Yes, you read that headline right.
Democratic Senator, Elizabeth Warren is teaming up with other senators to get the FDA to ban menthol cigarettes because these companies are disproportionately targeting African-Americans.
“As senators committed to the FDA’s mission to protect public health, we believe it is time for the FDA to act on the substantial scientific data and use the authority provided by the Tobacco Control Act to remove menthol cigarettes from the marketplace,” wrote senators Ed Markey (Mass.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) to the FDA.
The Democrats are going after menthol cigarettes in particular because of the way they are marketing to the youth and African-Americans.
“However, the continued marketing and use of menthol cigarettes, particularly by youth, threatens to significantly undermine this progress … [Studies show that] menthol cigarettes frequently serve as a starter product for youth, are associated with increased nicotine dependence in young smokers, and make it more difficult to quit smoking,” wrote the senators to Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner. “The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting menthol cigarettes to African Americans. These actions have resulted in significant health disparities in communities of color, with African Americans suffering the greatest burden of tobacco-related mortality of any ethnic or racial group in the United States.”
The letter also mentions a 2011 study where menthol cigarettes were found to pose a greater threat to public health than the non-menthol cigarettes. These cigarettes are often marketed to be the “healthier” form of cigarettes.
The FDA said it will respond directly to the senators, but the topic of menthol is already on the agency’s agenda.
“In particular, the FDA intends to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to seek public comment on the role that flavors (including menthol) in tobacco products play in attracting youth and may play in helping some smokers switch to potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery,” wrote the FDA in a late July press release.
Author’s note: We are all for making our future generations healthier, but how far do we have to go to be politically correct? Will banning one kind of cigarette actually lead to anyone quitting smoking? The tobacco industry deserves criticism, but using racism as one of the chief reasons to ban one type of cigarette is straight up ridiculous.
Editor’s note: Think about the ramifications of this. Is it no longer allowed to have black people in advertisements now? It appears that any ad geared to target a demographic is now racist. What about makeup? If the ads only include women, are they now sexist?