Washoe County Health District backs FDA’s choice to ban menthol, flavored cigars

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 3:56 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (WASHOE COUNTY HEALTH DISTRICT) - The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) strongly supports the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) action to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars within the next year. Tobacco products are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The FDA action is intended to reduce tobacco addiction and prevent deaths. “Studies show that menthol-flavored tobacco products increase the appeal of tobacco, especially among our youth and young adults,” said Dr. Reka Danko, member of the Washoe County District Board of Health and board certified in addiction medicine. “Menthol and flavored tobacco products may also lead to more severe tobacco-use disorders and subsequent health damage, including death. We applaud the FDA on this groundbreaking action.” According to the FDA, menthol masks the unpleasant flavors and harshness of tobacco products, making it easier to start smoking. Tobacco products with menthol can also be more addictive and harder to quit. Menthol is the last allowable flavor in cigarettes. All other flavors have been banned. In 2009, the FDA banned tobacco flavors except menthol in cigarettes and except flavored cigars. Youth use of cigarettes dropped and youth flavored cigar use increased dramatically. According to the FDA, nearly 74% of youth aged 12-17 who use cigars said they smoked them because they came in flavors they liked. In 2020, the FDA reports, more young people tried a cigar every day than a cigarette. The sweeping action by the FDA is based on two studies.

The Health District has several resources for residents and businesses on how to be tobacco-free. You can find those resources on our website. For help quitting tobacco, call the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which is a free telephone coaching service available to any Nevada resident who is ready to quit tobacco. My Life, My Quit™ is the free and confidential way for young people to quit smoking or vaping. Text “Start My Quit” to 36072. According to the FDA, when the enforcement is implemented, the ban on menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars will only address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers. The FDA cannot enforce against individual consumer possession or use of menthol cigarettes or any tobacco product. The FDA will work to make sure that any unlawful tobacco products do not make their way onto the market.The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.

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