Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin - part of a bipartisan coalition of nine attorneys general - filed comments urging the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) to ban flavored tobacco products, which have been repeatedly shown to lead middle and high school students to begin tobacco use at a young age.
On March 21, 2018, the FDA issued the Advance Notice in order to solicit information related to the role that flavors play in the use of tobacco products. As part of its rulemaking process, the FDA is seeking comments, data, research, and other results regarding flavored tobacco and its impact on certain populations. The Attorneys General are urging a complete ban of flavors in all tobacco products
"The purpose of flavored tobacco products is to make them more attractive and lure in new tobacco users, especially the youth, and it's time the FDA ban such products all together," said Attorney General Kilmartin
The letter was signed by Attorney General Kilmartin and the attorneys general from New York, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
The comment letter urges the FDA to ban the use of flavors in all tobacco products for a number of reasons. Research has shown that flavored tobacco products are appealing to youth, leading them to begin using the products at a young age. The majority of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes, cigars, or hookah use flavored tobacco products. Moreover, use of tobacco products put youth and young adults at a greater risk for developing coronary artery disease, cancer, and other tobacco-related diseases. Moreover, tobacco products that are flavored with menthol are more likely to pose a greater public health risk that those nonmenthol flavored tobacco products. Menthol cigarettes usage is higher in not only youth tobacco users, but also in minority populations.
In 2009, Congress enacted the Tobacco Control Act (TCA), which effectively banned cigarettes that contained flavors other than tobacco or menthol and granted the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. The TCA was passed in order to reduce the number of youth who smoke and become addicted to tobacco products. The Attorneys General urge the FDA to follow in the footsteps of Congress and ban all flavors in other tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, little cigars, and other non-combustible tobacco products.