In a landmark move, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a plan to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the United States. The agency also announced Thursday that it will impose new restrictions on the sales of flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores, limiting them to closed-off areas that are inaccessible to minors.
The proposal still has to go through several regulatory phases and it could be years before the rules take effect, but it’s a move advocates have been urging for years.
While traditional cigarettes contribute to serious health issues, including an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and an early death, adding menthol to them comes with additional concerns.
A 2013 report from the FDA concluded that menthol is associated with increased addiction. Due to its cooling effects, menthol reduces the harshness of cigarette smoke, making it more appealing and easier for new smokers to pick up the habit and get hooked.