Attorney General Underwood Heads Move To Ban Flavored Tobacco

NEW YORK — Barbara D. Underwood, New York attorney general, is leading a bipartisan coalition of nine attorneys general-filed comments urging the Food and Drug Administration to ban flavored tobacco products.

On March 21, the FDA issued the Advance Notice in order to solicit information related to the role that flavors play in the use of tobacco products. As part of its rulemaking process, the FDA sought comments, data, research and other results regarding flavored tobacco and its impact on certain populations. The attorneys general are urging a complete ban of flavors in all tobacco products.

“The FDA’s fundamental responsibility is to protect the health and well-being of the American public,” Underwood said. “A ban on flavored tobacco products is critical to New Yorkers’ public health — especially young New Yorkers, who too often get hooked on these products at a young age, leading to a lifetime of addiction.”

The letter was led by Underwood and signed by the attorneys general of New York, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The comment letter urges the FDA to ban the use of flavors in all tobacco products for a number of reasons. The attorneys general say research has shown that flavored tobacco products are appealing to youth, leading them to begin using the products at a young age. The majority of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes, cigars, or hookah use flavored tobacco products. Moreover, use of tobacco products put youth and young adults at a greater risk for developing coronary artery disease, cancer and other tobacco-related diseases. Moreover, menthol cigarettes are more likely to pose a greater public health risk than tobacco flavored cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes usage is higher in not only youth tobacco users, but also in minority populations.

In 2009, Congress enacted the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which effectively banned cigarettes that contained flavors other than tobacco or menthol, and granted the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. The act was passed in order to reduce the number of youth who smoke and become addicted to tobacco products.

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