F.D.A. Moves to Ban Sales of Menthol Cigarettes
Public health experts say the proposal could save hundreds of thousands of lives
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday announced a plan to ban sales of menthol-flavored cigarettes in the United States, a measure many public health experts hailed as the government’s most meaningful action in more than a decade of tobacco control efforts.
The proposed ban is expected to have the deepest impact on Black smokers, nearly 85 percent of whom use menthol cigarettes, compared with a rate of 29 percent among white smokers, according to a government survey. If effective in reducing smoking, the ban could significantly diminish the burden of chronic disease and limit the number of lives cut short by one of the most hazardous legal products available.
The proposed ban “would, among other things, improve the health and reduce the mortality risk of current smokers of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars by substantially decreasing their consumption and increasing the likelihood of cessation,” the F.D.A. commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, told a Senate committee Thursday.
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