Anti-smoking advocates eager to convince FDA to ban menthol cigarettes

Published on October 16th, 2009 12:29
menthol cigarettes

The FDA might have prohibited the cigarettes with exotic flavors like candy, chocolate, clove and fruit, however many people are not satisfied with that effort claiming that tobacco industry still has a loophole for attracting new consumers, in the majority of cases from teenagers.

That is mainly because the best-selling cigarette flavor, menthol, remains on the shelves available for everyone who wants to have a cigarette together with a blast of fresh menthol taste.

In conformity with the Tobacco Control Act passed by the US Congress in June, the FDA was authorized to prohibit all flavored cigarettes, with menthol becoming the only exception..

In addition, the act allowed the FDA to establish a special Advisory Committee that will deal with the tobacco products, their ingredients and such issues like the effect of menthol cigarettes on the health of smokers.

Despite national underage smoking rates have dropped, the percentage of those teenagers who prefer menthol cigarettes keeps going up - from 2000 to 2005 it rose by 18%, as Tobacco-Free Kids reported. Approximately 45 percent of underage smokers between the ages 12-17 prefer menthol smoke, the campaign said.

“Banning flavored cigarettes, but leaving the most popular from those flavors makes little sense,” admits manager of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Michelle Van Esch.

A research carried out in 2003 by RTI Research institute, showed that more than 50% of high school smokers preferred menthol cigarettes. John M. Parsley, the leader of that research says that he believes that menthol taste masks the real strength of cigarettes, as the reason why teenagers pick up smoking by initially trying menthol cigarettes.

Parsley as well suggested that underage menthol lovers are more probably to be hooked on nicotine than those adolescents who smoke ordinary-flavored cigarettes.

However, researches on whether it is more complicated to give up smoking for those who prefer menthol or non-menthol cigarettes have come up to mixed results.

In a survey of almost 4,000 students of Virginia middle and high schools, Virginia Commonwealth University scientists Jason Ledge and Jenna Schaumberg found that those who preferred menthol cigarettes smoked more cigarettes than those who lighted up non-menthol smokes.

In addition menthol cigarettes are mainly preferred by African-American smokers, since last year there were about 80% of black smokers who regularly purchased menthol cigarettes in comparison with 25% of white smokers.

Therefore, Ledge and Schaumberg stated that any introduced restriction should take into account particular issues of menthol’s impact of African-American smokers.

At the same time scientists mentioned that banning menthol cigarettes could result in booming sales of contraband sales of that type of cigarettes.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub. All rights reserved.


Related tags: flavored cigarettes | health | Food and Drug Administration | menthol cigarettes | smoke | flavor | menthol | smokers

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