The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will move to issue a nationwide ban on menthol cigarettes and some other tobacco products.
- The ruling did not mention menthol-flavored e-cigarettes or vape juices, so it’s possible people will still get those options.
- The ban wouldn’t happen for years, though, according to The Washington Post. Tobacco companies will try to challenge the ruling in court, according to Axios.
What are menthol cigarettes?
According to the FDA, menthol cigarettes are the last allowable flavor of cigarettes available on the market.
- “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,” according to the FDA.
Menthol cigarettes are considered more addictive, too.
- “Menthol masks the harshness of the cigarette, which makes smoking them more pleasurable and an easy choice for beginners,” according to The Swaddle. “In addition, they are also easier to get addicted to because their cooling effect decreases the cough reflex, and can soothe the throat dryness that many smokers usually experience.”
Why is the FDA banning menthol cigarettes?
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement the decision to ban these products will help a number of communities.
- “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,” Woodcock said in a statement.
Per The Washington Post, a ban on menthol cigarettes has been a goal for Black health advocates and some anti-tobacco groups. According to these groups, African Africans have been harmed heavily by menthol cigarettes.
And, you know, cigarettes are harmful for people in general.
- “Despite sharp declines in smoking in recent years, tobacco use remains a leading cause of illness and death in the United States and worldwide, especially among people of color,” according to The Washington Post.