Smokers, you can expect your favorite menthol cigarettes to be possibly off the shelves in the next year or so, if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has anything to say about it.
A push for product standards announced Thursday by the FDA would ban menthol in cigarettes and in cigars. Comsutible tobbaco products, as in cigarettes, are a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the FDA.
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a news release, “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. These actions represent powerful, science-based approaches that will have an extraordinary public health impact.”
FDA said it is taking urgent action to reduce tobacco addiction and curb deaths, stating there is strong evidence that a menthol ban will help people quit. Studies show that menthol increases the appeal of tobacco and facilitates progression to regular smoking, particularly among youth and young adults.
One study indicates that banning menthol cigarettes in the U.S. would lead an additional 923,000 smokers to quit.
If implemented, the FDA’s enforcement of any ban on menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars will only address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers. The FDA cannot and will not enforce against individual consumer possession or use of menthol cigarettes or any tobacco product. The FDA will work to make sure that any unlawful tobacco products do not make their way onto the market.
The complete news release is found on the FDA website.