FDA proposes ban on menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars: 5 things to know

The FDA on April 28 proposed a ban on the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes, saying it could significantly reduce disease and death caused by tobacco products by increasing the number of smokers who quit and reducing youth experimentation and addiction.

Here are five things to know:

  1. The proposed rules build on the work of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which prohibited all cigarette flavors other than tobacco and menthol, in 2009. The proposed rules are also a part of Cancer Moonshot, a program President Joe Biden revived in February to reduce cancer deaths by 50 percent over the next 25 years and improve the experience of living with and surviving cancer.

  2. The group most affected by the proposed ban would be Black smokers. Nearly 85 percent of Black smokers use menthol cigarettes, compared with 29 percent of white smokers, according to The New York Times.

  3. The proposed rules also ban the sale of flavored cigars, as flavors such as strawberry, grape, cocoa and fruit punch make cigars easier to use and more appealing to young people, the FDA said.

  4. In its announcement, the FDA said it "cannot and will not" enforce these rules against individual consumers for the possession or use of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars.

  5. Beginning May 4, the public can provide feedback on the proposed rules for the FDA to review. The agency will also conduct public listening sessions on June 13 and 15. 

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