The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 28 released two proposed tobacco product standards that would ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors, including menthol, in cigars.
The move followed the Agency’s January announcement that it planned to issue proposed rules on two tobacco product standards. The White House Office of Management and Budget approved both proposed rules last week.
In a statement announcing the proposals, FDA clarified that the Agency cannot and will not enforce against individual consumers for possession or use of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars.
“If these proposed rules are finalized and implemented, FDA enforcement will only address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers who manufacture, distribute, or sell such products within the U.S. that are not in compliance with applicable requirements,” the Agency explained. “These proposed regulations do not include a prohibition on individual consumer possession or use.”
Menthol cigarette sales make up approximately one-third of the cigarette market. NATSO is concerned that banning the sale of a product that has such a sizeable market share could lead to an increase in illicit markets for the product. NATSO plans to file public comments on the proposals by the July 5 deadline.
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