ADA urges Biden administration to eliminate menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars

Full-page joint advertisement appears in Washington Post

The full-page advertisement that ran in the Washington Post.

Led by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the ADA was one of 123 organizations urging the Biden administration to issue final rules that would prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. 

A full-page advertisement issued in The Washington Post and a joint statement, which highlights the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rules to eliminate menthol, was widely circulated on March 21.

“President Biden, we stand united. Act now to eliminate menthol cigarettes. … Issue the final menthol rule now,” the ad reads, followed by the names of supporting organizations. 

The ad states that by eliminating menthol cigarettes, the administration will help to protect kids; advance the Cancer Moonshot — an initiative launched in 2016 to support cancer research and end the disease — promote health equity; and save lives.

The joint statement calls on the Biden administration to issue the final rules in March, which is the deadline the administration set in December when it issued the Fall 2023 Unified Agenda of regulatory actions. 

According to the statement, the rules will have a “profound impact” on the nation’s health, including:

•    Protecting America’s kids from tobacco addiction. 
•    Advancing the president’s Cancer Moonshot. 
•    Promoting health equity. 
•    Saving hundreds of thousands of lives. 

“Given these enormous benefits, the Biden administration has an obligation to issue the final rules prohibiting menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars without further delay,” the statement reads. “We urge President Biden and his administration to seize this historic opportunity to improve our nation’s health, promote health equity and save lives from cancer and other tobacco-related diseases. Delays cost lives, and inaction is unacceptable.”

This is not the first time the ADA has advocated for banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. In two separate Aug. 2, 2022, letters to the FDA, the ADA and other stakeholders provided comments on the proposed rules for a tobacco product standard for menthol in cigarettes and for characterizing flavors in cigars. 

One letter stated that a product standard prohibiting menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes meets the statutory public health standard while the other stated that banning flavored cigars will have “a substantial impact in preventing tobacco-caused mortality, avoiding suffering from tobacco addiction and disease, and reducing persistent and tragic health disparities in the U.S.”

According to Jessica Robertson, D.M.D., vice chair of the Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention, she grew up with public health announcements about the dangers of smoking. But the advent of flavoring and vaping, she said, has helped cause an increase in smoking, especially in young people. 

“Flavorings like menthol mimic fresh breath, like chewing gum, making it seem that smoking is ok,” Dr. Robertson said. “This call by the American Dental Association and our peers to eliminate menthol flavoring from cigarettes and vaping products is the first step in reversing the smoking trend in the U.S. and helping our patients [be] healthier.”

To read the full joint statement, visit the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ news release

For more information about the ADA's advocacy efforts, visit 

Recommended Content


© 2023 American Dental Association