Murray: “This is an important step in the decades long fight against the public health menace of tobacco.”
Murray 2020 Health Equity Report: “Action to prohibit the use of flavors in little cigars and to prohibit menthol in cigarettes is particularly important in order to address the disproportionate impact of tobacco on Black Americans.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released the following statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing last week that it would engage in rulemaking to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
“This is an important step in the decades long fight against the public health menace of tobacco. For too long, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars have wreaked havoc on public health, and in particular on communities of color. We need to clear the market of flavored tobacco products like these that get people addicted to nicotine, and ultimately cut their lives short. I’m glad the Food and Drug Administration is taking this step, and will be pushing to make sure we continue to see progress in the fight against nicotine addiction.”
Senator Murray has repeatedly written to FDA about the need to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, including in letter sent earlier this month. Senator Murray’s report on health equity last year also noted how flavored tobacco products have been disproportionately harmful to people of color, and recommended stronger tobacco regulations similar to what FDA has announced.
“The disproportionate impact of tobacco products on communities of color has contributed to shortened life expectancy and increased health care costs, particularly for Black Americans. Congress should strengthen laws to prevent tobacco companies from targeting a new generation of kids and getting them addicted to tobacco products – beginning with banning the use of all flavors in tobacco products, including a prohibition on flavors in e-cigarettes unless or until a thorough FDA review shows they benefit public health, and bolstering investments in culturally and linguistically competent tobacco use prevention and cessation programs. Action to prohibit the use of flavors in little cigars and to prohibit menthol in cigarettes is particularly important in order to address the disproportionate impact of tobacco on Black Americans,” said the report.