A leading U.S. health expert has said that calls for bans on flavored e-cigarettes are disingenuous in the mouths of those who don’t oppose the addition of menthol to tobacco cigarettes.
Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, last week challenged the position of a group of U.S. senators pushing for a ban on flavored electronic cigarettes.
While the senators said they were concerned about the potential for flavored products to addict young people to nicotine, they had supported an exemption for menthol from the tobacco cigarette flavoring ban, Siegel said. And they were taking no action to remove this exemption or to demand that the Food and Drug Administration ban the addition of menthol to cigarettes.
Later in the week, Siegel pointed to an opinion piece in The New York Times by the president of the American Lung Association, Harold Wimmer, who had argued that e-cigarettes were addicting young people and serving as a gateway to tobacco addiction. Based on that alleged “fact,” said Siegel, Wimmer had argued that e-cigarette flavorings should be banned.
Again, Siegel pointed out that the association had opposed an amendment that would have eliminated the menthol exemption in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
And, he said, the association was not calling also for a ban on flavors in cigarettes that attracted young people—menthol.
Siegel’s blog is at http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/american-lung-association-is-also.html.