It's has always been our intention here at CStoreCigars to promote responsible smoking.
For the most part, we are fairly certain that 90% of our customers aren't smoking the cigars as a cigar - but usually using them for "other purposes".
The proposed FDA flavor ban brings light to a lot of long-standing issues here in our country - and with the help of some experienced journalists, we are presenting the facts about the marketing of tobacco products.
We truly hope that flavors will still exist in the world of cigars. It is our deep felt opinion that adults who are of legal age should be able to smoke what they would enjoy smoking. But at the end of day - a fact is a fact.
The FDA's flavor ban - in addition to the Federal government's proposed raised taxes on tobacco products - will not only tighten the screws on your ability to smoke - but also lessen the choices on what will be available.
Inquiring minds want to know the FDA’s plan to ban flavored cigars. Especially since the use of menthol flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars have already been banned in countries such as Canada, Brazil, and the EU. This trend has now been initiated in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration who have taken steps to legislate this ban within the next several years. Its purpose is to significantly reduce disease and death by banning flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes.
Bottom line folks - we will start to see changes in the next few years.
Flavored cigars have historically been marketed towards communities of color and have been known to contribute to nicotine addiction. Low-income populations have been attracted to flavored cigars in part due to their affordable pricing. The NAACP and other African American health focused groups originally pushed for a ban on menthol products. Menthol has been shown to make nicotine more addictive by masking unpleasant tobacco tastes with a cool, refreshing taste. However, some Black American groups thought the ban was discriminatory but are now in support of the proposed legislation.
According to FDA commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, “banning menthol and all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products”. The result of this ban is expected to reduce use among young people, increase chances of people quitting nicotine and address tobacco related diseases among populations more prone to using these products like people of color and low-income communities. The proposed ban will have to go through a public comment period before becoming law.
According to Mitch Zeller, Director of FDA’s Center of Tobacco Products, The ban would promote better health equity for helping to support Black smokers achieve long-term quitting. Advertisers of flavored tobacco products have disproportionately targeted the Black community resulting in a high rate of menthol cigarette and flavored gigantic smokers. Increased rates of heart disease, stroke, and cancer have greatly affected the health of African Americans. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics stands behind the FDA in this issue, acknowledging the ban would be beneficial to the future of young people in preventing nicotine addiction.
In 2009 the FDA began to regulate tobacco products through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. It prohibited all flavors, except menthol, in cigarettes. The Act also asked the FDA to reevaluate the flavor ban from time to time and decide if standards should be changed. In 2020 health focused groups including the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, brought a lawsuit against the FDA claiming that they had not acted to ban menthol. The Council prompted the proposed regulations banning flavored cigars and menthol in cigarettes. These groups have pledged to continue their efforts to see the legislation passed. The FDA said the ban would apply only to manufacturers, distributors and retailers and not individual consumer possession.
Dr. Nia Hearri Garris of the American Academy of Pediatrics has noted that there was a specific intention of creating generational smokers in minority communities by the addition of flavors, including menthol. Being more palatable to teens and young people, flavor additions were considered “starter “products and were often used in cigar initiation.
In the 1990s, due to more advertising restrictions on billboards and public transportation, tobacco companies focused on promotions to gas stations and convenience stores. Individual states, for example Massachusetts and California, and some cities in Colorado, have passed laws banning menthol. However, due to a legal challenge, California’s ban was suspended but the issue will be on next year’s ballot. Menthol flavored e-cigarette products are excluded from the ban but nevertheless, the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association and other health related groups plan to pursue their inclusion as well.
NAACP president and CEO Derek Johnson applauded the FDA decision and noted that for decades tobacco companies have purposefully marketed mentholated cigarettes to African Americans. In their marketing campaigns, tobacco companies have offered promotions as well as contributions to various Black universities, political and theater groups. Due to probable court proceedings initiated by the tobacco industry, the ruling to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars could be next year or years from implementation.A citizen petition requested that the FDA “pursue “rules to prohibit menthol in cigarettes. While the idea of proposed legislation was brought up in the Obama administration, there was no meaningful action to push forward. The initiative was halted during the Trump administration. At this point the Biden administration has given the green light to go ahead with their full support of the proposed ban.
The FDA suggests that banning menthol and flavored cigars would lead to thousands of smokers quitting within the first 17 months of the ban going into effect and also preventing thousands of deaths due to tobacco use. The agency has committed to an active campaign to target 10.7 million young people aged 12 to 17 who have ever used e- cigarettes or would be willing to try them. The campaign would focus on information concerning the potential risks associated with e- cigarette use.
After 2009, when flavors besides menthol were banned in cigarettes, flavored cigar use increased dramatically. Closely resembling cigarettes, flavored cigars and cigarillos rise in popularity undermined the purpose of the flavored cigarette ban to reduce tobacco use. Flavored cigars are usually machine made of combustible tobacco with added flavors that resemble cigarettes and have the same health risks associated with them. In a 30-day period in 2020, Black high school students smoked cigars at two times the rate of white students.
Additionally, an overwhelming majority of young people aged 12 to 17 who use cigars claimed to smoke them because of the flavors they liked. Most said that a flavored cigar was their first cigar which initiated them into smoking practices. And in 2020, more young people tried a cigar every day than those who tried a cigarette.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration works within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whose role is to protect the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products and medical devices for human use.
HHS Secretary Xavier Bacerra commented publicly that the proposed ban on flavored additives to cigars and the placement of a ban on menthol in cigarettes, was a science-based decision whose purpose is to improve the health of all Americans. He also noted that it would confront health disparities in marginalized community groups. He added that these proposed measures would decrease the appeal of those types of tobacco products and ultimately save lives.
Since the 1950s and 60s, advertisers made use of positive images of Black smokers in marketing, making those products attractive looking. Black communities, having been especially targeted through marketing practices, have taken the issue of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigarettes seriously. This year the annual “No Menthol Sunday “announced the FDA’s decision with great support to the faith community.
Philip Gardiner of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) and a public health researcher also voiced his support.
The group had long supported a ban on menthol and flavored cigars and filed a lawsuit last year against the FDA for failure to act on a petition to ban all flavors from 2013. The FDA acknowledged that of the 18 million smokers, nearly 85% of menthol smokers were black smokers, while only 30% were white smokers.
The purpose of the ban would be to prevent the products from ever getting to the market and not to criminalize those who were addicted to them according to Kristina Hamilton, Director of advocacy at the American Lung Association. She commented that the move would liberalize black communities by giving them more opportunities for better health.
However, some groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are concerned that the ban would lead to criminalization of individuals in communities of color who were in possession of flavored tobacco products purchased through an underground market. It has been noted that Eric Garner was killed by police in 2014 after police were ordered to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. The ACLU would like more public education on the negative health effects of tobacco. The group wants clarity on enforcement policies.
After the ban on flavored cigarettes, except menthol, in 2009, demand for flavored cigars rose dramatically. In view of the April 2021 press release, the proposed ban on flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes will have a lasting impact on the cigar industry.
The proposed rule geared towards a tobacco flavor ban face hurdles before becoming official legislation but has already been set in motion. The FDA could possibly take up to a year to write the new ruling. Debate, public testimony, and public hearings will also have to take place. At that point, the rule could be rewritten.
It’s almost certain that tobacco companies will file lawsuits as a backlash and the prolonged process could take up to three years.
The public health goals of the FDA's decision on the proposed flavor ruling remain paramount: to reduce smoking as the leading cause of preventable death. So, if you enjoy smoking a flavored cigar or cigarillo, those days will more than likely be over when the FDA ban takes effect.
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