NACS responded to an FDA Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that addresses a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes.
WASHINGTON – NACS sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday expressing concern “about the adverse impact of overly restrictive federal regulations on menthol cigarettes, including a possible prohibition on manufacture or sale.”
The letter was sent in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) published last month in the Federal Register.
Specifically, NACS focused its reply on a question that sought to determine whether a menthol cigarette ban would lead to illicit trade in menthol cigarettes.
“Illicit cigarette markets are a significant problem today, and will worsen if menthol cigarettes are outlawed,” the letter said, pointing to Canada’s black market for contraband cigarettes.
Additionally, NACS said that there is “abundant evidence” that a global black market infrastructure exists to manufacture, distribute and sell counterfeit cigarettes. “The global manufacturing capability can quickly ramp up to meet the increased demand a ban on menthol would create.”
From an economic standpoint, the ban of menthol cigarettes and the consequent rise in a black market “will have severe adverse effects on small businesses and jobs,” NACS said. “The jobs of our employees and owners will be at risk as powerful criminal networks drive more sales underground.
“There is a very real fear that banning menthol in cigarettes will worsen today’s unregulated and unhealthy illicit market,” NACS concluded.