FDA seeks public comment on menthol cigarettes

Agency explores options, including more regulations

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is inviting comments from the public as it looks into restricting or even banning menthol in cigarettes, the agency said Tuesday.

The FDA said it had issued an advance notice of proposed rule making, or ANPRM, to obtain information related to potential regulations it might consider. The agency said about 30% of adult smokers and more than 40% of youth smokers report smoking menthol cigarettes.

"Menthol cigarettes raise critical public health questions," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. "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."

As part of The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the 2009 law that gave the FDA authority over tobacco products, most flavorings in cigarettes — such as clove and fruit flavorings — were banned, but mentholated cigarettes were exempted, though some advocates have called for them to be banned as well.


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