FDA to propose ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes

In this photo illustration, packs of menthol cigarettes sits on a table, November 15, 2018 in New York City.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it will propose a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes in the United States, putting strain on future cigarette sales for manufacturers in the tobacco industry.

Menthol is the last allowable flavor for cigarettes, according to the FDA, and has been disproportionately been used by youth, people of color and low-income 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,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, in a press release.

Smoking tobacco products is the leading cause of preventable death in the country, the agency said. It plans to implement product standards to eliminate menthol in cigarettes within the next year, as well as eliminating all characterizing flavors, including menthol, in cigars.

This decision comes after years of deliberation from public health officials in order to help transition smokers to less harmful methods, such as non-combustible products, or quit smoking altogether.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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