FDA Panel Recommends Ban On Menthol Cigarettes

If you like your cigarettes minty fresh, you might want to start stocking up now. Earlier today an FDA panel announced that a ban on menthol smokes would be a good thing for the public health.

After the FDA was given the authority to regulate the tobacco industry in 2009, all flavored tobacco was banned with the exception of menthol.

The rationale for the ban on flavored tobaccos is that they are more enticing to young people and thus more likely to introduce them to the habit of cigarette smoking.

But before you start storing your Kools in a bunker, it could be a long time before the FDA does anything about the panel’s advice. There is no time line or deadline for the agency to respond to the panel.

The Wall Street Journal says an FDA official claims it “would take years” for a ban on menthols to kick in. Meanwhile, a Moody’s analysis of the situation says the industry would take a big hit in the first year of such a ban but that it would quickly bounce back.

Menthols make up about 30% of cigarette sales in the U.S. with Newport being the biggest brand.

UPDATE: FDA Panel: Removing Menthol Cigarettes To Aid Public Health [WSJ]