The Biden government intends to ban menthol cigarettes. This policy move may cause more than one-third of the cigarettes sold in the US to be removed from the shelves.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the proposal on Thursday (29th). The reason is that the agency found in 2013 that menthol cigarettes are more difficult to quit than regular cigarettes and may pose a greater health risk. The agency also found that menthol smoke may encourage young people to start smoking because the menthol’s cooling ingredients mask the irritation of cigarette smoke.
The FDA needs to respond to citizens’ requests to ban menthol cigarettes in court before Thursday, indicating whether the agency intends to implement this policy. The nationwide menthol ban will take several years to enforce, and industry leaders have indicated that they may fight the ban in court.
Altria and Reynolds Americas, subsidiaries of British American Tobacco, said they would evaluate the proposal. At the same time, Empire’s US business, the ITG brand, said this was disappointing, but not surprising.
A spokesperson for Marlboro manufacturer Altria said: “Our goal is the same, which is to transfer adult smokers from cigarettes to alternatives that may be less harmful, but the ban will not work. The spokesperson said: “Creating menthol as a criminal offense, Will cause unexpected and serious consequences. “
In addition to banning menthol cigarettes, the FDA said the agency will also seek to ban all flavors of machine-made cigars and cigarillos, which are very popular among children and teenagers. To implement this ban, the FDA first needs to publish a proposed rule.
After that, the agency may need to review tens of thousands of comments submitted by manufacturers, consumers, health experts, and others before publishing the final rules.