via CNN

The availability of menthol-flavored cigarettes is linked to a rise in the number of children and African Americans who smoke and the cigarettes should be taken off the market, an FDA advisory committee said Friday.

The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee met to evaluate the available science on the impact of menthol cigarettes on public health, including children, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnic and racial minorities. The group determined menthol cigarette smokers do not have a greater risk of diseases related to smoking when compared with non-menthol cigarette smokers. But, menthol in cigarettes increased experimentation, raised the risk of progression to a regular smoker, increased smoking among kids, and their availability increased the chance of addiction–and even the degree of addiction in children.

“The TPSAC also found that the public health impact of menthol cigarette availability is substantial,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, chair of the advisory panel. “The availability of menthol cigarettes leads to an increase in the number of cigarette smokers and the burden of premature mortality.”

“The TPSAC’s recommendation of removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States is simply that – a committee recommendation based on its review of current, prevailing science on the topic of menthol as an ingredient in cigarettes,” said Dr. Lawrence Deyton, director, Center for Tobacco Products at the Food and Drug Administration. The report will be reviewed by experts at the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, who’ll also review all of the available science related to public health implications of  menthol in cigarettes use.

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