RALEIGH, NC – North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein released a statement Friday calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban menthol cigarettes.
The full explanation can be found below:
“Attorney General Josh Stein today called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban menthol cigarettes. A menthol cigarette ban would benefit public health, reduce teenage smoking, and help lessen the harm to color communities.
“Menthol cigarettes are said to be easier to smoke,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “That is, they make it easier to get addicted. In addition, they are marketed in a way that disproportionately harms young and colored people. I urge the FDA to ban menthol cigarettes and help us prevent another generation of North Carolinians from becoming addicted to nicotine and suffering the consequences in the years to come. ‘
In a letter to the FDA, Attorney General Stein and a non-partisan coalition of 23 attorneys general argue that such a ban would save thousands of lives and should be implemented immediately. Despite the general decline in non-menthol smoking, the prevalence of menthol smoking has remained constant in recent years and has a disproportionate impact on adolescents and color communities. The attorneys general state that menthol cigarettes remain a major obstacle to smoking cessation and the reduction in health conditions associated with smoking.
The attorneys general highlight the FDA’s own data showing the addiction of menthol cigarettes. Research by the FDA and its Scientific Advisory Committee on Tobacco Products (TPSAC) on the health effects of menthol in cigarettes found that menthol cigarettes were associated with increased smoking cessation in adolescents and young adults, a greater likelihood of progression to regular smoking, and decreased success with smoking Quitting and greater addiction and nicotine dependence in smokers. Menthol in cigarettes obscures their harsh taste and makes it attractive to beginners who experiment with cigarettes and ultimately become addicted. The sensory effects and taste of menthol can be addictive to cigarettes, and menthol smokers are less likely to quit successfully than non-menthol smokers.
In 2019, an estimated 46.7 percent of middle- and senior school-aged smokers used menthol cigarettes, but menthol cigarette smoking is even higher among African American adolescents. Data also shows that 89 percent of all African American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes, compared to 26 percent of white smokers.
Attorney General Stein has waged the fight to prevent the next generation from becoming addicted to nicotine, including tackling the teenage vaping epidemic. In May 2019, he filed the first state lawsuit against e-cigarette maker Juul for aggressively marketing its products to young people and misrepresenting the dangers of nicotine in e-cigarettes. In August 2019, he also filed a lawsuit against eight other e-cigarette companies for aggressively targeting children and lax age verification procedures. The courts banned most of these companies from selling e-cigarette products in North Carolina for the duration of the litigation.
Attorney General Stein is sent along with today’s letter from attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Columbia District, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, United States, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
You can find a copy of the letter here. “
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