Why FDA’s move to ban menthol flavoring is long overdue

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will move to ban menthol flavoring in cigarettes and flavoring of all kinds in cigars. The long-overdue action follows a lawsuit filed last year by the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, Action on Smoking and Health, AMA and National Medical Association.

The FDA’s lifesaving action “is a major step toward preventing a new generation from becoming tobacco users,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD. “For too long, tobacco companies have been enabled to promote menthol cigarettes to the Black community, preying particularly on Black youth.

“We urge the FDA to move swiftly to implement the ban and remove these harmful products from the market without further delay,” she said. “We will continue to support policies and initiatives that keep tobacco products out of the hands of our nation’s youth to protect their health and well-being.”

My latest for the AMA. The whole shebang.

Vaccine credentials: How to make sure they’re done right

The AMA is calling on the federal government to take a strong role in establishing, publicizing and enforcing guidelines that all digital vaccine credential services (DVCS)—aka “vaccine passports”—must follow.

But first, “the use of DCVS should not outpace vaccine availability,” the AMA’s executive vice president and CEO, James L. Madara, MD, wrote in a letter to National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Micky Tripathi, PhD, MPP.

“Until the time that all Americans are easily able to access vaccines and trusted DVCS, we must guard against programs that appear to confer special social privilege based on one’s COVID-19 vaccination status,” Dr. Madara wrote. “For DVCS to be successful, vaccines must be universally accessible and the federal government must create strong guardrails around DVCS’ use of personal data.”

My latest for the AMA. The whole shebang.