Navigation Links
FDA Panel: Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Would Boost Health
Date:3/19/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- In a long-awaited decision, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday said that menthol cigarettes are harmful and their removal "from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States."

The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee also said that menthols' minty flavor may make smoking more attractive, spurring youth and especially blacks (who tend to favor menthol cigarettes) to try the habit.

"Menthol cannot be considered merely a flavoring additive to tobacco. Its pharmacological actions reduce the harshness of smoke and the irritation from nicotine, and may increase the likelihood of nicotine addiction in adolescents and young adults who experiment with smoking," the panelists said in their report. "Furthermore, the distinct sensory characteristics of menthol may enhance the addictiveness of menthol cigarettes, which appears to be the case among youth."

In fact, the experts said that a close look at the data suggests that menthol cigarettes "contributes to nicotine dependence in at least the 30 percent of adult smokers" who use them.

The panel did say that menthol cigarettes pose no greater health risk to smokers than other cigarettes in terms of their odds for lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.

Still, pulling menthols off the market could save many lives, the panel said. "Assuming the best estimates, by 2020 about 17,000 premature deaths will occur and about 2.3 million people will have started smoking, beyond what would have occurred absent availability of menthol cigarettes," they concluded.

While the FDA does not have to abide by the advice of its advisory panels, it typically does.

In a statement released Friday, Dr. Lawrence R. Deyton, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said that, "although there is no required deadline or timeline for FDA to act on the issue of menthol in cigarettes, we recognize the strong interest in this issue among all stakeholders and will continue to communicate the steps the FDA is taking as it determines what future regulatory actions, if any, are warranted." The first "progress report" on any proposed regulations is due within 90 days, he added.

Many anti-smoking organizations have long hoped that the FDA will eventually bar menthols from the marketplace.

"Menthols should be banned, and such a decision would be, in the words of the statute, 'appropriate for the protection of the public health,'" said Ellen Vargyas, general counsel for the American Legacy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization that was founded in 1999 with funding from the landmark Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and state governments.

Friday's decision comes on the heels of a statement issued Thursday by the same panel that found that marketing messages for menthol cigarettes disproportionately target youths and blacks and are crafted to imply that menthols are safer than other cigarettes, although they are not.

"Analyses of tobacco industry internal documents and marketing messages the industry produced provide corroborating evidence of explicit and unwarranted claims that smoking menthol cigarettes would improve smokers' health," the draft report stated. "Over time, marketing messages increasingly relied on sensory descriptors and imagery to imply that menthol cigarettes are safer than non-menthol cigarettes."

The draft report also says that menthol marketing has targeted youth, women and blacks, and that "consistent with these targeted marketing efforts, menthol cigarettes are disproportionately smoked by African-American smokers."

According to a study cited in the FDA's draft report, nearly 81 percent of black middle schoolers who smoke and about 85 percent of black high school smokers regularly smoke menthol cigarettes. That is in contrast to about 43 percent of white middle school smokers and 37 percent of white high school smokers.

The panel was tasked with determining how menthol cigarettes should be regulated and whether the science justifies an outright ban.

"We think there are two key scientific underpinnings [to the argument for a ban]," said Vargyas, from the American Legacy Foundation. "One is the link between menthol smoking and youth initiation. The science shows the younger and the newer the smoker, the more likely they are to smoke menthols. The second very important reason is the science shows they make more quit attempts than non-menthol smokers, but they are less successful at quitting."

The efforts to more stringently regulate tobacco products come as a the result of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law by President Obama in June 2009. The law gave the FDA broad new powers to regulate the sale, marketing and content of tobacco products and directed the FDA to establish an advisory committee to review the science and make recommendations.

The law banned fruit and candy-like flavorings from cigarettes, but exempted menthol, by far the most popular flavor. Menthol accounts for 27 percent of all cigarettes sold in the United States in 2009, according to the FDA's report.

Instead, menthol became the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee's (TPSAC) first order of business.

On Feb. 25, Lorillard Inc., the Greensboro, N.C-based maker of Newports, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., based in Winston-Salem, N.C. and the makers of Camel and Winston, sued the FDA and asked the court to prevent the agency from considering recommendations from the advisory committee. The tobacco companies contend that several members of the committee have a conflict of interest.

And that's almost certainly not the last of the lawsuits from the tobacco companies, Vargyas noted.

The FDA will now begin to craft a proposed rule, experts say, and then the public and the tobacco industry will have time to weigh in with their opinions.

More information

There's help in quitting smoking at Smokefree.gov.

SOURCES: Ellen Vargyas, J.D., general counsel, American Legacy Foundation, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Food and Drug Administration Report, March 17, 2011; statement, Lorillard Inc., Greensboro, N.C.; March 18, 2011, draft report, Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Panel: FCCs Broadband Plan Will Boost Efforts to Expand Health IT
2. Panel: Properly designed pay-for-performance models can support medical professionalism
3. Menthol Cigarettes Marketed as Healthier, FDA Panel Says
4. Quitting menthol cigarettes may be harder for some smokers
5. FDA Advisers Renew Review on Whether to Ban Menthol Cigarettes
6. FDA Mulling Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
7. Study Finds Drop in Online Sales of Cigarettes
8. Electronic cigarettes hold promise as aid to quitting
9. Evidence suggests e-cigs safer than cigarettes, researcher claims
10. E-Cigarettes Should Be Banned Until Made Safe: Study
11. Treating PTSD and Smoking Together Best Way to Help Vets Kick Cigarettes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
FDA Panel: Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Would Boost Health
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... February 19, 2017 , ... ... home healthcare, will join forces with Healthwise ® at HIMSS 2017 ... the industry leader in evidence-based health education, technology and services, will demonstrate a ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... , ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... drvallecillos.com , Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Glenn Vallecillos ... , Dr. Vallecillos says, "Traditionally, plastic surgery has been centered around that idea ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Smiles by Seese is a comprehensive family dental practice ... leads the practice as a skilled and highly credentialed dentist who is qualified to ... patients of all ages with excellence in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry . ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... 2017 , ... For the first time, International Scholarship and ... floor for the 2017 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition at the Orange ... than 40,000 healthcare industry professionals are expected at the conference, where they will ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... , ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... has been named a finalist in the 8th Annual DecisionHealth Platinum Awards in ... delivery system. Qualis Health’s work is recognized across multiple award categories, highlighting four ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/20/2017)... 2017 Acute, Chronic and Prophylaxis GVHD ... a CAGR of 7% from 2016-2021 and CAGR of 3% from 2021-2027. ... 2016 to 2027. The market is estimated at $0.36bn in 2016, $0.51bn ... ... how you can exploit the future business opportunities emerging in this sector. ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... , Feb. 19, 2017  nThrive™, an ... cycle portfolio and thought leadership at the 2017 ... a category leader award from KLAS. ... discussion focused on how market trends shape the ... particularly a sophisticated, comprehensive Patient Access solution. The ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... ORLANDO, Fla. , Feb. 18, 2017 ... that positive Phase 1 clinical data for Nektar,s lead ... (RCC) were presented at ASCO GU 2017.  NKTR-214 is ... T cells and Natural Killer (NK) cell abundance directly ... on these immune cells.  The results were presented by ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: