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November 16, 2018

Statement from Dr. Neil Schluger, Senior Advisor for Science at Vital Strategies, on the FDA’s proposal to restrict flavored tobacco products

The following is a statement from Dr Neil Schluger, Senior Advisor for Science at Vital Strategies, on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposals to restrict flavored tobacco products, including a potential ban on menthol in cigarettes, and restrictions on the sale of fruit- or sweet-flavored e-cigarette liquids:

“Menthol and fruit-flavored tobacco products have fueled a generations-long epidemic of smoking among youth, and similarly flavored vaping products an astronomical rise in vaping among kids and young adults across the nation. While we’re encouraged the FDA is taking steps to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, it’s disappointing they chose to only limit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, rather than ban them altogether. The FDA’s own data suggests that menthol- or mint-flavored tobacco products are used by over half of high school students who currently use e-cigarettes. Broader regulation on the sale and marketing of these products are more than sensible precautions – they have real potential to curb smoking among vulnerable populations and prevent the growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.”  

Additional background:

According to The Tobacco Atlas, laws banning the sale of menthol in tobacco products have passed in Brazil, Turkey, Ethiopia, the European Union, and five Canadian provinces and many countries regulate flavors and other ingredients in e-cigarettes. According to a 2016 Surgeon General’s report, youth use of nicotine in any form is unsafe, can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain. A “gateway effect” from vaping to smoking has been identified in a number of reports, including a January 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

About Vital Strategies’ work in tobacco control:

Vital Strategies works globally and in more than 40 countries to support the adoption of proven policies to reduce tobacco use. Our global team of experts use policy, advocacy and strategic communication to help governments adopt life-saving, public health “best buys” like comprehensive smokefree laws and high tobacco taxes. Our evidence-based public education campaigns – designed to encourage quitting, delay initiation, support policy goals like compliance with smoke-free laws, and over the long term, reduce the acceptability of smoking and change attitudes about the tobacco industry – have been seen by more than 2 billion people. We partner with American Cancer Society to produce The Tobacco Atlas, (sixth ed.) the most comprehensive report on the evolving global tobacco epidemic, and support production of WHO’s MPOWER reports. Vital Strategies is a main partner in the $1 billion Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.

For more information Vital Strategies’ work in tobacco control, please visit:

Media Contact:

Tracey Johnston; Vital Strategies (UK):; +44.(0)7889.081.170

Christina Honeysett; Vital Strategies:; +1.914.424.3356










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