HHS Smoking Cessation Framework is… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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HHS Smoking Cessation Framework is Positive Step, But Administration Must Also Issue Final Rules Eliminating Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars

Statement of Yolonda C. Richardson, President and CEO, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 08, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The smoking cessation framework announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is a welcome step toward helping more smokers quit. This plan is a complement to, but not a substitute for, the FDA’s rules to eliminate menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. We urge the Administration to issue the final rules this month as it promised to do in December. We cannot afford any more delays in finalizing these long-overdue and lifesaving rules. Together with the cessation plan, these rules will have the greatest impact in driving down tobacco use and tobacco-related disparities.

The Administration is absolutely right that reducing smoking is critical to achieving the goals of the President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. As the Administration has repeatedly stated, smoking causes 30% of all cancer deaths in the U.S. and is “the biggest single driver of cancer deaths in this country.”

The cessation framework’s focus on addressing smoking and cessation-related disparities is particularly important. However, to fully address these disparities, we must also end the tobacco industry’s predatory marketing of menthol cigarettes to Black and other communities. Researchers estimate that prohibiting menthol cigarettes will save up to 654,000 lives within 40 years, including 255,000 Black lives, and it will quickly eliminate the disparity in lung cancer death rates between Black Americans and other racial groups.

We urge the Administration to move forward both in issuing the final rules to eliminate menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars and in expanding the availability and promotion of smoking cessation treatments. By doing so, it can advance the Cancer Moonshot, promote health equity and save lives.