Blumenthal Statement on FDA Flavored Tobacco Products Proposal

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued the following statement after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today it would move to ban menthol flavoring in combustible tobacco products like cigarettes and ban all flavored cigars, proposals Blumenthal has long supported:

“Through slick marketing tactics and the use of flavors, e-cigarette manufacturers like Juul have targeted our children—copying the predatory playbook Big Tobacco used with menthol and other flavored products to lure generations of Americans, particularly African Americans, into lifetimes of addiction. 

As a longtime proponent of aggressive FDA action against these despicable companies, and the deadly and dangerous products they peddle for profit, I commend the FDA for finally moving forward with common sense solutions—but more can and must be done to reverse and end this public health epidemic.

For far too long, these despicable companies have had free rein to carry out a coordinated and concerted campaign to get our kids hooked on deadly and dangerous products. FDA has waited too long to do too little. It must move with a sense of urgency to finalize these important proposals and—to truly save children from this scourge—completely ban flavored e-cigarettes regardless of where they are sold.”

FDA also announced a limited ban on the sale of certain e-cigarette flavors, allowing flavors to remain on the market in some stores and online under yet-to-be detailed age verification requirements. Blumenthal has long demanded FDA go further by banning all e-cigarette flavors. FDA’s announcement comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released dreadful findings in its 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey: E-cigarette use increased by 78 percent amongst teenagers and 48 percent amongst middle schoolers last year, along with increases in overall tobacco use by young people after years of decline.