Prevent Cancer Foundation applauds FDA proposal to eliminate menthol cigarettes

Contact: Lisa Berry Edwards

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday announced plans to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. The announcement is in response to a citizen petition and subsequent lawsuit filed by public health organizations calling on the FDA to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer and is linked to several other types of cancer, as well as other serious diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Prohibition of menthol cigarettes is supported by scientific evidence that has consistently proven menthol makes cigarettes more addictive and harder for smokers to quit. Studies show that menthol was responsible for 10.1 million extra smokers, 378,000 premature deaths, and 3 million life years lost in the U.S. between 1980 to 2018.

Black Americans have long been targeted by the tobacco industry with predatory marketing for menthol cigarettes and have paid an enormous price in health and lives. Today, 85% of Black smokers smoke menthols, compared to less than 10% in the 1950s. Largely because of menthol cigarettes, Black smokers have a harder time quitting smoking and die at higher rates from tobacco-related diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke.

As an organization committed to stopping cancer before it starts and reducing health disparities, the Prevent Cancer Foundation offers our full support of the FDA’s commitment to eliminating menthol cigarettes to reduce the cancer burden and save lives.

About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is celebrating 35 years as the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection.  Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

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