Health groups have opposed menthol cigarettes for many years. Now, after years of discussions, there are reports that a ban may actually be implemented in the near future.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the FDA is considering a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes after a citizen’s group filed a petition in federal court.
Menthol cigarettes have been the target of numerous campaigns by anti-smoking groups, both in the US and around the world. These groups claim that they encourage smoking, especially among younger people, as they mask the taste of tobacco smoke.
Additionally, these groups point to evidence that menthol cigarette smokers often struggle to quit more than people who smoke regular cigarettes.
Are they more harmful?
Although there’s evidence that smokers that prefer menthol cigarettes are more likely to develop smoking-related illnesses, the evidence is still unclear as there are other factors involved.
For example, smokers that purchase methol cigarettes tend to be younger. This means they often smoke for more years than someone that starts later in life.
Additionally, there are higher rates of menthol-cigarette smoking in poorer communities, and these people may have limited access to healthcare.
But, according to the American Cancer Society, it’s possible that menthol cigarettes are more harmful because they are “easier to smoke,” and smoke can be held in the lungs for longer.
The group says, “This helps to explain why people who smoke menthol cigarettes and get lung cancer often have their cancers located in certain parts of the lung. It also might be a reason why it is harder for people who smoke menthol cigarettes to quit.”
Tobacco companies will fight a ban
Although it’s still early days, tobacco companies have already said they would go to court to block a proposed ban. This means it could take years to implement.
If the FDA chooses to go ahead with a legal battle, it would need to publish its proposals first before giving the opportunity for stakeholders and citizens to comment.