APA psychologists part of FDA panel evaluating menthol removal from cigarettes
A year-long effort culminated last month when the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee called for menthol's removal
A year-long effort to evaluate whether menthol should be banned as a constituent ingredient in cigarettes culminated last month when the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) called for its removal from tobacco products. APA Fellows Dorothy Hatsukami and Jack Henningfield serve on the TPSAC (PDF, 29 KB) and Hatsukami was a member of the Menthol Subcommittee (PDF, 20 KB) that evaluated menthol as an additive. The recommendations were part of a report (PDF, 4.5 MB) commissioned as a mandate of the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” which required FDA to evaluate the public health impact of menthol with respect to 1) the risks and benefits to the population as a whole, including users and nonusers of tobacco products; 2) the increased or decreased likelihood that existing users of tobacco products will stop using such products; and 3) the increased or decreased likelihood that those who do not use tobacco products will start using such products. Among the findings of the report, TPSAC cited sufficient evidence to conclude that a relationship is more likely than not that the availability of menthol cigarettes increases experimentation and regular smoking; that a relationship is more likely than not that the availability of menthol cigarettes increases the likelihood of addiction and the degree of addiction in youth smokers; and that a relationship is more likely than not that the availability of menthol cigarettes results in lower likelihood of smoking cessation success in African Americans, compared to smoking non-menthol cigarettes. The FDA will consider the report and recommendations of the TPSAC, and is expected to announce the progress of its review approximately three months from the date of the reports’ submission.