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ACP Encouraged by FDA Plans to Begin Regulatory Process to Ban Menthol in Tobacco Products

Statement attributable to:
Ana María López, MD, MPH, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (November 15, 2018) – The American College of Physicians (ACP) is encouraged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement that will start the process to restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in certain retail outlets and ban menthol cigarettes and cigars. ACP believes that banning flavored tobacco products is a major step forward in reducing underage use of combustible tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), although additional steps should be taken.

ACP’s 2015 policy paper, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, highlighted the dangers that ENDS present to individuals, particularly minors, and called for a ban on flavored tobacco products. ACP is especially concerned about the explosion in ENDS use among young people as evidence suggests that adolescents who start using ENDS also use, or intend to use, combustible tobacco products later in life. ACP is encouraged by the FDA’s proposal to restrict the sale of certain flavored ENDS products in stores that allow people of all ages to enter, but emphasizes that strong enforcement and a clear definition of “age-restricted, in-person location” is needed to ensure that these products are not accessible to young people.

ACP strongly supports the FDA’s long-overdue proposal to ban menthol flavoring in combustible cigarettes and cigars. Studies show that menthol cigarettes may be more addictive than nonmentholated varieties because they mask the harshness of cigarette smoke, making it easier to inhale more nicotine and more difficult to quit. ACP believes that the FDA should extend the ban on menthol and mint flavors to ENDS products to reduce their attractiveness to young people.

ACP has long supported regulation of all forms of tobacco products. ACP looks forward to continuing to work with the FDA and other health care stakeholders to implement long-lasting, meaningful regulations on ENDS to protect and improve public health and aggressively address the epidemic of ENDS use among young people.

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About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org