• Family Physicians Commend Long Overdue Ban on Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 

    Statement attributable to:
    Ada D. Stewart, MD
    American Academy of Family Physicians

    “Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death, disease and disability in the U.S. The American Academy of Family Physicians is committed to preventing and treating tobacco use and dependency in all populations and ensuring large tobacco companies cannot unfairly target vulnerable communities.

    “We applaud the announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it will begin the process to prohibit the sale and manufacturing of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

    “Menthol cigarettes lead to increased smoking initiation among youth and young adults, greater addiction, and decreased success in quitting smoking. In 2018, menthol cigarettes accounted for more than one-third of all cigarette sales in the U.S. Flavored cigars have also become significantly more popular among young people in recent years. Three-quarters of youth who use cigars report that they use them because they enjoy the flavors.

    “This ban is an essential step toward achieving health equity, particularly for Black communities. Non-Hispanic, Black adults account for the largest percentage of menthol cigarette smokers, in part because of decades of predatory advertisement from big tobacco companies. Compounding health disparities in the U.S. health care system make Black smokers more likely to die from smoking-related disease than their white counterparts, despite smoking less and starting later in life.

    “The AAFP has long advocated for the FDA to ban the manufacturing and sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. We urge the administration to swiftly implement this ban, while also improving equitable access to smoking cessation treatment.”

    Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Stewart, contact Janelle Davis, (913) 912-0377, or jdavis@aafp.org.


    About American Academy of Family Physicians
    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 130,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits — that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.