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Monday
Nov152010

Group Presses for Ban on Menthol Cigarettes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Menthol cigarettes are coming under fire Monday from researchers who say they should be banned. The salvo against the cigarettes comes in the form of a special supplemental issue to the journal Addiction that includes 11 new studies on menthol-flavored cigarettes, the consumers who smoke them, and the factors that may influence smoking and quitting menthols.

Among the findings from the special supplement are data suggesting that menthol cigarette use is disproportionately higher among African- Americans and young adults and that menthol smokers tend to be less successful when they try to quit.

"These manuscripts, along with those in the prior literature, show that menthol cigarette smoking disproportionately impacts populations at risk of initiating smoking, young people, and tobacco-related health disparities," said Dr. Kola Okuyemi, senior editor of the supplement, in a statement. "These papers add to the body of evidence that informs future research and policy directions regarding mentholated cigarettes."

The special supplement, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is only the latest knock on mint-flavored smokes -- and it won't be the last. This Thursday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration experts will review the safety of menthols.

The release of the research comes after opening statements last week in a wrongful death lawsuit against cigarette manufacturer Lorillard Inc., the maker of Newport menthols. The suit, opened in a Boston court this past Friday, was lodged by a man who said the company's marketing plan -- which he said included free menthol giveaways to children living in Boston housing projects -- led to his African-American mother's death after she became hooked at the age of nine.

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