The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) and the Smoking and Health Initiative (ASH) are suing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for menthol inaction.
The plaintiff asked the court to force the FDA to take action based on its conclusion that the ban on menthol in tobacco products is harmful to public health.
The 2009 version of the Family Prevention of Smoking and Tobacco Control Act prohibits the addition of spices to cigarettes, but does not include menthol, which is for further study. In 2011, the FDA Advisory Committee concluded that “Removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States.”
Despite this conclusion, as well as several supporting statements during this period, the FDA has not begun to develop rules to remove menthol from combustible cigarettes. The plaintiff asked the FDA to take action as directed by the court.
According to data from AATCLC and ASH, smoking-related diseases are the number one cause of death in the African American community, and 85% of African American smokers consume mint.
“By continuing to delay, the FDA and the US government are failing to protect the health of US citizens, particularly African Americans, and the US is also falling behind the global trend as countries around the world are increasingly banning menthol,” said Kelsey Romeo -Stuppy, managing attorney at ASH.
On May 20, the European Union banned menthol.
“Our nation finds itself at a moment in time when action to eradicate systemic inequities and racism is crucial to fighting injustice, and this case is a perfect example of action which will elicit positive change,” said ASH.
This article is issued by Tobacco Reporter.