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American College of Cardiology President Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, made the following statement on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) commitment to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigarettes.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and a significant, modifiable risk factor for heart disease, which is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. This should give us ample reason to take every action available to reduce tobacco’s impact on our society and public health. The American College of Cardiology is heartened to see the FDA’s recent commitment to advance bans on menthol flavored cigarettes and all flavored cigars. The ACC has joined with stakeholders in recent years to call for this change as an imperative to public health.

It is already known that flavored products are often targeted at and used by our youth population. It is why flavored e-cigarettes have already been banned and why we have raised the age to use tobacco products to 21.

We all understand the stakes of tobacco products and addiction on our communities’ health. Menthol cigarettes are well-known to increase youth initiation to smoking; they also increase addiction to nicotine and reduce success in smoking cessation.

We also know that menthol cigarettes have an incredibly high toll in the disease and death in the Black community, worsening existing and unacceptable health disparities. The ACC, the public health community, the FDA and Congress must work together on this vital issue with clear public health benefits of reducing tobacco-related death and disease.”

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