Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement in support of the Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars:

“Flavored tobacco products, especially small flavored cigars, are heavily marketed to young people and are frequently the entry point to a lifelong nicotine addiction. And menthol-flavored tobacco products are clearly targeted toward Black communities – 85 percent of Black smokers smoke menthols compared to 29 percent of White smokers.

“The marketing of these deadly tobacco products toward specific, high-risk communities with the goal of addicting as many people as possible is unacceptable and must end.

“For years I have supported a ban on all flavored tobacco products. These products disproportionately affect young people and communities of color and they lead to terrible long-term health consequences.

“I look forward to the Biden administration implementing this ban and stand ready to help in any way I can.” 

Background: 

  • The government funding bill that was enacted in March included a Feinstein-supported provision granting the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate synthetic nicotine.
    • This was a key step to strengthen regulations over tobacco products and combat the dangerous youth vaping crisis. The FDA previously lacked authority to regulate synthetic nicotine products such as oral nicotine pouches and flavored e-cigarettes because synthetic nicotine falls outside the agency’s statutory definition of “tobacco product.” 
  • The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, a bill authored by Senators Feinstein and John Cornyn, was signed into law in 2020.
    • The law mandates that e-cigarettes receive the same strong safeguards already in place for traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, including mandatory age verification by online e-cigarette sellers before shipment, properly labeled packages showing they contain e-cigarettes and a second round of age verification upon delivery, including an adult’s signature.
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