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FDA moves toward ban on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars

Apr 29, 2021, 8:18 AM | Updated: 10:53 am
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, a man smokes a cigarette on Main Street in Westminster, Ma...
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, a man smokes a cigarette on Main Street in Westminster, Mass. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to sign a law on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, banning sales of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola), File
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

WASHINGTON — The US Food and Drug Administration announced it will work towards a ban on menthol tobacco cigarettes, as well as all flavored cigars.

“Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said Thursday.

Targeting the ban for those who use menthol tobacco products 

Specifically, the FDA noted a ban would minimize the usage of such products among youth and young adults, along with other communities more susceptible to smoke tobacco. Additionally, studies indicate menthol enhances the effects of nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco. 

“With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” Woodcock continued.

The FDA cited one study that suggests within 13 to 17 months of prohibiting menthol tobacco products, around 923,000 smokers would kick the habit, including 230,000 Black Americans.

Another study published in July 2011 indicates a ban on menthol cigarettes would spare approximately 633,000 lives, including around 237,000 Black American lives. 

The FDA said they have strong evidence that a ban on menthol will help people quit smoking, and they hope that it will launch the country on a path to ending tobacco-related disease and death in the country.

The agency said they plan on finalizing their proposals by next year. 

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FDA moves toward ban on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars