Menthol Exemption Leads Black Health Group to Drop Support for FDA Tobacco Bill
The National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network has dropped its support for a federal bill that gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco products, the New York Times reported May 30.
The group said it could no longer support the measure because it allows tobacco companies to continue making menthol-flavored cigarettes –historically marketed to black smokers — while banning other flavorings.
The National African American Tobacco Prevention Network had supported the measure even with the exemption included, but bowed to pressure and withdrew its endorsement this week. “Our constituents across the country are just livid,” said William S. Robinson, the group's executive director.
The exemption has survived in the bill because it is backed by Philip Morris USA, the only major tobacco company to support the FDA bill and a leading maker of menthol cigarettes.