ASCO has sent joint letters with both the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging that the agency establish regulations to eliminate menthol in cigarettes. The agency is currently considering prohibiting menthol as a characterizing flavor of cigarettes.
Both letters call for establishing a uniform standard that sets a maximum menthol level, for which all cigarette manufacturers will have to comply. The ASCO/AACR letter goes one step further to “strongly recommend that the FDA ban the addition of menthol to cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products as a characterizing flavor,” a recommendation that is included in ASCO’s 2013 tobacco cessation policy statement.
“Additive flavors like menthol have a cooling effect that makes the inhaled cigarette smoke less harsh, and can lead to an increase in smoking, especially with young people,” said Frank L. Meyskens, Jr, MD, FACP, Chair of ASCO’s Cancer Prevention Committee. “Flavors that help aid addiction to tobacco products should be prohibited… period.”
The next step will be for the FDA to issue a proposed rule on banning menthol in cigarettes. Please follow ASCO in Action (http://www.asco.org/advocacy) for the latest information. ■
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