NEW YORK (PIX11) – The Food and Drug Administration has finally said that menthol cigarettes are likely much worse for you than standard ones — a preliminary report that may lead to tighter regulations.
On Tuesday the FDA released findings from a 153-page “preliminary scientific evaluation” laying out the real danger behind menthols: it’s easier to start smoking them, and harder to quit. As far as toxicity, they are about the same, according to the report.
The FDA says it is leaving the matter of regulation open, and is asking for public input over the next two months. Menthol cigarettes have long been a subject of controversy, mainly because they are largely favored by African Americans and teenagers. They make up roughly 25% of total cigarette sales, but studies show 80% of black smokers and 50% of young smokers prefer them.
The findings come after a 2009 congressional decision allowing the FDA to ban candy-, fruit- and spice-flavored cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes were exempted from that ruling, and the FDA was charged with determining what health risks they represented.
After a 2010 FDA advisory panel did indeed find that they were more harmful than regular cigarettes, tobacco giant Philip Morris USA released a contradiction scientific review finding that menthol restrictions were “neither necessary or justified.”