Update: The FDA's Proposed Menthol Cigarette and Flavored Cigar Bans

On April 28, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published two new proposed regulations. One of the proposed regulations would prohibit menthol as a flavor in cigarettes, in roll-your-own cigarette tobacco and in heated tobacco products. The second regulation would prohibit any flavors in cigars.

As a part of the federal regulatory process, federal law requires that an agency must request comments from the public about proposed regulations. The FDA received more than 175,000 comments on the menthol cigarette ban and almost 72,000 on the flavored cigar ban by the Aug. 2, 2022 submission deadline.

In response to this significant number of comments, the FDA issued an announcement that it “will need ample time to comprehensively review and analyze all of the comments.” Since the FDA announced it will need “ample” time to read all of the comments, it could take 9 to 12 months or possibly longer for the agency to read through the comments on the menthol ban and flavored cigar ban. Then, the FDA will decide whether to draft any changes to the proposed regulations and, if it does so, that may take several months.