FDA Cites Health Risks of Menthol Cigarettes But Stops Short of Ban
|Author: Jamey Rice (Written by Michael Felberbaum, AP)|
Date: Friday, July 26th, 2013
|Return to Archive|
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review concludes that menthol cigarettes likely pose a greater public health risk than regular cigarettes but does not make a recommendation on whether to limit or ban the minty smokes – one of the few growth sectors of the shrinking cigarette business.
The federal agency released the independent review on Tuesday and is seeking input from the health community, the tobacco industry and others on possible restrictions on the mint-flavored cigarettes.
The FDA evaluation concluded that there is little evidence to suggest that menthol cigarettes are more or less toxic or contribute to more disease risk to smokers than regular cigarettes. However, there is adequate data to suggest that menthol use is likely associated with increased smoking initiation by younger people and that menthol smokers have a harder time quitting, the review said.
There’s also evidence indicating that menthol’s cooling properties can reduce the harshness of cigarette smoke and that menthol cigarettes are marketed as a smoother alternative, the review said.
“Menthol cigarettes raise critical public health questions,” Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products, said in a conference call with reporters.
Zeller said there’s “no holdup” on the FDA proposing restrictions on menthol but that there are still “some important questions” that need to be answered. The agency is commissioning further research.
A 2011 FDA advisory panel report, which was mandated under the 2009 law giving the agency the authority to regulate tobacco, made many of the same findings, and said that removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health and highlighted greater use among minorities, teenagers and low-income people. Panels like the tobacco committee advise the FDA on scientific issues. The agency doesn’t have to follow its recommendations, but often does.
Meanwhile, a tobacco industry report to the FDA acknowledged that all cigarettes are hazardous but said there’s no scientific basis for regulating menthols differently. The industry also has raised concerns that restrictions on menthol would lead to a black market for the cigarettes.
Menthol cigarettes are one of the few growth areas in a shrinking cigarette market. The percentage of U.S. cigarette smokers using menthol brands grew from 33.9 percent in 2008 to 37.5 percent in 2011, according to a study by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, with more significant growth among younger smokers.
A menthol ban or other restriction on the flavored cigarettes would fall heavily on Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard Inc., whose Newport brand is the top-selling menthol cigarette in the U.S., with nearly 38 percent of the market. Lorillard, the country’s third-largest tobacco company, did not immediately comment on the FDA’s latest findings.
The move comes ahead of a Wednesday deadline for the U.S. to respond to the World Trade Organization’s findings last year that the FDA’s ban on manufacturing, importing, marketing and distributing candy-, fruit- and clove-flavored tobacco breaks trade rules because it exempts menthol cigarettes, most of which are made in the U.S.. The investigation was launched following a request from Indonesia, which claims more than 6 million of its people depend on the production of clove cigarettes – a staple of the country’s smoking culture.
- All Categories
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
WKU football takes on UAB at home on Saturday, October 4, 2014.
Thursday, October 2nd - Sunday, October 5th
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,