Menthol cigarettes soon to be banned in the United States?

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The Food and Drug Administration, the US drug authority, launched a process this week to ban menthol cigarettes. The dossier concerns both public health and the racial question.

With our correspondent in Washington, Guillaume Naudin

For public health experts, this is great news. It must be said that after several years of continuous decline, tobacco consumption has started to increase again in the country. The tobacco industry sold over 200 billion cigarettes in 2020.

If the ban on menthol cigarettes has the same effect as the one already in place in Canada, experts estimate that more than one million people will quit smoking.

Mostly smoked menthol by African Americans

This type of product is also historically particularly purchased by African-American consumers, who are the core target of manufacturers. 85% of them smoke it against only 29% of white smokers.

The launch of the prohibition procedure satisfies the associations for the defense of minorities, but not all. Reverend Al Sharpton, a well-known civil rights activist, says he fears the ban will lead to the criminalization of black people who come to sell banned products.

It must be said that it benefits from funding from the tobacco industry, which is obviously opposed to the banning of these products, which represent 36% of the market. Manufacturers claim that there is no evidence that menthol cigarettes are more dangerous than others. They should use all avenues to challenge or delay the ban, which should not take effect for at least a year.

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