New Evidence Found for Keeping Menthol Cigarettes Legal

Menthol cigarettes less harmful than non-menthol

A researcher from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has discovered that smokers of menthol cigarettes aged 50 and over are less likely to pass away from lung cancer in comparison to those who smoke regular-flavored cigarettes, said a report published in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Brian Rostron, the scientist at the Center for Tobacco Products run by the FDA, compared data of 6,074 adult smokers between 1987 and 2006, with 1,417 being menthol smokers among them.

The lower likeability of premature death from lung tumor was discovered in all age and sex groups, as well as between black and white smokers.

“These results share the expectations that any relation between lung cancer and smoking of menthol cigarettes would be the most in the age when smokers have accumulated more years of smoking,” Prof. Rostron mentioned in a study published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research Journal.

The latest report could be used as yet another evidence in the heated public-health discussions over menthol-flavored cigarettes that have been the only segment of American cigarette market to post continuous growth, according to the Winston-Salem Journal report.

The Food and Drug Administration started an independent review of scientific base after its Tobacco Products Advisory Panel issued a report recommending to prohibit mentholated cigarettes.

The committee claimed that adding the flavoring has contributed to a growth in smoking rates, especially among adolescents, African-Americans and low-income people. It also stated that menthol aromatizing agent makes it more difficult to quit smoking.

A ban on menthol flavoring, or similar restrictions in these cigarettes category would dramatically affect Lorillard Inc., as its top-selling Newport brand is the most popular menthol cigarette in the USA, holding 35% share of the cigarette market.

“The public-health effects of any lower lung cancer risk of smoking of mentholated cigarettes in comparison to non-menthol products, if ever adequately shown, are inevitably problematic,” Rostron admitted. “Smoking of any type of tobacco product, including cigarettes is proven to significantly hurt individual or public health.”

“Further research is necessary in order to study potential motivation for the discovered association and the public health effect of possible reasons for it. This study is likely to identify means to diminish the indvidual risk of tobacco products.”

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