FDA Announcement Reinforces Need for NYC to Prohibit Sale of Menthol Cigarettes

New York, NY (April 29, 2021) – A coalition of health advocacy groups in New York City, including the American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, NYC Smoke-Free, Public Health Solutions and the NAACP New York State Conference, applauded today’s announcement from the Biden Administration regarding the removal of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars from store shelves. Together, they issued the following statement urging the New York City Council to follow suit and pass Intro 1345 to end the sale of menthol cigarettes in New York City:

“We welcome today’s announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the proposals to prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The tobacco industry has long targeted Black and other communities with flavored products to addict generations of tobacco users. Our groups have long urged action on the local, state and federal levels to prohibit flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes.

While the FDA’s announcement today is a very important step forward, New Yorkers have been targeted by big tobacco for long enough. It’s important New York City take swift action to end the sale of menthol cigarettes.

The science is clear, the time for action is now. The New York City Council has pending legislation, introduced in 2019, that would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes in New York City. Prohibiting the sale of menthol-flavored tobacco products would significantly improve public health in New York City, especially in communities of color. The City Council must immediately pass Intro 1345 to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes in New York City. Far too many New Yorkers have faced a lifetime of addiction, disease and death from these products.

According to a recent update from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, an opinion survey administered in December 2020 found that over one-third (35.5%) of New Yorkers who smoke reported smoking more often than they were the year prior. More must be done in New York City to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and to help current tobacco users end their addiction.

Intro 1345 has a majority of Council Members signed on as sponsors. There is no need to wait on eventual action from the Federal Government. New York City has long led the nation on important policies to reduce tobacco use and should do so on menthol as well. Now is the time for New York City to close the menthol cigarette loophole once and for all and prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products.”