Flavors in Tobacco Products: What Are the Potential Risks and Benefits to Public Health?
When the Tobacco Control Act gave FDA authority to regulate tobacco products in 2009, it banned flavors such as strawberry, vanilla, and cinnamon from cigarettes to minimize the attractiveness of these products to kids. Although all “characterizing” flavors in cigarettes—excluding menthol and tobacco flavors—were prohibited in a regulation known as the “Special Rule for Cigarettes,” other flavored tobacco products—including hookah, smokeless tobacco, cigars, and e-cigarettes—remained available on the market.
Flavored noncombustible tobacco products, while shown to be alluring to youth, may also be a factor in helping some addicted adult smokers transition from cigarettes to potentially less harmful means of nicotine delivery. As FDA looks toward the future of tobacco regulation, placing nicotine and the issue of addiction at the center of its plan, the agency has issued anadvance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM)
to examine the role of flavors—including menthol—in use of all tobacco products.