The tobacco industry is facing a major blow as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to ban all flavored cigarettes from the country.
Public health and civil rights groups have united and vigorously supported the ban. They cited the reason for the harmful effects of menthol cigarettes in black Americans.
The experts and critics are afraid of the fact that prohibition could give chance to rise of clandestine sales and black market which will need more confrontations along with proper law enforcement.
The proposed ban is going to affect more than a third of US cigarette purchases. However, the final decision is going to take months or even years to be successfully implemented.
The announcement on Thursday by FDA marked a deadline to respond to a federal lawsuit from the public health groups who are seeking the ban.
Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner has cited many studies on the adverse effect of using menthol cigarettes.
She said that outlawing flavored cigarettes can “help save lives” and also “address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products”.
The federal body has also announced that it would seek to ban all flavored cigarettes not only just menthol-flavored ones or e-cigarettes.
Banning flavored cigarettes perhaps does not need congressional approval and but it can take years for it to happen.
In its ruling, FDA will be entering into a lengthy rule-making process that includes a public comment period as well.
The final regulations are more likely to face a horde of legal challenges coming from different tobacco companies. The anti-smoking group is saying the implementation is long overdue but their fight against flavored tobacco products will keep going.
In 2009, FDA possessed the regulatory authority over tobacco products and the Congress had banned all flavored cigarettes except the menthol flavor.
However, a report by the agency presented in 2013, showed for the first time that menthol-flavored cigarettes could be even greater injurious than regular ones. It causes health risks since it masks the harshness and throat irritation from nicotine.
It also put a debate that people are more likely to get addicted to such flavored ones and find it hard to quit than regular cigarettes.
Neither The Trump Administration nor Obama did take any legal action about this matter while there is always a vocal opposition from the tobacco lobby.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows some data that proves that African Americans and black people typically smoke fewer cigarettes and start from a rather older age than an average white smoker.
However, their death rate regarding tobacco-related diseases at the heart and throat is much higher. The chance of getting cancer is high too as the African Americans and black neighborhoods purchase 85% of the menthol smoke of the total.