Apr 3, 2024
2 mins read
2 mins read

Lawsuit Seeks to Force Ban on Menthol Cigarettes

Lawsuit Seeks to Force Ban on Menthol Cigarettes

WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — Anti-smoking groups sued the U.S. government Tuesday over a long-awaited ban on menthol cigarettes, which remains stalled at the White House.

The lawsuit comes amid growing concerns from advocates that the federal plan could be derailed by election-year politics.

Health officials under President Joe Biden initially targeted last August to publish the rule eliminating the minty flavor. Late last year, White House officials said they would take until March to review the rule.

Three nonprofit groups, including Action on Smoking and Health, filed their lawsuit in a federal court in California after the March deadline passed.

Menthol is the only cigarette flavor that was not banned under the 2009 law that gave the FDA authority over tobacco products, an exemption negotiated by industry lobbyists. The act did, though, instruct the agency to continue to weigh whether to ban menthol.

The flavor’s persistence has infuriated anti-smoking advocates, who point to research that menthol’s numbing effect masks the harshness of smoking, making it easier to start and harder to quit.

More than 11% of U.S. adults smoke.

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