The following is a press release from Sen. Ed Markey. He is one of two Democrats who represent Massachusetts in Washington D.C.
BOSTON – U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) issued the following statement in response to an announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the agency’s intent to restrict the availability of flavored e-cigarettes, remove e-cigarette products marketed to children, and ban flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes.
“Too many lives have been cut short by the dangers of tobacco, and with the drastic increase in youth e-cigarette use, it is past time for the FDA to use all of the authorities provided by Congress to protect the public’s health against this deadly menace,” said Senator Markey.
“This is particularly true for menthol cigarettes, and the FDA’s ban on menthol cigarettes will prevent a new generation of tobacco users and help save lives. I remain concerned that allowing menthol to continue to be used as an e-cigarette flavoring will inhibit the full public health benefit FDA’s actions. So, I urge the FDA to continue to evaluate this issue and will be asking the FDA to clarify its position and explain how it will ensure these recent bans are implemented,” said the Commonwealth’s junior senator.
Last year, Senator Markey led a letter to the FDA urging the agency to ban menthol cigarettes.
In 2011, the FDA conducted a scientific review that concluded “that menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes.” In their letter to FDA, the Senators point to one model finding that, because of the availability of menthol cigarettes, nine million individuals would initiate smoking between 2010 and 2050. Another model showed that hundreds of thousands of deaths would be averted by removing menthol. The FDA’s own scientific assessment also found that menthol cigarettes frequently serve as a starter product for youth, are associated with increased nicotine dependence in young smokers, and make it more difficult to quit smoking.