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Do Menthol Cigarettes Taste Too Good to Be Legal?

Last week The New England Journal of Medicine published a point/counterpoint about menthol cigarettes, the subject of a recent report from the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. The report (PDF), issued in late March, concluded that “removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States” but cautioned that “a black market for menthol cigarettes could be created, criminal activity could ensue, and different methods might be used to supply such a black market.” Boston University public health professor Michael Siegel criticizes the advisory committee for kicking the issue back to the FDA without “a clear and strongly stated recommendation that the FDA ban menthol cigarettes to protect the public’s health.” Neal Benowitz and Jonathan Samet, two members of the committee, defend their work as responsive … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette brands, Featured

FDA weighs ban on Newports, other menthol cigarettes

Phillip Gardiner started smoking after he quit his college basketball team. He soon switched from Winstons, then the country’s topselling brand, to Kool menthols. “It was cool to smoke Kools,” Gardiner explains. Over the more than 40 years since Gardiner — who is black — opted for Kools, menthol cigarettes have become increasingly popular with African-American smokers. Today, black smokers are four times more likely to choose menthols than white smokers. (Gardiner quit smoking long ago.) By 2005, half of black smokers smoked Newports, the most popular menthol brand. Gardiner, a scientist with the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program at the University of California Office of the President, calls this the “African-Americanization of menthol cigarette use.” Once a niche product smoked mainly by women, menthols became the cigarette of choice for black smokers thanks in part … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette brands

Teen Use Of Menthol Cigarettes On the Rise

The use of menthol cigarettes is rising among adolescents and is “very high” among minority youth, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said in partial draft report released Monday. The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee could make a recommendation about whether menthol flavoring should be banned. The panel’s report is due next week. Menthol cigarettes account for about 30% of total cigarette sales in the U.S. The issue is of major importance to Lorillard Inc. the maker of the leading menthol brand, Newport. The product accounts for roughly 90% of the company’s sales. Altria Group Inc. , producer of Virginia cigarettes and Reynolds American Inc., producer of Camel cigarettes also market menthol cigarettes but aren’t as reliant on them for overall sales. The tobacco industry has said there’s no evidence that menthol in cigarettes makes … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette brands

Cigarette menthol content manipulated by tobacco marketers

Menthol cigarette brands have been rising in popularity with adolescents, and the highest use has been among younger, newer smokers. Scientists at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) explored tobacco industry manipulation of menthol levels in specific brands and found a deliberate strategy to recruit and addict young smokers by adjusting menthol to create a milder experience for the first time smoker. Menthol masks the harshness and irritation of cigarettes, allowing delivery of an effective dose of nicotine, the addictive chemical in cigarettes. These milder products were then marketed to the youngest potential consumers. An example of well known menthol brands are hot-cigs.biz/menthol-cigarettes-brands or Lady Menthol cigarettes. The paper, “Tobacco Industry Control of Menthol in Cigarettes and Targeting of Adolescents and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette brands

Menthol cigarettes under review

U.S. advisers heard evidence on the effects of menthol cigarettes as they began a year-long review of the popular but controversial flavoring under the government’s new tobacco powers.Smoked by about 19 million Americans, minty menthol cigarettes are under attack from health advocates who say the taste can be more enticing and possibly addicting than regular cigarettes.At the start of a two-day public meeting, a committee of outside experts that advises the Food and Drug Administration began hearing data on menthol’s impact on smokers’ use and health. Menthols account for more than a quarter of cigarette sales and are a top choice among black smokers. A U.S. government survey showed 83 percent of adult black smokers chose menthol, compared with 23 percent of whites.FDA scientists presented findings to the panel from data … Read entire article »

Filed under: Tobacco news

Menthol, Lorillard and the feds

As a federal panel studies whether to ban menthol as an ingredient in cigarettes, menthol is used in brands like hot-cigs.biz/menthol-cigarettes-brands and Glamour Superslims Menthol and expect to hear this a lot from company officials at Greensboro-based Lorillard. “There’s no difference in the health risks associated with menthol cigarette smoking and nonmenthol cigarette smoking,” Lorillard Senior Vice President William True said. He is in charge of research and development for the company and spoke in front of the newly formed Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee earlier this year. During a phone interview last week, True spoke about the panel’s work, which is of keen interest to Lorillard. More than 90 percent of the company’s business comes from the sale of menthol cigarettes. Congress gave the FDA the power to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured