This Week's Advocacy News: 'White House Delays Menthol Cigarette Ban, Alarming Antismoking Advocates'

December 15, 2023

White House officials will take more time to review (https://www.npr.org/2023/12/07/1217753040/white-house-delays-menthol-cigarette-ban) a sweeping plan from U.S. health regulators to ban menthol cigarettes, an unexpected delay that antitobacco groups fear could scuttle the long-awaited rule. Administration officials indicated Wednesday the process will continue into next year, targeting March to implement the rule, according to an updated regulatory agenda posted online. Previously, the rule was widely expected to be published in late 2023 or early January.

NPR.org

ONS Perspective

ONS joined (https://assets.tobaccofreekids.org/content/what_we_do/federal_issues/fda/Support_Prohibiting_Menthol_Cigarettes_8_2_2022.pdf) the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in a concentrated advocacy effort (https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what-we-do/us/menthol) to support the rule, including placing a full-page ad in the Washington Post. Although we are disappointed in the delay, we will continue to fight for the rule’s finalization and implementation.

Although any postponements in cigarette bans prevent progress toward a tobacco-free world (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/isncc-tobacco-position), this one disproportionately affects vulnerable populations—including youth and Black and African Americans (https://voice.ons.org/news-and-views/when-healthcare-professionals-join-organizations-to-advocate-patients-voices-are). Preventing cancer through tobacco cessation strategies is a longstanding goal on ONS’s Health Policy Agenda (https://www.ons.org/sites/default/files/2023-02/ONS%20Health%20Policy%20Agenda%20118th%20Congress.pdf) and the top priority among the public health issues (https://www.ons.org/make-a-difference/advocacy-policy/public-health) ONS monitors. Nurses’ voices have incredible power in reducing adult and youth tobacco use, promoting cessation, actively protecting all people against secondhand tobacco smoke, and helping to increase access to tobacco-use prevention and cessation services. Find the resources you need to advocate with your patients and policymakers in ONS’s Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, and Vaping Learning Library (https://www.ons.org/learning-libraries/vaping), and join us in the fight against Big Tobacco.

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