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Attorneys General Urge FDA to Ban Sale of Menthol Cigarettes

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The attorneys general of 24 states are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes, CSPnet.com reports.

In a letter to the FDA, the attorneys general said “there are numerous law enforcement tools that can be used to combat production or importation of unlawful tobacco products. Moreover, the quantity of menthol cigarettes that could be made available on the black market would be far less than the quantity that will be available if menthol remains legal. Therefore, a ban on menthol would dramatically decrease public access to menthol cigarettes.”

“Menthol cigarettes are attractive to youth and have been marketed in ways that promote youth smoking. We hope the FDA will ban them completely,” Vermont Attorney General Sorrell said in a news release. Menthol cigarettes are the only flavored cigarettes currently legal for sale in the United States. The FDA is seeking public comment before it makes a decision about what action to take regarding menthol cigarettes.

The attorneys general represent the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

In July, the FDA issued a report that stated menthol-flavored cigarettes raise critical public health questions, and likely pose a greater risk to the health of smokers than non-menthol cigarettes. The agency said it is considering taking action that would result in restricted sales of menthol cigarettes. While the FDA said current research does not indicate menthol cigarettes increase the risk of smoking-related disease compared with regular cigarettes, it noted “adequate data suggest that menthol use is likely associated with increased smoking initiation by youth and young adults. Further, the data indicate that menthol in cigarettes is likely associated with greater addiction. Menthol smokers show greater signs of nicotine dependence and are less likely to successfully quit smoking.”

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