Smoking cigarettes is one of the biggest vices in the world, regularly causing sickness and even death to many across the globe who find the effects of menthol to be “soothing.”
The FDA is looking to eliminate a new generation of menthol addicts though by banning the organic compound from being added to both cigarettes and cigars in the near future.
As reported by the Associated Press, the U.S. government released a plan today (April 28) to officially ban menthol cigarettes and cigars, with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra explaining in a statement, “The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit.” The FDA believes this move will prevent a whopping 300,000 and 650,000 smoking deaths over 40 years.
More on this groundbreaking, potentially life-saving initiative below, via AP:
“Menthol accounts for more than a third of cigarettes sold in the U.S, and the mint flavor is favored by Black smokers and young people. Menthol’s cooling effect has been shown to mask the throat harshness of smoking, making it easier to start and harder to quit.
The FDA said it will also seek to ban menthol and dozens of other flavors like grape and strawberry from cigars, which are increasingly popular with young people, especially Black teens.
The agency’s proposals on both cigarettes and cigars are only initial drafts and are unlikely to be finalized before next year. Companies would then have one additional year to phase out their products. Tobacco industry lawsuits could delay the prohibition for several more years, according to experts. For now, FDA leaders said they will take comments for two months and then proceed ‘as expeditiously as possible.’”
Not everyone is down with the ban, especially menthol cigarette retailers like Altria who said in a statement, “Taking these products out of the legal marketplace will push them into unregulated, criminal markets.” The FDA has made multiple attempts to do this in the past, but were thwarted by pushback from Big Tobacco and those with political interest in menthol manufacturing.
The issue of menthol addiction has proven to be extra dire for us in the Black community, with the Biden Administration highlighting that fact last April as a reason to ban it within the year. Stats show that menthols are used by 85% of Black smokers, leading to lower quit rates and higher death rates for our brothers and sisters who smoke. As Phillip Gardiner of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council said in a recent statement, “Menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars are the main vectors of those diseases in the Black and brown communities, and have been for a long time.”
While we believe everyone out there should be free to choose their own vices in life, we’ll always push for healthy living. With that said, it doesn’t look like menthol, or cigarettes in general, is the route to go in the foreseeable future. Let us know your thoughts!
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Menthol Ban In Cigarettes & Cigars To Be Approved By The FDA was originally published on blackamericaweb.com