Data from a recent study released today in the American Journal of Public Health showed that banning menthol cigarettes could save as much as 600,000 premature deaths by the year 2050.
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With tobacco companies heavily marketing menthol cigarettes in minority communities, as many as 80 percent of African-Americans smokers smoke menthol cigarettes over other brands. African-American smokers die from lung cancer more than whites, even though their overall exposure to cigarette smoke is lower.
Despite a 22 percent decline in cigarette sales, menthol cigarette sales remained the same from 2000 to 2005. The FDA is reviewing data from the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee Meeting in March 2011 that showed public health would benefit from a menthol ban. The FDA has until mid-June to make an initial decision.