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US Wants to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Here’s Why

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently proposed new rules to impose a ban on menthol and all flavoured cigarettes. The agency has invited public comments on the move and will then take a final decision.

Cigarettes are infused with a range of flavours such as orange, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla. But, menthol remains the popular choice. As per the FDA, it was found that menthol cigarettes have a high usage rate among African Americans, especially youth and young adults. According to the FDA, there were more than 18.5 million menthol cigarette smokers in the United States aged 12 and up in 2019.

But, why are menthol cigarettes so popular?

Menthol is that compound which gives that refreshing and cool flavour to anything it is added to, including cigarettes. It is sourced naturally from peppermint and other plants and can be produced in labs as well.

When infused into cigarettes, menthol gives that satisfactory cooling sensation to the smoker. Besides this, menthol also makes smoking tobacco quite smooth and eases the harshness in the throat. And because of this, menthol became the flavour of choice, especially among new smokers and young people.

Why the ban?

Considering that menthol makes smoking smoother and gives a minty taste, it makes it difficult for people to quit smoking. Menthol cigarette smokers often have a stronger addiction to smoking than those who smoke other cigarettes. Menthol tends to interact with nicotine in the brain and increases its addictiveness. And, the combination of the smoothness, pleasing flavour, and enhanced addiction increases the likelihood that most people who begin smoking menthol cigarettes will continue to do so.

Would the ban be effective?

The FDA announcement said that removing menthol from cigarettes will help significantly reduce the number of deaths and diseases caused by combusted tobacco products. The move is aimed at reducing smoking addiction in youth and increasing the number of smokers that quit. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, “The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit.”

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