FDA Panel Suggests Ban on Menthol Cigarettes

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BY: LINDSEY WOLF You're watching multisource health video news analysis from Newsy. An FDA panel says a ...
BY: LINDSEY WOLF You're watching multisource health video news analysis from Newsy. An FDA panel says a ban on menthol cigarettes would be beneficial to public health. A June 2009 act gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco laws. The act banned all flavored cigarettes - including clove and strawberry - but decided to leave the fate of menthols in the hands of nine voting members on an advisory panel. (video: C-SPAN) And concern over minty cigarettes isn’t new. About a year ago - Dr. Manny Alvarez explained the concerns on Fox Business. “Ultimately the bad thing about menthol is that the cooling effect of the menthol really takes away a couple of the clinical issues when it comes to smoking. It sort of decreases your coughing reflex and also it makes the person inhale deeper. So in theory, you could be doing more damage when you smoke these types of cigarette. So I think this is a good thing to look at.” The panel is not only concerned about the cool flavor attracting teenagers, but also African Americans - who smoke menthols more than other demographics. The Washington Post says this could be because brands like Kool and Newport have been targeting them in their advertising for years. (video: The Wall Street Journal) But Tobacco companies are firing back. They have acknowledged that all cigarettes are hazardous, but have presented the FDA with reports saying... “There's no scientific basis for regulating menthols differently … Menthol cigarettes don't make it easier for people to start smoking or harder for them to quit or raise their risk of disease.” But menthol smokers make up 27 percent of the cigarette market. The president of American Wholesale Marketers Association told the advisory committee - if menthol cigarettes are banned, smokers will find a way around the system. “Common sense tells us that a decision that lacks credibility will be disregarded by the public and exploited by black market operators. The end result will adversely affect our members' livelihoods, cost jobs, and lead to sales of unregulated cigarettes to underage youths.” But according to The New York Times, health groups say this could be the beginning of a long line of tobacco reforms. “The menthol issue poses the first real test of the advisory committee and F.D.A. toughness against cigarettes. The recommendation may signal a willingness to crack down on nicotine...” The FDA will make their decision on whether or not to ban menthols by March 23. If the ban passes, members say it could take years for it to go fully into effect. Follow Newsy on Twitter Newsy_Videos Get more health video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy.
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