The Food and Drug Administration is in a dilemma of having to address the White House’s ban on menthol cigarettes in the wake of lawsuits following a deadline on flavored electronic cigarettes.
The FDA has failed to follow through with the ban on menthol cigarettes pushed through by President Joe Biden’s administration.
While the FDA is currently working on the ban, the administration has a deadline of April 2022 by which to enforce the menthol regulations, tangling the timelines for the flavored, electronic, and menthol tobacco bans.
The FDA is set to meet in a federal court on Nov. 18 against anti-tobacco health groups and will have to answer as to its delay in addressing the menthol ban.
“The FDA has put itself in a position of having sort of a tension between its action on menthol cigarettes and other kinds of flavored tobacco products — most specifically e-cigarettes,” said Joelle Lester, director for commercial tobacco control programs with the Public Health Law Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
On Apr. 29, the FDA announced a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes after years of requests from health groups, including a 2013 petition from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership. The window for enforcement of the ban extends until April 2022.
Independently from the menthol ban, the FDA was given a Sept. 9, 2021, deadline by which to examine applications from vendors with tobacco products, including flavored ones and e-cigarettes, in order to ensure compliance with health regulations. While the deadline has passed, the agency has yet to complete its review of product applications. The FDA’s failure to complete its procedures regarding flavored and electronic tobacco products now clashes with its timeline to review the menthol ban, angering anti-tobacco groups.
Elizabeth Faddis – Washington Examiner – 2021-11-15.