FDA pushes for nationwide menthol ban
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing a ban on menthol cigarettes. Paul Billings with the American Lung Association (ALA) says for decades, this kind of cigarette has been a key pathway for people becoming addicted to tobacco products.
Billings says it has to do with the minty and sweet taste that disguises the harmful chemicals wrapped inside. He adds menthol cigarettes have been targeted at the Black community.
“There is good data that shows that hundred of thousands of people will quit smoking if menthol cigarettes are removed from the market, and thousands of lives, hundreds of thousands of lives, will be saved if we can stop the sale of menthol cigarettes,” Billings said.
Billings says the ALA has worked to curb tobacco use by pushing for price increases, taxes and educational programs. He adds this is the most aggressive step taken to address the tobacco epidemic in more than a generation.
Although experts predict the product will be sold in the black market if the ban happens, they say many will quit the habit.
“We know that the overwhelming majority of people who smoke want to quit. We know that the overwhelming majority of people are law-abiding, and we know that people will not want to break the law,” Billings said.
Billings says the ALA wants to work to make sure the FDA completes those regulations and takes necessary steps for the ban.
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