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May 2, 2022

Around the nation: FDA proposes ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

Daily Briefing

    FDA on Thursday proposed two rules that would ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Maryland and Tennessee.

    • Maryland: FDA on Thursday proposed two rules that would ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars—a move many public health experts have hailed as the most aggressive measure in over a decade of federal tobacco control initiatives. According to FDA, menthol "makes it more difficult for people to quit smoking." A ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars would "reduce the mortality risk of current smokers of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars by substantially decreasing their consumption and increasing the likelihood of cessation," said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf. "[T]hese actions are appropriate for the protection of public health," Califf added. While tobacco companies claim that menthol cigarettes are "smoother" than other types of cigarettes, CDC argued that they "are not less harmful than other cigarettes and they are likely a greater risk to public health than non-menthol cigarettes." According to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, "[t]he proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit." He added, "Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step to advance health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities." (Jewett, New York Times, 4/28; Gonzalez, Axios, 4/28)
    • Maryland: CMS on Thursday issued a final rule outlining the standards that govern health insurers and the Health Insurance Marketplaces. The notice of benefit and payment parameters for 2023 issued new adequacy standards and review processes for qualified health plan networks and increased the threshold for essential community providers. In addition, CMS finalized new options for standardized plans, updates to the risk adjustment models and risk adjustment data verification methodology, and several other policies aimed at furthering health equity. (American Hospital Association, 4/28)
    • Tennessee: Quorum Health on Wednesday announced the retirement of CEO Dan Slipkovich, who is stepping down from his position "to focus on family commitments." Slipkovich was appointed CEO of the health system in June after serving as interim CEO since September 2020. He will remain with Quorum Health in an advisory capacity and as an equity partner. Stuart McLean, who has served in a variety of leadership positions within the health care industry over the past 25 years, was named interim CEO, effective May 2. (Ellison, Becker's Hospital Review, 4/28)

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