FDA is prepping its biggest cigarette crackdown since the ’60s

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The FDA’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes follows a larger public health effort to prevent tobacco-related deaths.

Last week the US Food and Drug Administration announced its intention to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavors in cigars.

“The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the FDA’s April 28 statement. “Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step to advance health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities.”

Menthol is used in cigarettes as a characterizing flavor (that is, readily detectable) with a subtle minty taste, and has a cooling effect that manufacturers say soothes the throat from irritating smoke. By eliminating this chemical compound and more palatable flavor, the agency hopes to make smoking less attractive to young people and encourage current smokers to consume fewer cigarettes or quit entirely.

This falls in line with a larger crackdown on various types of cigarettes: The FDA recently expanded its authority to cover synthetic nicotine in electronic cigarettes, forcing manufacturers to comply with the same standards as other products that contain tobacco-based nicotine.

The menthol ban in particular would represent one of the biggest FDA shake ups on cigarettes since the 1960s.

Read full article here.

Kate Baggalet – Popular Science – 2022-05-09.

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