Why does the FDA want to ban menthol cigarettes?

Ban on menthol cigarettes

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Packs of menthol cigarettes sit on a table in this photo illustration, November 15, 2018 in New York City.

The FDA has opened the public comment period for the agency proposed ban on menthol cigarettes. Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health Rafael Mesa studies data modeling in the fields of disease prevention and cancer risk. David Mendez, who studies smoking cessation and tobacco control policy, is an associate professor of health management and policy. These University of Michigan researchers found that over a 38-year period, African Americans suffered most of the harmful effects of menthol cigarettes. Now the researchers have developed a model to simulate the potential benefits of banning menthol, based on studies of population trends in tobacco use. As experts on the behavioral and health aspects of smoking, they explain the role of menthol in smoking-related illness and death.


1. What are menthol cigarettes?

Menthol is a chemical compound naturally derived from peppermint oil or synthetically made from thymol, a component of the herb thyme. When added to tobacco cigarettes, menthol creates a cooling sensation in the mouth and throat. Menthol cigarettes have enough of the compound added to give them their signature minty feel and flavor. Rather than tasting like burning tobacco, menthol cigarettes may resemble cough drops or strong breath mints.


2. Why are menthol cigarettes particularly harmful?

Menthol reduces the pungency of cigarette smoking and makes it more palatable to novice smokers. Most experimenters are teenagers and young adults, who are vulnerable to long-term effects Nicotine on still developing brains. In adolescents who smoke, approx 60% smoke mentholwith even higher rates among black youth. Menthol cigarettes are increasing the number of people who become regular smokers every year. Those who start with menthol often continue with it.

Our research shows that the harms of tobacco use persist, too. Not only does the menthol flavor offer youngsters a tastier introduction to smoking, it also seems to keep them smoking. People who smoke menthol cigarettes smoke longer over the course of their lives and do so less likely to quit. That means hundreds of thousands of additional premature deaths from lung cancer, emphysema, and diseases aggravated by smoking, such as heart disease. In our study, we estimated that menthol cigarettes were responsible 377,000 premature deaths among the US population over the past 40 years.


3. Why was there a backlash to the FDA’s proposed ban?

Some critics have raised concerns about possible unintended consequences of the proposed ban, particularly for African-American menthol smokers. One concern is that banning menthol cigarettes could result in black people being arrested for buying or smoking them. Another concern is that a ban could create an illicit market for the cigarettes, particularly in African American neighborhoods.

But the FDA ban applies to distributing the cigarettes, not buying, possessing, or smoking them. The agency has made it clear that it cannot and cannot will not enforce the ban on individual consumers of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars. and Canada’s experience of a similar ban indicates that an illicit market is unlikely to emerge.

Most importantly, any negative consequences would be outweighed by significant health benefits.


4. How Would Banning Menthol Cigarettes Help?

cigarette smoking prevalence declined drastically since the 1960s, thanks to tobacco control interventions such as cigarette taxes, smoke-free air laws, marketing restrictions and educational campaigns. However, the prevalence of smoking menthol cigarettes has remained relatively constant since 2000which highlights the need for measures specifically targeting menthol cigarettes.

We recently estimated that banning menthol cigarettes in the US would result in one 15% discount in the prevalence of menthol smoking and Prevent 650,000 premature deaths by 2060. It is estimated that increases in the black population would be particularly significant 255,000 premature deaths averted.

As part of a menthol cigarette ban, it is important that menthol cigarette smokers have help to quit smoking and not simply switch to non-menthol cigarettes.The conversation

By David MendezAssociate Professor of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan and Rafael MesaProfessor of Global Public Health, University of Michigan

This article is republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.

https://heavy.com/news/fda-menthol-cigarette-ban/ Why does the FDA want to ban menthol cigarettes?

Zack Zwiezen

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