Letter: Menthol ban a long-overdue step in right direction

To the Editor:

Ending menthol flavoring in cigarettes and all flavors in cigars is a long-overdue step forward in reducing youth tobacco initiation, helping adults quit, reducing tobacco-related cancer and combating Big Tobacco’s targeting of Black communities, who consistently report the highest prevalence of menthol cigarette use.

While the Federal Drug Administration’s announcement is an important step forward, it will take quite some time to implement the rules process.

Additionally, any prohibition of menthol flavoring in cigarettes that results from the FDA’s announcement will set a floor, not a ceiling. It’s critical we don’t stop now and that Indiana lawmakers do what we know is best to protect our communities from Big Tobacco’s deadly products.

Indiana lawmakers recently considered increasing the state cigarette tax, which is proven to reduce cigarette use. The FDA’s recent action is no reason to hit pause on this lifesaving campaign. We can save more lives and eliminate more health disparities by taking this action sooner rather than later. The health of all our kids and communities will benefit from Indiana increasing taxes on tobacco products.

Shalini Subramanyam