FDA to seek a ban on menthol cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to make a landmark move against the tobacco industry this week by seeking a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes.

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The decision is part of the agency’s aggressive campaign to curb nicotine addiction in both minors and African-Americans.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb is poised to announce a ban on most flavored e-cigarettes at tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country this week as well as release a proposed ban on certain menthol cigarette products.

While the agency would not comment on its plans, officials told The New York Times the proposal to ban menthol cigarettes will have to go through the FDA’s regulatory maze first and it could take several years before the restriction takes off, especially if major tobacco companies have their way.

None of the major tobacco companies would immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment on the reports of an upcoming ban, but e-cigarette giant Juul said last month that it “wants to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people.”

Preliminary government data shows e-cigarette sales have risen 77 percent among high schoolers and 50 percent among middle schoolers in 2018, while menthol cigarette products have been heavily marketed toward African–Americans.

Canada has already imposed a ban on menthol cigarettes and the European Union has a ban set to go into effect in 2020.

Earlier this year, San Francisco passed a prohibition against the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes.