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Studies find banning menthol in cigarettes could save lives.

A BAN ON the use of menthol in cigarettes could prevent up to 600,000 smoking-related premature deaths in the next 40 years, according to a group of studies published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

One study found that about 80 percent of black people who smoke use menthol cigarettes, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people also have disproportionately high menthol smoking rates. Earlier research by the National Cancer Institute found that if menthol cigarettes were no longer sold, 39 percent of all menthol smokers said they would stop using tobacco completely.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee has advised the agency that menthol cigarettes pose a significant public health threat and should be taken off the market, according to APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E). The Association hosted a news conference on the studies in Washington, D.C., on May 12.

"For too long, African Americans have fallen victim to the tobacco industry's shameless marketing tactics to sell menthol products," said John Payton, who leads the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund.

Payton said it is time for FDA to use its power to take mentholated products off the shelves.

For more information on the studies, visit www.ajph.org.
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Title Annotation:JOURNAL WATCH: Highlights from the June and July issues of the American Journal of Public Health
Author:Tucker, Charlotte
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Aug 1, 2011
Words:210
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