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FDA to Prohibit Menthol-Flavored Cigarettes

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The US Food and Drug Administration is intensifying its efforts against the tobacco industry and related industries like vaping by prohibiting flavored tobacco products. The appealing flavors of tobacco products mask their harshness and odor, potentially making items like cigarettes, cigars, and vaping products more enticing to young individuals. Preventing teenagers from smoking is already challenging, and the presence of flavors like gummy bear can further complicate this task.

For over a decade, flavored cigarettes have been prohibited, except for one exception, which is now also facing a ban.

The FDA has declared its intention to outlaw all menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars. If this prohibition comes into force, the only legally available cigarettes and cigars would be unflavored.

The FDA stated, “Menthol flavoring masks the unpleasant taste and harshness of tobacco, making it easier for individuals to initiate use. Menthol in tobacco products can increase addiction and hamper cessation efforts by intensifying the impact of nicotine.”

While individual possession of menthol cigarettes will not be prohibited or regulated, the focus of this initiative is on banning manufacturing, distribution, and wholesale activities. The FDA plans to implement measures to prevent menthol cigarettes from being available on the market.

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock emphasized, “Banning menthol – the final permissible flavor in cigarettes and prohibiting all flavors in cigars – will lead to saving lives, particularly among groups disproportionately affected by these harmful products. These actions are aimed at reducing youth initiation, enhancing smoking cessation rates, and addressing health inequities experienced by minority populations, low-income communities, and LGBTQ+ individuals, who are more likely to use these tobacco products.”

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