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Calls To Ban Menthol Cigarettes, US

Leading public health experts and campaigners are urging the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban menthol cigarettes from sale in the United States, and say a clutch of papers published in the American Journal of Public Health this week provide a strong case for doing so.

One paper describes a study that ran computer models and estimated that if a ban were to be introduced now, it could prevent more than 600,000 premature American deaths by 2050, a third of them among African Americans.

Another paper reports a survey that found a ban on menthol cigarette sales would have the support of more than half of the American population, including three quarters of African Americans (four out of every five African American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes).

And a third paper reports a study that shows people who smoke menthol cigarettes find it harder to quit.

The studies follow a recent study from the National Cancer Institute that found 39% of all menthol smokers, including nearly half of all African American menthol smokers, said they would quit smoking altogether rather than switch to another type of cigarette, if the US were to ban menthol cigarettes.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD

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