FDA: Menthol cigarettes pose public health risk

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By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Food and Drug Administration review concludes that menthol cigarettes pose a greater public health risk than regular cigarettes.

The federal agency released the independent review on Tuesday. It is seeking input from the health community, the tobacco industry and others on possible restrictions on the minty smokes.

An advisory panel told the FDA in a 2011 report that removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health because the flavoring has led to an increase in smokers and makes quitting harder. The report, however, said menthol smokers are not likely to be at a higher risk of disease or exposed to a greater number of toxins.

The FDA's review reiterates those findings but does not make a recommendation on whether to limit or ban menthol in cigarettes.

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