The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to ban traditional menthol cigarettes as part of the campaign against tobacco products.
According to reports, the regulatory board might submit the proposal to ban traditional menthol cigarettes as early as this week. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA's commissioner, has not confirmed the reports as of yet, but he has spoken publicly against traditional menthol cigarettes in a previous interview.
If true, the United States will follow Canada, which has imposed a ban last year, and the European Union, which will effectively ban the product by 2020.
Traditional Menthol Cigarettes Ban
Although the number of Americans who use tobacco products has been gradually decreasing across the country, the FDA has found that menthol cigarette sales have increased from 2011 to 2015. The tobacco product has also increased the number of children who experiment with cigarettes and children who smoke regularly.
A previous study also found that a huge percentage of African-Americans are addicted to traditional menthol cigarettes.
However, if the ban proceeds, it might take several years for it to take effect, according to The New York Times. Since 2009, menthol cigarettes are the only flavored cigarettes available in the market.
Cracking Down On E-Cigarettes
Meanwhile, another report claims that the FDA also wants to ban flavored cartridges or pods used in e-cigarettes to crack down the increasing epidemic of vaping in teens. Tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country will be affected by the ban.
The regulatory board also wants to impose rules such as age verification for online sales to ensure that minors cannot purchase the product.
The effort comes a few months after the FDA found that use of e-cigarettes among high schoolers went up to 77 percent and 50 percent among middle schoolers. That is about 3.5 million kids smoking e-cigarettes in 2018.
Previous studies have also proven that e-cigarettes do not help smokers quit the habit. Instead, e-cigarettes can lead to users becoming addicted to nicotine.
The ban, however, will not include menthol-flavored cartridges to prevent people from switching to smoking traditional menthol cigarettes.