Panel Advises FDA to Reconsider Menthol Cigarettes
An advisory panel has advised the F.D.A. on the effects of menthol cigarettes. The panel found a lot of scientific evidence which proved that menthol cigarettes caused more harm compared to regular cigarettes. This could trigger the F.D.A. to consider even banning them.
The panel found that menthol cigarettes were more attractive to African-Americans and youth. It concluded that removing menthol cigarettes would boost public health. The F.D.A is expected to follow up and perform its own independent research, before finalizing a policy.
Not surprisingly, the tobacco lobby had tried to derail the panel’s study by alleging that a few of the members had ulterior motives in working against tobacco firms. Menthol cigarettes garner about 27% of the total $80 billion cigarette revenue in the U.S. About 19 million people are addicted to menthol cigarettes, which is favored by 80% of African-American smokers.
Industry analysts expressed skepticism about whether the F.D.A. will actually ban menthol. Such a ban will only force menthol smokers to buy from underground markets, which will cost losses of billions in taxes. Cigarettes taxes garner around $43 billion annually for the federal and state governments.