The U.S. government and the Food and Drug Administration has revealed plans to put a ban on menthol cigarettes and cigars.
According to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, the ban would help reduce diseases relating to smoking and cut down on younger people starting the habit.
Menthol, which is a flavor additive with a minty taste and aroma that reduces the irritation and harshness of smoking, often increases the appeal of cigarettes and cigars especially for the youth.
“The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step to advance health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities.”
Officials say banning menthol is critical to their goal of reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.
Menthol makes up about one-third of cigarettes sold in the U.S. and has been shown to cover the harshness of smoking with its cooling effect.
Along with menthol, the FDA will also seek to ban sweet and fruity flavors used in tobacco products.
The FDA says that it won't enforce the ban against individual users; however, it will impose strict standards against manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers who manufacture, distribute, or sell such products within the U.S.