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FDA to Ban Menthol-Flavored Cigarettes

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One of the major efforts that the US Food and Drug Administration has made against the tobacco industry and its modern contemporaries like the vaping industry is the banning of flavored tobacco products. Pleasant flavors and smells lessen the unpleasant scent of tobacco smoke, which in turn makes hazardous products like cigarettes, cigars, and vaping cartridges more appealing to younger folks. It’s hard enough as it is to dissuade teens from smoking; it only gets harder if every breath tastes like gummy bears. Thankfully, for over ten years now, flavored cigarettes have been banned with a single exception, which is about to go bye-bye as well.

The FDA announced today that they are officially moving to ban all menthol-flavored cigarettes from public consumption, along with any flavored cigars. If this ban goes into effect, the only remaining kind of cigarette or cigar one could legally purchase would be unflavored.

“Menthol masks unpleasant flavors and harshness of tobacco products, making them easier to start using. Tobacco products with menthol can also be more addictive and harder to quit by enhancing the effects of nicotine,” the FDA explains.

Individual consumer possession of menthol cigarettes would not be banned or regulated; this movement would only ban manufacturing, distributing, and wholesaling. Though, even if individuals aren’t banned from possessing menthol cigarettes, the FDA will still be undertaking efforts to keep them off the market.

“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 in a statement Thursday. “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.”

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