FDA’s policies would boost the black market and smoking-related deaths


The Food and Drug Administration wants to prevent smoking-related deaths by making cigarettes less appealing.

Toward that end, the FDA plans to ban menthol cigarettes and limit nicotine content to “reduce the addictiveness of cigarettes.”

Meanwhile, the FDA seems determined to make vaping products, the most promising harm-reducing alternative to cigarettes, less appealing to smokers. The perverse combination of these two regulatory strategies would undermine public health in the name of promoting it.

The ban on menthol cigarettes, which the FDA proposed in April, is not based on evidence that they are uniquely dangerous. Instead, the agency argues that menthol cigarettes are more addictive, especially for Black smokers, who overwhelmingly prefer them.

The evidence on that score is shaky, and so is the condescending assumption that African Americans are helpless to resist menthol’s minty coolness or the marketing that touts it. Worse, the proposed ban would promote illegal production and distribution, inviting a law enforcement response that would disproportionately hurt the people the agency claims it is trying to help — a point the FDA implicitly concedes by alluding to the policy’s “racial and social justice implications.”

Read full article here.

Jacob Sullum – Orange County Register – 2022-07-07

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