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More research needed on menthol: FDA

| September 3, 2013

Mitchell Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said recently that his organization knew that young people who started smoking did so disproportionately with menthol cigarettes.

However, he was reported by Jim McLean of the Kansas Health Institute News Service as saying the agency wanted to do more research on whether menthol made cigarettes more addictive and to gather public input before deciding whether to impose any new regulations. Zeller is scheduled to speak on Sept. 19 to members of the Kansas Public Health Association during its fall conference.

“As a regulatory agency, we can only go as far as the regulatory science will take us,” Zeller said. “So, we are making a major investment in better understanding how tobacco products work and better understanding the role of nicotine in the design and manufacture of tobacco products.”

That research, McLean reported, led the FDA to conclude in a July report that menthol cigarettes posed a greater health risk [than did non-menthol cigarettes], not because they are more toxic than regular cigarettes are, but because they are less harsh, which means people smoke more of them and which makes them a favorite among young smokers just picking up the habit.

Category: Breaking News

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