NATIONAL (WCIA) — The FDA is considering a ban on menthol cigarettes. It is in response to a citizen petition from 8 years ago that called for a ban–and it is finally being addressed.
The FDA said nearly 20 million people across the U.S. are addicted to menthols. If the ban is put into place, it will not be immediately because there will have to be a rule-making process and may take some time to battle legal challenges from the tobacco industry.
The Public Health Law Center filed the Citizen Petition in 2013 and the FDA has been collecting evidence and data on menthol health effects ever since. Menthol flavoring make the cigarettes feel less harsh because it gives a cooling sensation to the throat when inhaling. The CDC said menthol cigarettes are just as dangerous as non-menthol cigarettes.
“What’s happening now is people are understanding this as a social justice issue,” said Whitney Greger, CUPHD health education coordinator. “Menthol cigarettes are used a lot by youth because they mask the throat irritation that traditional cigarettes cause. It’s also predatory marketing toward communities of color.”
The CDC said mint-flavored cigarettes tend to addict and kill more Black Americans than any other race. There are also studies that show it is harder to quit menthols than traditional cigarettes.