Durbin Statement On FDA Authorizing First Menthol Flavored E-Cigarette Products

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement expressing his disappointment after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the marketing of four menthol e-cigarette products in the United States through the premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) pathway. Today’s authorizations mark the first non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette products to be authorized by FDA.

“Flavors like menthol are used by Big Tobacco companies to mask the harsh taste of their dangerous products. FDA knows this from its own experience seeking to ban the production of menthol cigarettes to protect the public health. We’ve seen that children begin nicotine use with menthol. Today’s authorization of menthol-flavored vapes will create an opening for more children to become addicted to harmful products.”

Earlier this month, Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, held a Committee hearing entitled “Combatting the Youth Vaping Epidemic by Enhancing Enforcement Against Illegal E-Cigarettes.” The hearing underscored the alarming level of youth e-cigarette use, the role that flavors—such as menthol—play in youth use of tobacco products, and examined how federal agencies have failed to enforce laws designed to protect children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

Durbin has been a vocal leader in the fight against Big Tobacco, particularly since he lost his father to lung cancer when Durbin was 14. He went after Big Tobacco when he served in the House of Representatives and led the charge to ban smoking on airplanes, which eventually led to restaurants, office buildings, trains, and much more. Durbin has also led efforts to grant FDA jurisdiction over tobacco, raise tobacco taxes to prevent youth initiation, and enhance support for tobacco cessation tools.