The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the comment periods for its proposed bans of flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes from 60 days to 90 days. The comment period was supposed to last from May 4 to July 5, 2022, it will now end on Aug. 2, 2022.
FDA explained its decision in a short statement:
FDA is extending the comment period to a total of 90 days following requests from the public. FDA also received requests to not extend the comment period from public health organizations. However, FDA believes that a 90-day comment period is appropriate as it allows adequate additional time for people to fully consider the proposed rules, including specific requests for comments, and develop and submit comments without significantly lengthening the rulemaking proceedings.
In May, FDA announced proposed rules named “Tobacco Product Standard for Characterizing Flavors in Cigars” and “Tobacco Product Standard for Menthol in Cigarettes.” The plans—technically, these are two separate initiatives—are relatively straightforward:
- FDA will ban the sale of menthol cigarettes
- FDA will ban the sale of all flavored cigars, including large flavored cigars like ACID and Java
- Menthol e-cigarettes will still be allowed
They would take effect one year after FDA issues a final rule, which the agency cannot do for some time. As part of the proposed rule process, FDA must allow for comments on its plans which can be provided by any individual or organization. These comments can be in support or opposition of the proposed rules. In addition, commenters could also ask FDA questions about the proposed rules.
FDA will then have to formulate replies to those comments, a process that will likely take at least one year before it can then unveil a final rule, meaning it’s highly unlikely any bans would start before 2024.
In addition to the comment periods and other lobbying efforts, both rules are expected to be challenged in court.
For more information about the proposed bans, click here.