FDA to crack down on menthol cigarettes, flavored vapes

 

In a major new effort to curb smoking, a top U.S. health official pledged to try to ban menthol from regular cigarettes, outlaw flavors in all cigars and tighten rules governing the sale of most flavored versions of electronic cigarettes.

The restrictions are aimed mainly at reducing smoking in kids: About half of teens who smoke cigarettes choose menthols, and flavored e-cigarettes have been blamed for a recent increase in teen vaping rates.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says in a statement "I won’t allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes."

Health advocates say a menthol ban would have greater impact on the health of Americans, but it would probably take years to put in place. The changes for e-cigarettes could kick in within a few months.

Battery-powered e-cigarettes are more popular among teens than regular smokes and are considered safer. But many versions contain potentially addictive nicotine, and health officials believe they set kids who try them on a path toward regular cigarettes.

Dawn Kamber