APA joins Tobacco Free Kids to recommend ban on menthol flavoring in tobacco products

Menthol cigarette use is highest among adolescents and racial minorities and is likely associated with greater addiction.

On Nov. 22, the American Psychological Association joined the Center for Tobacco Free Kids and 24 other scientific, professional and public health groups to endorse comments (PDF, 589KB) recommending a ban on menthol flavoring in tobacco products. The comments were in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the first formal step in the regulatory process that the FDA will use in deciding whether or not to pursue such a ban.  

The comments highlighted the findings of the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee’s (TPSAC) Menthol Subcommittee as well as the findings from FDA’s own preliminary scientific evaluation (PDF, 1.59MB) that menthol use is likely associated with increased smoking initiation, greater addiction and a decreased likelihood of quitting.  

Moreover, menthol cigarettes are used preferentially by younger smokers and racial minorities. Whereas only 30 percent of adult smokers use menthol cigarettes, 45 percent of adolescent smokers aged 12-17 use them, and whereas only 24 percent of white smokers use menthol cigarettes, 83 percent of African American smokers use them.  

The examination of menthol was mandated as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 and represents the continued rigorous application of science, much of it derived from psychological research, to the regulation of tobacco products.

For more information contact Geoff Mumford.