Tobacco is banned in the US

USA want to ban menthol cigarettes

Washington - Menthol cigarettes are said to be banned in the United States. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that it would issue a guideline later this year. Menthol cigarettes are seen as an introduction to tobacco consumption, especially for young people, because the menthol softens the acrid effect of the smoke.

"We will save hundreds of thousands of lives and prevent future generations from becoming dependent smokers," said FDA Executive Director Janet Woodcock. She emphasized that menthol can enhance the effect of nicotine and thus increase tobacco addiction. That makes it difficult to get rid of cigarettes.

According to the FDA, around 18.6 million people smoke menthol cigarettes in the United States. According to the information, these cigarettes are particularly widespread among black people: 85 percent of African-American smokers use menthol cigarettes, but only 30 percent of white smokers.

Perfumed cigarettes were banned in the US back in 2009. The only exception was menthol cigarettes. The FDA is now also planning to ban cigars of all flavors including menthol. E-cigarettes are not affected by the plans.

It will be some time before menthol cigarettes are actually banned: The publication of the guidelines is followed by a phase in which comments on the proposals can be submitted. The FDA needs to consider each of these comments.

"It's really impossible to say how long this will take," said Mitch Zeller, FDA Tobacco Products Officer. Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. According to the FDA, around 480,000 people die each year as a result of smoking. © afp /