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FDA panel stops short of recommending ban on mentol cigarettes

Posted On Wed, March 23, 2011

A review panel for the Food and Drug Administration did not go so far as to call for an outright ban on menthol cigarettes but it did say taking the compound off the market would likely benefit public health.

The FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee came to its conclusion after reviewing the issue for the past year, and the ruling could have an impact on whether the FDA will regulate what cigarette companies can put in their products.

"We reached a very important milestone today," said Lawrence Deyton, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products in an interview with the USA Today. "But I need to be very clear that … the report does not set FDA policy."

Other findings from the committee indicate as much as 80 percent of black smokers prefer menthol cigarettes over regular.

Cigarettes of all kinds are believed to be the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. and are linked to a high rate of lung cancer diagnoses, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Besides the health effects, cigarettes also have an impact on one's wallet, as health insurance premiums are usually higher for smokers and employers are less likely to hire people who smoke, according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.

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