Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Should the FDA Regulate Cigarettes?

There is a bill in front of congress giving the FDA the ability to regulate the tobacco industry. The bill is asking that flavors, such as mint, vanilla and clove, be banned since these products target children. There is a split among healthcare proponents whether this ban should include menthol also. The National African American Tobacco Prevention Network agrees with the former Surgeon General, Dr. Louis Sullivan that menthol flavoring should be banned. This represents about 30% of the tobacco market in the United States but is the flavor preferred by African American, which consume about 75% of the menthol cigarettes.
The tobacco industry opposes banning menthol because it states that menthol doesn't make smoking any more harmful but we all know the tobacco companies lie to protect their profits.
Menthol is a bronchial dilator. Menthol cigarettes cool the smoke down so that the smoker inhales deeper and causes cancer deeper inside the lung and usually is inoperable.
While I'm not sure that the FDA has the manpower to govern the tobacco industry, I believe that we should support the ban of menthol cigarettes since it can be more dangerous than regular cigarettes and it may help smokers to quit when they can't buy the brand they normally prefer.

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