US: Menthol cigarettes likely pose health risk

July 23, 2013 by Michael Felberbaum

(AP)—A Food and Drug Administration 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-.

The FDA evaluation concluded that there is little evidence to suggest that 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 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.

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.

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.

Explore further: FDA allows two new cigarettes to hit market

Related Stories

FDA allows two new cigarettes to hit market

June 25, 2013
(HealthDay)—Using its newfound authority to regulate tobacco, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has for the first time allowed two new cigarette brands to hit the market.

Health groups protest new Camel magazine ads

May 30, 2013
The American Heart Association, American Lung Association and several other health groups are asking at least two state attorneys to investigate a new Camel cigarette ad campaign.

Menthol's soothing effects may lead to addiction and illness in young smokers

September 13, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A research team from Yale and the University of Connecticut has found that the cooling effect of menthol may actually cause people to smoke more and become addicted to cigarettes because it reduces the ...

African Americans and the general public support banning menthol in cigarettes

May 12, 2011
According to a new study released online today, a majority of Americans, including most African Americans, stand together in support of banning menthol in cigarettes just as other cigarette flavorings have now been banned ...

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.