Photo of a pile of Cigarettes

VIENNA, VA, APRIL 29, 2021 – Allergy & Asthma Network applauds the Biden Administration and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their decision today to end flavored cigars. Eliminating menthol cigarettes will improve public health, reduce health disparities particularly among Black Americans, and save lives.

Menthol is a chemical and minty flavor additive to cigarettes and other tobacco products. It cools and numbs the throat and masks the harshness of inhaling tobacco smoke. Menthol can make cigarettes more addictive, easier for children to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit.

“The availability of menthol cigarettes and their addictive quality have a clear impact on people with respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD,” says Tonya Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. “Cigarette smoke is the second most-cited cause of asthma flares. Smokers with severe asthma have poorer asthma control and more unscheduled health visits. By banning the sale of menthol cigarettes, the Biden Administration and FDA take a powerful step forward in improving public health and promoting health equity for all Americans.”

A estimated that, from 1980 to 2018, menthol cigarettes were responsible for 10.1 million extra smokers, 378,000 premature deaths and 3 million life years lost in the United States.

Menthol cigarettes harm Black Americans more than other groups and worsen health disparities. Nearly 9 in 10 Black smokers use menthol cigarettes, a result of the tobacco industry’s decades-long marketing to Black communities. Menthol cigarettes are a major reason why tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths among Black Americans. Every year, 45,000 Black lives are lost due to tobacco use.

Allergy & Asthma Network looks forward to submitting public comment when FDA’s new standards for menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars are published in the Federal Register.

Download the Coalition Ad to Prohibit Menthol Cigarettes