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FDA Seeks Input of the Public on Menthol Cigarettes
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On Tuesday, the FDA put out a notice seeking public input on menthol cigarettes. The announcement mentioned, “Despite decades of work to reduce tobacco use in the United States, it continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease. In the United States, about 30 percent of all adult smokers and more than 40 percent of all youth smokers report smoking menthol cigarettes.”

The agency issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking additional information to help the agency make informed decisions about the presence of menthol in cigarettes. The FDA indicates by its actions that it is considering establishing new tobacco product standards.

  
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Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said, “FDA’s actions today on menthol reflect our commitment to explore all potential options, including the establishment of product standards. In the meantime, we will conduct new research to further inform our decision making.”

The FDA’s concern about the use of menthol in cigarettes and its effects requires further research, which the FDA admits. Nevertheless, it is asking for public opinion on the matter and the public can make their opinion known to the FDA for the next 60 days as long as the ANPRM is available for comment.

The FDA has also made it known that it plans to support new research establishing differences between menthol containing cigarettes and cigarettes without menthol. Recently, the FDA published a paper on the possible public health effects of menthol versus nonmenthol cigarettes, and urged the public to comment on the study.

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FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said, “Menthol cigarettes raise critical public health questions. The FDA is committed to a science-based approach that addresses the public health issues raised by menthol cigarettes, and public input will help us make more informed decisions about how best to tackle this important issue moving forward.”





 

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