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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

FDA Advisory Panel Concludes that Menthol Cigarettes are No More Hazardous, But That They Enhance ..

Tuesday, March 8, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

FDA Advisory Panel Concludes that Menthol Cigarettes are No More Hazardous, But That They Enhance Smoking Initiation By Masking Harshness of Tobacco

The FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) has concluded in a draft report that while menthol cigarettes are no more hazardous than non-menthol cigarettes, they may contribute to smoking initiation by masking the harshness of tobacco. The draft report on menthol is available on the TPSAC website at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/TobaccoProductsScientificAdvisoryCommittee/ucm244877.htm. While the committee concluded that there is insufficient evidence that menthol cigarette smokers inhale more smoke, are exposed to higher levels of nicotine and other toxins, or face a different risk of tobacco-caused diseases than smokers of non-menthol cigarettes, it did conclude that there is sufficient evidence that menthol may enhance the smoking initiation and maintenance process by masking the harsh taste of tobacco. In particular, the draft report notes that "The evidence is sufficient to conclude that it is biological plausible that menthol makes cigarette smoking more addictive."


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