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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heard from another interested party in the menthol ban debate. NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, sent a letter to the FDA on Wednesday raising concerns "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, published last month in the Federal Register.
NACS focused its reply on a question that sought to determine whether a 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," NACS’ letter said, pointing to Canada's black market for contraband cigarettes.
The association added 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," NACS stated.
In addition, the association raised concerns about the economic impact of a menthol ban and an increase in black market cigarettes.
"There is a very real fear that banning menthol in cigarettes will worsen today's unregulated and unhealthy illicit market," NACS concluded.