FDA Commits to Evidence-Based Actions Aimed at Saving Lives and Preventing Future Generations of Smokers
Efforts to ban menthol cigarettes, ban flavored cigars build on previous flavor ban and mark significant steps to reduce addiction and youth experimentation, improve quitting, and address health disparities.
FDA NEWS RELEASE
April 29, 2021
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is committing to advancing two tobacco product standards to significantly reduce disease and death from using combusted tobacco products, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The FDA is working toward issuing proposed product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors (including menthol) in cigars; the authority to adopt product standards is one of the most powerful tobacco regulatory tools Congress gave the agency. This decision is based on clear science and evidence establishing the addictiveness and harm of these products and builds on important, previous actions that banned other flavored cigarettes in 2009.
“Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products. With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Together, these actions represent powerful, science-based approaches that will have an extraordinary public health impact. Armed with strong scientific evidence, and with full support from the Administration, we believe these actions will launch us on a trajectory toward ending tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S.”
“For far too long, certain populations, including African Americans, have been targeted, and disproportionately impacted by tobacco use. Despite the tremendous progress we’ve made in getting people to stop smoking over the past 55 years, that progress hasn’t been experienced by everyone equally,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “These flavor standards would reduce cigarette and cigar initiation and use, reduce health disparities, and promote health equity by addressing a significant and disparate source of harm. Taken together, these policies will help save lives and improve the public health of our country as we confront the leading cause of preventable disease and death.”
Featured Partner: BRITE Connections
Expressions of Gender: Creating Safe Spaces for Youth
BRITE (Building Resilience & Inclusion Through Engagement) engages and educates Ventura County’s youth on prevention and wellness topics. BRITE Connections, a free monthly livestream series open to youth ages 14+, brings together youth and adult experts in discussion on important issues. Expressions of Gender was the first BRITE Connections livestream event of 2021 and was held on January 28th. The event featured a performance of youth poetry and music titled “Stereotypes” and an expert panel of caring adults discussing gender expression and LGBTQ+ equity in schools within a Q&A format.
The event raised awareness about the negative effects on youth who feel excluded by and unable to express their gender identity due to the traditional binary views of gender roles and stereotypes that exist at home and at school. Youth that identify within this group are at an increased risk for many negative behavioral health outcomes including depression, suicide, and drug use. The event focused discussion on ways that teachers and parents can help support youth within this group.
BRITE Connections - Expressions of Gender livestream event
Exploring Racism as a Social Determinant of Health
BRITE (Building Resilience & Inclusion Through Engagement), a long-time contract provider with Substance Use Services – Prevention, is proud to share one of their projects, PhotoVoice Oxnard. Over the past year, BRITE has been working on this project which explores racism as a social determinant of health.
PhotoVoice is a visual research method that uses photography to capture issues of concern as a means for communication and stimulating social change. Through PhotoVoice, teens can become more engaged in their community and develop an ability to advocate for the changes that they want to see.
"Our experience living in our community allows us to provide evidence that shapes policy on gender, racial equity, behavioral health, and overall wellness. One powerful role we have as community members is sharing our stories on how our social environment affects our health and well-being."
Participants spoke to City Council members about their issues of concerns and their suggestions for change.