FDA Panel Delays Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration has decided against recommending a ban on menthol cigarettes, the preferred cigarette of black smokers, in order to study the issue more.
Studies show 19 million Americans smoke menthols, with black smokers choosing them four times more than white smokers.
No matter the age, sex, education level, region or marital status, African Americans are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than any other racial group. More than half of all black smokers smoke Newports, the top-selling menthol cigarette in the United States.
Drafts from the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee’s report state that menthol makes cigarettes more addictive, and “the removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States.”
The committee will first restrict marketing towards younger consumers before pursuing a ban. The FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee believes that an outright ban of menthol would only increase smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes.
The high level of menthol cigarette smoking among African Americans stems from targeted marketing by cigarette companies. Drafts from the Advisory Committee’s report state that menthol cigarettes are excessively marketed toward younger and black smokers.
Have you or someone you know smoked menthol cigarettes?