ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comments on its recently released proposed rules to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. NACS will be filing comments on behalf of the industry, but the FDA also needs to hear from individual retailers.
The menthol market accounts for roughly 34% of cigarette sales, and flavored cigars account for 51% of cigar sales. Given the existing market and current user base, NACS believes a ban on these products will push sales to the illicit market, which undermines the efforts of responsible retailers and poses a greater risk to communities. The rulemaking process includes a comment period in which the agency will consider input from the public before finalizing the rule.
It’s imperative that the FDA hears from convenience retailers on these proposed bans. NACS cannot replicate the personal testimony convenience retailers can provide with their comment letters. The convenience industry invests millions in compliance efforts to ensure that legal, regulated tobacco products do not get into the hands of minors. These protections and investments will be lost if the proposed bans go into effect.
NACS has made it easy for retailers to file personalized comments. Retailers can download a pre-drafted letter that can be modified to describe their business and their compliance efforts. These letters will be even more effective if retailers write their own thoughts based on the points in the template. The more personalized the comments the FDA receives, the better.
Retailers, save a copy of your letter and send it back to Margaret Hardin, grassroots manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org to file on your behalf.
Your comment letter will help the FDA better understand the effects these bans would have on your business and why the FDA should not move forward with their proposed rules.
The comment period will close on July 5. The agency will convene public listening sessions on June 13 and 15 on the proposals.