take what should be a public health victory and turn it into a half measure that, in the absence of other decisive action from the FDA, will fall far short of the benefits the agency claims.”

    “FDA’s own proffered scientific experts acknowledge that at least 50 percent, and in some cases a larger percentage, of smokers will continue to smoke cigarettes or other combustible products after the menthol cigarette rule is put into effect unless provided access to effective alternatives.

    “To fulfill its own harm reduction mission, the agency must use its PMTA process to ensure a rational, regulated legal marketplace with suitable less harmful non-combustible alternatives,” the VTA wrote.