TOPLINE The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it would attempt to ban menthol cigarettes nationwide, renewing a proposal that has long been pushed for by anti-tobacco groups and civil rights advocates.
The announcement marked the launch of a federal rule-making process that could take years and face challenges from the tobacco industry.
For decades, the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed menthol cigarettes to Black communities.
Nearly 85% of Black smokers smoke menthol cigarettes, according to the FDA.
“For far too long, certain populations, including African Americans, have been targeted, and disproportionately impacted by tobacco use,” Mitch Zeller, the director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, said in a statement. “Despite the tremendous progress we’ve made in getting people to stop smoking over the past 55 years, that progress hasn’t been experienced by everyone equally.”
A court had ordered the FDA to respond by Thursday to a 2013 lawsuit that called for a ban on menthol cigarettes. The move would also prohibit flavors in mass-produced cigars and cigarillos.
By Gina Heeb, Forbes Staff
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