The United States’ Food and Drug Administration has reviewed and reported on a public health risk that has been debated for some time in the tobacco and health industries – whether or not menthol cigarettes are a greater health risk than regular cigarettes, according to a Wednesday report from Boston.com.
The governmental agency has stated that smoking menthol cigarettes very possibly are a greater risk to the public’s health than smoking regular cigarettes. While the report states that menthol cigarettes are not more or less toxic – or that they contribute to more disease – than regular cigarettes, the report reveals that menthol cigarettes are an attraction to new smokers – more than regular cigarettes. Additionally, it is reported that menthol cigarette smokers find it more difficult to break the smoking habit. Finally, the smooth flavor of menthol cigarettes allegedly gives smokers the “illusion” that they are less dangerous than smoking regular cigarettes – an assertion that isn’t true.
However, the FDA stopped short of making a recommendation which would limit or ban the manufacturing and sale of menthol cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes, with their mint-like flavor in the cigarette smoke, are one of very few tobacco products that are increasing in sales in recent times due to the health industries efforts to get people to stop using tobacco products. The report asserts that in recent years, from 2008 to 2011, the number of cigarette smokers using menthol products has brown more than three-and-a-half percent. The increase in the product’s use is attributed to young smokers.
The company that would be most affected with a ban or restriction of menthol cigarettes is the Greensboro, North Carolina-based Lorillard Inc. which produces the Newport brand of menthol cigarettes. Newport, the best-selling brand of menthol cigarettes, has some-38 percent of the market in the United States – which makes it the third best-selling brand in the country. Murray Kessler, the CEO of Lorillard says he will definitely participate in the regulatory process of menthol cigarettes. He also believes that menthol products should not be treated any differently than other tobacco products.
The Food and Drug Administration may still consider restrictions on the manufacturing and sale of menthol cigarettes after it receives reactions to their report from the health-medical fields and the tobacco industry. According to the director of the Center for Tobacco Products, further research on the health risks of menthol cigarettes is being commissioned at this time.