Catholic University Law Review


Explaining why the additive menthol in tobacco products creates major public health risks, this article advocates for restricting the addition of menthol in cigarettes as a way to reduce smoking-related disease and death. Author Michael Freiberg describes how the decision to regulate menthol in tobacco products, on a federal level, was historically delegated by Congress to the discretion of the U.S. FDA, outlines the U.S. FDA’s subsequent failure to regulate menthol, and surveys state and local government efforts to regulate menthol in response to the FDA’s inaction. The article proposes additional actions that these state and local governments could take to regulate menthol and analyzes which options are most likely to quickly and sufficiently address the public health problem of menthol tobacco additives. Finally, the article notes the three most effective options: prohibiting or restricting the sale of all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes, raising the age to purchase menthol tobacco products, or requiring tobacco manufacturers to disclose the amount spent on marketing menthol tobacco products.