APHA: FDA’s decision to begin prohibiting menthol cigarettes will save lives

Date: Apr 29 2021

Contact: Media Relations 

Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD

“Today, I applaud the Food and Drug Administration for listening to the needs of public health, the findings of science and the voices of the American people by committing to ban the use of menthol in cigarettes.

Banning menthol in tobacco products is an important step forward as we continue to recognize the harmful impact flavored products and newer delivery mechanisms, like e-cigarettes, have on our youth and on communities that are targeted by tobacco marketing practices.

Not only does menthol in cigarettes lead to greater instances of smoking among youth, but the additive makes it harder to quit smoking. For years, the tobacco industry has targeted Black Americans in their marketing and promotion of menthol-flavored tobacco products. Of all Black smokers, 85% use menthol cigarettes, a grim statistic considering members of the community are much less likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with lung cancer at an earlier, more preventable stage.

This plague upon public health targeted the Black community and has directly worsened already problematic health disparities. APHA has joined the efforts of numerous organizations in calling for the ban of this addictive substance to ultimately save lives.

If we want to create the healthiest nation in one generation, we need to begin doing so by reversing harmful practices that have been deeply entrenched in our culture, and today’s development does just that.”


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.