Washington, D.C. July 23, 2013 – American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new evaluation on the use of menthol in cigarettes, and the agency’s request for input on whether regulatory action on this tobacco product is “appropriate:”

“Today’s announcement by the FDA once again makes it clear that there is an urgent need to prohibit menthol cigarettes. It’s been over two years since the agency’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee found that menthol cigarettes have an adverse impact on public health by inviting experimentation by the young, increasing the number of youth who become regular smokers, and making it harder to quit. The new independent assessment by the FDA came to same conclusion. What more evidence do we need? We can waste no more time.  We must move ahead as quickly as possible to prohibit menthol cigarettes.

“Every day, the 1,200 Americans who die from tobacco-related diseases are replaced by two smokers under the age of 26. Menthol cigarettes are one of many products peddled to our nation’s youth with the intent of addicting a new generation. If the FDA takes menthol cigarettes off the shelves, we will remove one product that lures young people into a deadly habit and sets them on the road to early hardening of the arteries and coronary artery disease in adulthood.

“Earlier this year, the American Heart Association and several other organizations joined forces to submit a citizen petition to the FDA. The petition requested that the agency adopt standards that would restrict the addition of menthol to cigarettes. We will provide more detailed information in response to the FDA’s latest questions on these products so we can help prevent more Americans from taking up smoking because they like the taste of menthol cigarettes.”