• May 20, 2024

Lung Association Urges Menthol Ban

 Lung Association Urges Menthol Ban

Image: sosiukin

Image: sosiukin

The American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2024 Report highlights the impacts of tobacco use and urges the White House to finalize rules on the impending menthol ban.

The 22nd annual State of Tobacco Control report evaluates state and federal efforts to eliminate tobacco use and save lives with proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies. This year’s report highlights the public health perils of menthol tobacco use and the failure of the White House to finalize the rules to end menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in 2023, according to an American Lung Association press release.

“It is unacceptable that after decades of research and proven tobacco control efforts, tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. Tobacco use is responsible for 480,000 deaths each year, including 45,000 Black individuals,” said Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, in a statement.

“Right now, President Biden can take action and save lives if he finalizes the rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Menthol cigarettes make it both easier to start and harder to quit by reducing the harshness of the smoke and cooling the throat. Once these rules are final, fewer people will start smoking, millions will begin their journey to quit, and lives will be saved.”

The federal section of the report highlights the failure of the Biden White House to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in December 2023, the continued delay of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to complete its review of premarket tobacco product applications and the beginning of meaningful enforcement against illegal e-cigarette products.

In the State of Tobacco Control report, the American Lung Association identified four key actions for the Biden administration and Congress to take in 2024 that will help ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use: The White House must finalize the rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars; the FDA must finalize premarket review and work with other federal agencies to remove all illegal e-cigarettes and other flavored products from the marketplace; Congress must maintain or increase current funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health; and Congress must pass H.R. 4775, the Helping Tobacco Users Quit Act, bipartisan legislation giving more people access to the resources they need to quit tobacco.

The 2024 State of Tobacco Control report grades the federal government in five areas: federal regulation of tobacco products—grade C; federal coverage of quit smoking treatments—grade D; level of federal tobacco taxes—grade F; federal mass media campaigns to prevent and reduce tobacco use—grade A; and federal minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21—incomplete (the FDA is overdue in finalizing the Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete”).

The 2024 State of Tobacco Control report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives: strength of smoke-free workplace laws—16 states and Washington, D.C., earned “A” grades; ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products—45 states earned “F” grades; funding for state tobacco prevention programs—41 states and Washington, D.C., earned “F” grades; level of state tobacco taxes—31 states earned “F” grades; and coverage and access to services to quit tobacco—20 states and Washington, D.C., earned “A” or “B” grades.