FDA Considering Restricting Menthol and Other Flavors from Tobacco Products

The Food and Drug Administration is taking the first step toward implementing a rule about the role flavors, including menthol, play in attracting users to certain tobacco products, CNBC reported.

The agency is publishing an advanced notice of proposed rule-making seeking public comment on the role that flavors in tobacco products play in attracting youth, as well as in helping smokers switch to potentially less harmful alternatives.

The FDA banned certain flavors in cigarettes in 2009, but menthol was not included. The role of flavors has become increasingly scrutinized as adolescents and teenagers have adopted e-cigs with fruity variations.

On the flipside, these products may appeal to smokers who are looking for a way to quit smoking cigarettes. The FDA, under Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, have adopted the idea that tobacco products exist on a continuum of risk, with cigarettes being the most deadly on the spectrum.

“The thought of any child starting down a path of a lifelong addiction to tobacco, which could ultimately lead to their death, is unacceptable,” Gottlieb said in a statement. “We need to take every effort to prevent kids from getting hooked on nicotine.”

This is the latest action from the FDA, which introduced a sweeping tobacco initiative over the summer. Last week, the agency took the first step toward lowering the level of nicotine in cigarettes to minimally addictive or nonaddictive levels.

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