The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) & Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) joined forces to Bring a Formal Complaint Against the
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Along with ASH, we formally announced our joint complaint against the FDA on June 17th during a nation-wide press conference. The lawsuit asks the court to compel the FDA to carry out its statutory duties under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and take steps to add menthol to the original list of prohibited characterizing flavors. Such action would result in the removal of menthol flavored tobacco products from the marketplace.
"We are at a moment in time when action to eradicate systemic inequities and racism is crucial to fight injustices, which include those in the public health policy arena."
The lawsuit intends to bring to the forefront the lack of action from the FDA to fulfill its mandate to promptly survey the medical and scientific evidence concerning the public health impacts of menthol in cigarettes, and take action on the FDA’s own conclusions that it would benefit the public health to take menthol tobacco products off the shelves.
In particular, in 2009, Congress passed—and President Obama signed into law—the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The act implemented a total flavor ban in cigarettes, but excluded menthol subject to further research on the public health impacts of menthol in cigarettes. In 2011, the FDA’s Advisory Committee concluded that the “Removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States.” Though Canada, the European Union, Ethiopia and other countries have taken menthol off the market, the United States has yet to do so, despite overwhelming evidence collected by the FDA that a menthol ban would benefit public health.