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American Lung Association Supports FDA

American Lung Association Supports FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee Recommendation


In March of 2011, the American Lung Association and our partners at Heart, Cancer and TFK issued this statement announcing our support of the recommendation of FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, which concluded that it would be appropriate for the protection of public health if menthol cigarettes be removed from the marketplace.The petition filed today deals with what are commonly referred to, or thought of, as menthol cigarettes – i.e. their characterizing flavor is menthol.

It is important to know that about 85-90 percent of all cigarettes contain menthol as an additive but they may or may have menthol as a characterizing flavor. Here’s what we said about the Committee’s findings and the public health implications of cigarettes with menthol as a characterizing flavor at that time. The committee based its recommendation on findings that menthol cigarettes increase the number of children who experiment with cigarettes and the number of children who become regular smokers, increasing overall youth smoking.

It also concluded that the availability of menthol cigarettes reduces smoking cessation, especially among African-Americans, and increases the overall prevalence of smoking among African Americans. It found that “menthol cigarettes are marketed disproportionately to younger smokers” and “disproportionately marketed per capita to African Americans.” The committee’s conclusions leave no doubt that menthol cigarettes have had a profound adverse impact on public health in the United States, resulting in more smoking and more death and disease from tobacco use. It also leaves no doubt that the tobacco industry is directly responsible for the harm caused by menthol cigarettes because of its targeted marketing of children and African-American and other communities, and its manipulation of menthol cigarettes to appeal to specific target markets.